What are the most common branding mistakes? Whether you recently launched your first startup or you have owned a business for years, continually monitoring your branding strategies will ensure the story you are communicating to your target audience aligns with the mission and vision of your company. In order to properly do this, your company needs a strong brand. (If you are not familiar with the benefits of branding, click here.) More importantly, your company needs a brand that is developed with intention and a clear brand strategy. If you are not entirely sure if your brand is being used properly, or if you even really have a brand, read on, this post is for you.
1. Not understanding the power of a brand
The Gap’s failed crowdsourced logo update. The company reverted to the old logo within six days, after increasing backlash from customers and the design community.
Chobani’s recent facelift is an example of a strategic and effective rebrand.
2. Not creating strict brand guidelines or enforcing them
Uber’s new brand made waves, especially after their last ineffective rebranding attempt. Their website includes a great example of properly executed brand guidelines, including layout, tone of voice, custom type, and photography standards.
Part of Chobani’s new brand guide.
Vitamin Water’s brand book.
3. There's no clear defined Brand Voice in place
The Brand Voice template from HolaBrief, helps you to discover your brand's personality and how you should talk to customers.
4. Not communicating a clear message with your brand
5. Inconsistent identity
People will stop paying attention if you are not relevant. With all of the visual noise in today’s world, a properly executed and maintained brand is one of the few ways to stand out and catch the attention of customers.
6. Not using existing customers to help spread the new brand
Many companies fail to leverage their greatest assets when launching or updating their brand -- existing customers. Recurring customers, especially those who speak highly of your product or service, are a great channel in which to project your company’s brand.
Take advantage of this high-value word-of-mouth marketing by giving your best clients and brand advocates the royal treatment. A small investment in a well-timed holiday gift, a personalized service, or even something as simple as a referral code can go a long way toward generating new business.
7. Not having an attention-grabbing and believable tagline
If you struggle to quickly summarize what your brand stands for, it may be time to revisit your company’s tag line.
Your tagline should be simple and to the point, memorable, and unique. The most effective taglines condense the essence of a brand into three to six words. The words you use in your mantra or motto should be believable and accurately represent who you are as a company.
The best taglines are short and easy to remember, but not overly specific. For example:
- Apple: Think different.
- Coke: Open happiness.
- Disney: The happiest place on earth.
Many companies struggle with having a tagline that is too generic or simply not believable. If in doubt, don’t use one. A tagline that seems overly contrived can actually damage your brand more than helping it.
Nike’s tagline, Just Do It, is one of the most recognizable tag lines today.
8. Not knowing where successful branding starts
Successful branding begins inside your company, starting with your core values. In order to successfully launch a new brand, it needs to be rolled out and tested within the company first. Employees should understand what the company stands for, its tone of voice, how to handle different situations, and so on. Brand buy-in begins at the top and only works when being shown by example. Employees are the best brand ambassadors - use them. You could fill in HolaBrief's strategic templates available for grabs 24/7 so you have guidelines in place to use your company’s brand voice consistently with consumers and employees so everyone's on the same page.
9. Not knowing why your company exists
Last, but certainly not least, is not knowing why your company exists. As an owner of a small remote brand studio, I have had experience working with businesses that had an intimate and deep understanding of what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, as well as business owners who, when asked, could not provide a clear answer for why their company existed.
It goes without saying, if you do not understand why your company really exists, you will not be able to develop a brand that is effective or representative of the mission, vision, and values of your organization. There are many agencies out there that will happily slap a logo or half-hearted brand on a business without really understanding the purpose of the company, simply because a business owner will pay them for it. But developing a beautiful design without starting with ‘why’ is an attempt to treat without first diagnosing. A real brand studio or strategic creative will always ask the important and challenging questions well before ever putting pencil to paper with the help of HolaBrief for example!
If you have not done so in recent years, reach out to a brand studio or a strategic creative and walk through a brand discovery workshop with the help of the strategic HolaBrief templates together. It is usually apparent pretty quickly if you have a clear understanding of why your business exists.
By beginning with discovery and developing a clear brand strategy, your company will gain an incredible competitive edge over others who have not done the same.
To recap, here are a few common branding mistakes your company may be making:
- Not understanding the power of a brand
- Not creating strict brand guidelines or enforcing them
- There's no clear defined Brand Voice in place
- Not communicating a clear message with your brand
- Inconsistent identity
- Not using existing customers to help spread the new brand
- Not having an attention-grabbing and believable tagline
- Not knowing where successful branding starts
- Not knowing why your company exists
Take a minute to review these nine branding common mistakes. Which of these is your company making? What is your brand strategy to address them?
Start using the HolaBrief templates to set up a clear vision for your company, in-house or with the help of a strategic creative. Set up your business for success!