Branding Mistakes
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Branding Mistakes You Should Avoid

Your brand tells the story of who you are.  It’s what the public will bring to mind when they think of your company.  Companies make branding mistakes every day just trying to get noticed, save money, and expand their brand.

To avoid branding mistakes, it’s important to stay focused and be consistent with your brand.  That way you’ll help customers understand what you do and why you are different from your competitors.

Branding Mistakes within Your Company:

1. Forgetting to make a brand style guide

Consistency breeds familiarity.  Your advertising or marketing group may be in charge of advertising, but there are other departments in your company who also put out information.  It’s important to have a reference tool for how your brand looks, no matter who the company representative is.

Your brand style guide is the “brand bible” of your company.  It can include specific information like:

  • The suggested colors and fonts that everyone should use in company documents.
  • How the company’s logo should be placed on the page—a certain size or in a certain place. The guide may also state whether the logo can be in black and white or should always be in color.
  • What images can be associated with your brand. Your company has a specific mission and personality that they want to portray.  Your brand style guide will suggest what types of images are consistent with your company’s mission.
  • The “voice” you use in any written messages. If your company’s style is simple and direct, use that tone in your messages.  Humor may be appropriate, or it may not.  Check the guide to make sure.  The brand style guide will give examples of approved messages, so you can match the writing style and use a consistent voice.

Having a brand style guide for every department’s reference will keep your marketing consistent and keep the public from being confused about who you are.

2. Not looking to the professionals for your logo and internet presence

Branding Mistakes
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  • The logo — Your logo is a very important part of your brand. You don’t want your logo to look like it was designed by an amateur.  Spend the extra money to hire a graphic designer who specializes in developing logos.  A professional will understand colors, images, and type and how they can best communicate your brand.
  • Internet presence — When it comes to your internet and social media presence, you want to employ people who understand your mission and know what they are doing online. We all know that one poorly thought-out tweet or Instagram message can create a PR headache.  Put people in charge who understand social media and know how to communicate effectively.  Make those people the only ones with access to your social media accounts.

3. Slacking on proofreading

You have spent money and time developing your brand.  Don’t let it be tainted by a message that gets by without being checked and re-checked.

Branding Mistakes with the Public:

1. Trying to be all things to all people

Before you decide on a brand, consider what you offer to the public.  Maybe your company is a long-standing business and can advertise years of experience and service.  Or maybe you’re the newcomer with cutting-edge ideas, unafraid to take risks.

Whatever your strengths are, it’s important to know what you’re good at and who you are marketing to.  You can’t be everything.  Be who you are.

2. Attaching your brand to things that don’t make sense

As your brand grows, you may have the opportunity to extend it by pairing it with other products or services.  Some pairings are a natural fit, forming a symbiotic relationship that benefits both brands (Such as Coke teaming up with Regal Cinemas).

However, companies can make branding mistakes when they team up with a product or service that isn’t consistent with their image and goals.

For example, Colgate once decided to expand their brand to include frozen dinners.  In the 1980’s, frozen dinners were a hot item and many new brands were popping up.  But when consumers saw the brand “Colgate” they could only think of toothpaste.  Colgate learned that they should stay true to their mission of home care and hygiene products.  Expanding to include food just didn’t make sense.

3. Failing to consider other cultures and languages

Who can forget the “Got milk?” marketing campaign that got lost in translation?  In several languages The American Dairy Association’s slogan was translated, “Are you lactating?”

Yikes!

Our age of social media and online marketing means your brand will be seen by other countries and cultures.  Consider that when making the tagline for your brand.

4. Using vague marketing

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Have you ever been reading a company description that goes on and on?  Halfway through, your eyes gloss over, and you start thinking about what’s for dinner.  If you’re copywriting or designing a tagline for your business, be clear and simple.  Long, drawn-out, flowery language will not grasp the reader’s attention.

Find a way to tell who you are in one or two sentences.  If you think you have trimmed it down, look again.  You can probably trim it down some more.

Most marketing experts advise a focus on benefits, not features.  You don’t need to describe every product or service your company provides.  Instead, tell the customer how your company can benefit them.  If you sell cleaning products, for example, focus on how your products can make life easier and healthier.

5. Being too trendy or offensive

Clear, informal language is a good idea in company communication.  But it’s important to know the line between informal and inappropriate.  In this case, negative attention is NOT better than no attention.  Using slang or profanity in your messages can sit the wrong way with potential customers and damage your brand.  Learn how to be conversational without being offensive.

Conclusion

Establishing your brand isn’t easy.  To avoid common branding mistakes, make sure you have a clear focus on who you are and who your target is.  Hire professionals to avoid branding mistakes in your online presence and with other languages and cultures.  Finally, understand that you can be cutting-edge and informal without being inappropriate.

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