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This post was last updated 3 months ago by Yusuf Odukoya.
The costliest mistake you can make as a business owner or marketer is to underestimate the power of effective branding and marketing.
For some, they are either too busy with other engagements to properly nurture and grow the business, or they have limited finances to sufficiently build and sustain a brand.
It is almost always likey that before a business idea crosses your mind, some people must have already started something very similar. This means that there’s a need for you to strive to stand out from the crowd in order for your brand’s voice to be heard and recognized for what it is.
So how can you do that?
Branding — And not just branding, but effective branding.
To build and sustain a powerful brand, there are certain common branding mistakes you should avoid at all cost. With all the fundamental knowledge and the right mindset, you will be better able to create and sustain a business that gets the spotlight it deserves.
In no particular order, we’ve listed 10 common branding mistakes you must avoid at all cost and how you can fix them.
No solid brand identity
Quite often, businesses kick off without establishing a concrete brand identity. This is, perhaps, the most fatal mistake of all on our list and anywhere else. It’s like heading to the war front with no weapon. You’re bound to face defeat.
Businesses without a clear idea of who they are won’t be able to connect or help their prospects and customers at a deeper level.
When prospective clients aren’t sure what your brand actually does or how it can help them, they turn elsewhere.
As a business, it’s important to know how to express who you are.
You must have a solid idea of your brand’s message, values, look, and emotion.
Successful marketing campaigns are created around a business’s brand identity.
If your brand identity and standards are crystal-clear, then you will be able to target the right audience, as well as keep your expectations and theirs in sync.
Poor brand presentation
The saying goes that “how you’re dressed determines how you’re addressed.” Perhaps, no other context plays this saying out so aptly as business branding.
A poorly presented brand is a sure way to lose business leads and even current customers to your competitors.
How would you feel visiting a popular home maintenance company for the first time and walking toward the building, you witness a ruthless assault of a badly kept structure — old paint on cracked walls, water seepage, damaged roofing, clogged guttering, and defective lift? Would you trust such business enough to take care of your own home maintenance needs?
All aspects of your business—the building structure, your staff, your products & services, your properties, and your values should create a positive first and lasting impression on the minds of your target audience.
Most of that impression from customers come from your brand’s visual presentation. The diplomatic saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t hold true in the unforgiving world of business branding. If you must set a foot forward in business, make sure it’s nicely coated with a brilliant shine.
What do you think elevated them to their current lofty position? Effective brand strategy and presentation!
A good brand presentation definitely helps to improve recognition, breed trust, and generate new customers.
Poor website optimization
Your business website is just your business in a digital space; don’t underestimate the power of the internet. A business’s online presence extends its reach to a wider audience and creates more awareness for your brand.
Research shows that about 64% of small businesses have websites. And 70-80% of people research a business online before taking any other step forward with the company.
That said, if your business already has a website, that’s a good first step, and you should ensure that it is very well optimized. This means that it has to be fully functional & responsive, fast, easy to navigate, easy to use, and beautiful. Additionally, the content must also be maximized with rich information, attractive graphics, quality videos, easy-to-use forms, and other important related materials.
Work with an experienced designer who will make sure that all the important key elements are there: logo, navigational menu, search box, social networking links, featured images, bespoke written content, and footer. Studies have shown that these are the 7 most vital elements of a good website. These sections of a website attract the most visitors and are also integral to an all-around positive user experience.
With free online tools like Google Analytics, you can gain more insight on all the important demographic information of your website visitors and other metrics such as the number of visitors, source platforms of visitors, geolocation of visitors, on-site activities of visitors, time spent by visitors, and a host of other vital stats. This will help you make helpful, informed adjustments and marketing decisions that can elevate your brand.
Frequent updates will help your website and business pages rank higher on search engines. If you’re at the top of the list, your business will be more visible to prospective visitors.
But what if you don’t have a website yet? Don’t let your business be left out. Most brick-and-mortar businesses are moving with the trend to create a strong online presence.
Absence of mobile experience
Investing in a mobile experience is a positive step further if you want to expand the reach and accessibility of your brand through an online presence.
Check out the following mind-blowing statistics on mobile (smart)phone:
- 70% of web traffic happens on a smartphone, according to CIODive.
- 86% of Americans own a smartphone, says Pew Research Center.
- 35% of US smartphone users check their phones more than 50 times a day, according to Pew Research Center.
- 85% of all pages in the mobile search results are labelled as mobile-friendly, according to Medium.
- Mobile data traffic around the world is expected to increase by 700% between 2016 and 2021, according to Cisco.
- Mobile users spend 89% of their time in apps, versus only 11% of it on the website, according to Blue Corona.
From these stats, we can see that the mobile phone is an important part of business and everyday life in America (and everywhere else). Most visitors to your website will be coming via mobile smartphones, not computers. Google and other search engines know this, hence, the reason they rank websites optimized for mobile experience higher.
Don’t lose your prospective clients to your competition, optimize your online presence for the mobile experience.
Constantly changing your brand’s style will only do more harm than good.
Over time, customers come to identify your brand by certain qualities, perceive it from certain perspectives, and associate it with a particular theme.
Be that brand that will always be there for them all the time, the same way every time. Create and maintain a timeless personality and culture that stays consistent with your customer’s experience.
Your trademarks, logos, fonts, colors, messaging, culture, and experience gain meaning over time. There’s no need for constantly changing them yearly.
We understand your need to keep up with the times, but whenever you make your decision to do a rebranding, make sure that it’s absolutely necessary to do so.
And in any case, you must be careful not to stray too far away from the association that made you unique and prolific in the first instance. Even your most loyal customers will be dissatisfied with any major or sudden changes.
A branding agency like Branditechture can help you build a timeless brand design from the beginning so that you can always keep up with the latest design trends without breaking the established rhythm of your brand’s personality and culture.
Poor staff orientation
When employees are focused on their individual responsibilities, it’s easy to miss the larger brand image. All members of your staff must not only be properly educated on your brand’s position, but should also be encouraged to share in your brand’s mission, vision, and values. They must strive to live by it, in and outside of their work environment.
A clear brand guideline will help train your staff in a consistent way. The guide could enumerate requirements on employees dress code, employee conduct, staff-customer relationship, among other things.
Your staff is arguably your greatest asset; your employees are your heroes. Your fanbase starts with them. They should be trained to educate your prospective clients and current customers about the company’s goals and values, as well as to provide an outstanding brand experience. Customer-centric service will potentially turn your target audience from mere patrons to raving fans.
It begins with a well-trained and passionate staff.
Investing in a cheap logo
One easily avoidable mistake business owners do is to either create their own logos by themselves or enlist the services of a designer who offers beautiful cheap logos. Don’t fall for this.
While a cheap logo might seem like a good bargain because of the save on cost, it’s actually a waste of money, as time will reveal in the long run.
Cheap logos may look beautiful, but they’re unforgivably generic. This will hurt your brand.
Poor generic logos will make your customers see you as cheap and inferior.
It can make you lose a fraction of your potential leads to your competitor with a higher-quality symbolic representation.
So what kind of logos should you go for?
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Think of logos like that of Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Microsoft, NBC, and Amazon, to name a few.
While these logos have gained their recognition mainly through the companies’ giant reputation, we must also agree that these trademarks have done well on their own; They’re simple, relevant, memorable, timeless, and versatile—essentially meeting the five qualities that make a logo instantly identifiable.
When your people look at these logos, they connect immediately with your brand.
Branditechture can personalize your company’s trademarks with unique and timeless visual identities that will give your brand the face it needs—and deserves.
Trying to do all the work alone
It’s easy to want to control all aspects of your business and there are no problems about that—it’s your own business, after all.
However, the direct responsibility of the business’ other arms should be assigned to professionals trained for the job, while you focus your energies on the things you excel at.
If you’re good at management or marketing, as the case may be, then concentrate your forces in this area. If you have graphic design needs for your brand but lack the necessary skills, then hire a professional designer for the job, and work closely with him or her.
Trying to do everything on your own is not only a waste of scarce resources but a drain on you and a threat to the growth of your business. Strive for excellence by assigning responsibilities to experts in the various areas of your business. This produces the best results for you and your brand.
Creating your brand identity in a rush
As we have already mentioned, it’s important that you create a brand identity that stands out. This starts early on from the brand’s conceptualization stage, when you must take the time to carefully evaluate your brand’s mission, vision, values, and personality.
All these elements must work harmoniously for future marketing purposes.
If tomorrow you want to create promotional graphics for your brand, your designer will work with your business’s brand identity in mind in order to produce results that reflect your brand right.
Take the necessary time to create a brand identity that will make you proud. Don’t rush.
Being stuck in time
What worked in the past may no longer work today or in the future.
Businesses that have not updated their branding and marketing may start to lose their younger audience to the competition.
Studies show that people generally place value on something based on its visual impression on them so if you haven’t changed your brand presentation and marketing techniques in decades, potential and even current customers might begin to perceive your brand as outdated because that’s how it appears to them: old-fashioned!
Keep up with the latest technology, keep an eye open for the newest trends and dedicate some time to creating timeless content that remains valuable to your audience for a long time.
These ten common mistakes amount to a significant loss of money, resources, and opportunities for any business.
Are you making any of these mistakes? At what cost have they come to you?
The best way to avoid these mistakes is to put in the time, money and effort to create a brand identity that stands out from the get-go, and to maintain an effective program of periodic reassessment.
Take the time to think and form a clear image of what and where you want your brand to be, then set aside a budget for hiring a highly-rated professional branding expert to help take your brand to the next level.
Branditechture can help.
At Branditechture, we help both large and small businesses to create and reposition their brand with a laser focus on visual identities and brand strategy.
If you want a brand that represents the best of itself and shines above your competition, then call us for help.
We will conduct a short consultation with you, after which we will recommend a good course of action. What you want is a brand that leaves a positive and lasting impression on your target market.
Want to talk to us about your branding concerns? Click here to contact us.