I’ve noticed over the years that plenty of new businesses seem to make the same common mistakes when it comes to branding.
Sure, they all seem to understand how important it is to create a brand of their own. Unfortunately, they also tend to jump in at the deep end without really thinking things through.
This can create all sorts of problems down the track that can sometimes be difficult to fix at a later point.
So, rather than let you struggle through making those same mistakes, I figured we’d look at some of the more common branding mistakes made by many startups and how you can avoid making them.
Here are the top 7 common branding mistakes newbies can make:
Mistake #1: Lack of Strategic Planning
When most business owners think about creating a brand for their businesses, they immediately think about cool logos, or thinking up amusing taglines. Yet effective branding goes so much deeper than this.
The object may be to attract attention on one level, but branding is also used to form a distinguishable image in your customer’s minds that they can use to relate to your business over that of your competitors.
Take the time to plan your strategy for branding, and think about more than just being funny or clever.
Mistake #2: Overlooking the Visual Aspect
When customers think of a brand name they associate with, they often think in images. Successful businesses more often then not incorporate a visual aspect into their brand that can include a picture or graphic, symbol in the logo that represents the company, or even a character/mascot (think lucky charms cereal leprechaun)
Even without seeing the associated company name written down, everyone knows what the Golden Arches represents all around the world. As a new starup, make sure to think about how you can include a visual aspect to represent your brand.
Mistake #3: Inconsistency
Instilling your brand into the minds and memories of customers can only be done if you are consistent about using the same business name, the same logo and the same tag line on all your marketing material. This means your business card logo needs to look like the one on your website and on the sign outside your business premises.
Mistake #4: Inefficient Marketing Strategy
There are plenty of businesses around the place that have gone to the effort of creating a strong, memorable brand, but they don’t have a marketing strategy in place to get that brand out where it belongs.
Having a strong visual brand will do you no good if you only focus on advertising your business over the radio. Your customers can’t see your brand by listening to an ad over the radio. Creating a catchy tagline that works well on the radio won’t work for you if it doesn’t really capture the essence of your business in other marketing avenues.
In order for your branding efforts to really have a positive effect, you need to work on ways to get your brand out into the public’s awareness in as many ways as possible. This includes finding ways to imprint your brand over and over so that customers can see, hear and relate to your business name in more ways than
Mistake #5: Not Branding Your Core Service
While your business name and business logo are both important factors, your tagline needs to encompass your business’s core service exactly. However, it needs to be done in such a way that it entices customers to think about your business over your
competitors. Think about Wal-Mart’s tagline “Always lower prices. Always.” Their tagline tells customers exactly what to expect and exactly what they’ll get.
A strong tag line should be around three to six words that really highlight the central core product or service your business provides in some way that sticks in a customer’s mind.
Imagine if Wal-Mart’s tagline said “we sell stuff in a big store.”
It really doesn’t have the same effect, does it?
Mistake #6: Trying to Please Everybody
Too many startup businesses try hard to please everybody. They work on ways to try and figure out a logo or tagline that will hopefully appeal to a majority audience. However, this line of thinking doesn’t have a direct focus to your intended target audience.
Think carefully about the type of people who are most likely to be your customers. They will want your specific product or service, so direct your efforts appealing to those prospective customers you really want to attract.
Mistake #7: Using Cliches
One of the biggest issues many startup businesses face when trying to think of a memorable logo, a strong business name and an effective tagline is falling for using clichés. Using a tagline that says your business is the ‘best product on the market’ isn’t taken seriously by most people, as it’s an overused phrase. Instead of trying to claim your business is the best, or cheapest, or highest quality, work on ways to prove these things through your business actions.
The branding mistakes outlined above are among the more common ones made by many startup businesses. Even established businesses have been known to make some of these too.
So when you’re thinking about creating your business’s brand, keep some of these mistakes in mind and do what you can to avoid making them.