Your brand is your most powerful tool for distinguishing your business from your competitors. Because of this, good branding should go much further than a logo design. When implemented well, your branding strategy will allow you to successfully connect emotionally with consumers, ultimately causing you to stand out in the marketplace.
Having had the opportunity to work with a number of small to medium-sized businesses over the years, we've developed a good eye and sense of business acumen when it comes to branding. That being said, here are 5 huge branding mistakes that you'll want to avoid at all costs:
1. Not taking the time to research your audience.
When tossing around the idea of starting a business, one of the very first things that you need to do is create buyer personas. Not only does this mean specifying a targeted demographic for your products and services, but also understanding what their needs and pain points are. This is an instrumental part of the branding process as you won't be able to persuade anyone that they want or need your products or services without really knowing your audience.
2. Not addressing your audience's concerns.
While you may have taken the time to carefully research your audience's concerns and pain points, failing how to incorporate how you will address (and ideally resolve) these concerns in your branding strategy can cause you to lose the business.
3. Being boring.
With so many brands to compete with these days, you'll never stand apart from the crowd by being dull and boring. Inject your unique personality into your brand to show people why they should choose to do business with your brand over the alternatives. Some people assume that because they're in a boring industry, their branding strategy has to be boring. This is not the case at all. We recently addressed this issue in a blog post and shared 6 ways that businesses in boring industries can make their content more interesting.
4. Not being consistent with the image that you want your brand to portray.
The key to effective branding is being consistent in everything that you do, from your choice of logo design to the tone that you use in your marketing messages. Consistency will help to manage how people perceive your brand, eliminate issues surrounding brand confusion, let you build on previous successes. When you deviate from your brand's image, you're bound to lose credibility with your audience.
5. Not being honest with your audience.
Not every product or service that you're offering may be perfect. In fact, some people may have objections to what you're selling. However, when you're honest and upfront about these potential deficiencies, you'll be viewed as a transparent brand that people can trust.
The good news is that you can avoid these branding mistakes by taking the time to first carefully think through your strategy. Whether you're just getting started or have been an entrepreneur for years, it also doesn't hurt to partner with a branding specialist to make sure you get your strategy right the first go-around. After all, a strong branding strategy is your best weapon in today's highly competitive marketplace.