How important is your brand to your business? Ever prioritised it over sales or marketing? If you answered ‘not very’ and ‘no’, you’re in good company. Most small businesses think branding is too expensive and out of reach. The thing is, a strong brand can help you win clients and beat the competition – it’s a powerful tool.
Branding has been around for more than a century but we’re still getting it wrong. If we can’t learn from the mistakes of our peers, we’re doomed to repeat them. Here are six mistakes to avoid as you begin to build your brand.
A brand is more than a logo
Logos are an important part of a brand identity, some say the most important part. But don’t make the mistake of thinking your brand stops there. Before you even think about a logo, decide what your brand will stand for and how you’ll tell it’s story.
Fragmented or confused messaging
Consistency is key when it comes to branding. The voice of your brand should be the same at every interaction with a customer. Everything counts, from the way you answer the phone to your hold music. Customers form a perception of your brand at every touchpoint so keep on message and be consistent
If you outsource marketing or social media to a third party, employee or intern you NEED guidelines. Don’t let anyone go rogue! A guideline is a really easy way to communicate how your brand thinks, speaks and behaves.
Copying other brands
There is no shame in drawing inspiration from brands but the key is to replicate it in a way that’s unique and represents what your business is all about. At the end of the day, consumers value individuality and you want your business to stand out, not run with the crowd.
Whatever you promise, you must deliver – customers will hold you accountable if you don’t. The customer experience should align with your vision for the brand. Be true to that vision always.
Try to do it all yourself
There are a plethora of design tools on the market and you might be tempted to try and do it all yourself. Give them a try but don’t be afraid to admit when you need professional help. If you don’t you risk cheapening your brand and the investment you have already made.
You might think your brand will last a lifetime but the truth is as time passes customer demands change, your business grows and you will need to adapt.
There is nothing wrong with a little rebrand. Some of the biggest names have done it – Coca-Cola, Google, Yahoo. That said, be sure to approach a rebrand with caution. Make changes that will benefit the business, not changes for the sake of change.
Want to know how to build a strong brand? Get our free guide Branding how-to guide to building a strong brand for your small business.
Originally published December 23 2016 , updated April 28 2017