Branding is the most reliable way to differentiate your products/services from others. During the 1500s, cattle owners used branding to identify their livestock on the ranch and in the market. Different marks were used by different ranch owners to differentiate their cattle from others.
The concept of branding has changed since then. Today, branding isn’t used merely for identification. A brand’s identity can help make or break a business. Good identity puts you in good light with target customers while a bad image can make it difficult for you to rise up or push you out of business for good.
In this article, we’ll identify the reasons why brands fail and pitfalls you should be avoiding. But first, let’s identify what branding means to a company.
What Branding Means to a Company
By definition, branding is the process of creating a name, design, or symbol that would help identify a business and its products and/or services. It is a way to distinguish yourself from competitors, telling customers what you are offering, and setting their expectations.
Branding defines how you want to be perceived by your customers. That’s why it’s important for businesses to be critical, creative, and strategic when thinking about their brand. A brand should embody your values (what you stand for), your mission and vision, and your people. It should be a true and honest representation of yourself and value proposition.
A good brand identity can drive new business and increase recognition. If you have a great logo, it is easier for people to recognize and remember you. Pair that with impactful messaging, your brand becomes the most powerful there is in your market.
Strong brands have increased value perception and will have no trouble drumming up referrals. Great brands have a positive impression amongst consumers who are most likely to do business with you again because of familiarity and trust. Once you’ve established a strong brand identity, word of mouth will be your best and most effective advertising channel.
What Branding is Not
Most people think that branding is merely having a good name, captivating logo and a witty tagline. Although these are integral parts of your brand strategy, your brand goes beyond these elements. Branding is not purely meant for marketing purposes. It should be integrated into all aspects of your business – from the way your employees answer calls, to how you conduct sales, and how you create your products or deliver services.
Trademarking is not branding but it is another crucial part of the brand strategy like your logo and tagline. Your brand is not your website but you can use your website to communicate with your audience on what your business is about, and how you can help customers deal with their pain points.
Branding should not be controlled by your customers. If a brand is the sum of customer experience (what they think of you and reflection of what you do), the brand becomes a two way street. Customers should influence your brand but they shouldn’t control it.
Lastly, branding is not just about how you position yourself in the market. Positioning is a touchstone for developing brand identity, creating new products, and planning marketing and advertising strategy. Branding goes beyond making an impression but positioning does influence certain areas of your business.
When Branding Goes Wrong
Learning about how to develop a great brand can be overwhelming. There’s just so much information out there and it’s easy to get confused. While mistakes are inevitable, there’s a solution to every problem.
Here are some examples of branding mistakes and what you can do to recover.
Inconsistency across platforms and mediums
Consistency is the first rule in building a strong brand. Many businesses fail to be consistent in presenting their identity, which ends up with them appearing unprofessional, untrustworthy and disjointed.
Quick Fix: Create a style guide.
Don’t just slap your logo on everything and call it a day. A style guide is a simple rulebook that educates your team members of your company’s preferred colors, fonts, imagery, logo, and other visual assets. It sets standards for your brand’s values, voice and written elements to make sure you’re presenting a cohesive message wherever your brand appears, from your website, to social media accounts, ads, printed materials, letterheads, giveaways, etc.
Relying Too Much on Design Trends
While keeping up with design trends is a great way to make sure you present your brand in a fresh, contemporary way, doing it too much can eventually lead you to losing your core identity.
What to Do: Use design trends as inspiration for quick marketing materials and digital ads like on social media. Your brand needs to weather multiple waves of design trends without looking dated since you plan to keep your business running for generations. If you’re planning to do a redesign, don’t heavily rely on trends.
Not Being Strategic on Where You Put Your Brand
When you attach your logo onto something, it should be compatible with your brand’s voice and values. This can be difficult especially if you plan to work with another company whose messaging may not be similar to yours. This will make you look inconsistent and untrustworthy to consumers.
What You Should Be Doing First: Choose your brand affiliations. Understand your target market, learn their pain points, and establish how your products/services can alleviate those pain points.
As we’ve said earlier, the key is consistency. If you’re putting your brand on something, it should be aligned with your values, voice, and purpose.
Using Content That Doesn’t Accurately Describe Your Brand
If you want to position your brand in a way that distinguishes you clearly from competitors, don’t use the same words everyone else is using. Find one thing that makes you truly unique but be careful of going over the top. Don’t say your product will revolutionize the industry if it won’t. Make sure your copy is unique but accurate.
What to Do: When writing, focus on benefits not the features. All pens have the same features. The thing is what are the benefits of buying that pen from your brand. Perhaps, maybe your pen doesn’t dry out of ink that fast or is a lot smoother to write with on any paper.
Did you run into any mishaps while redesigning your brand? Let us know. Contact us today!