Top 10 Branding Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

When it comes to small businesses, getting things done often takes precedent over getting things finished. With only so many hours in the day, taking care of everything can feel like fighting a losing battle. It’s frustrating.

As a result, branding often takes a backseat to other priorities. It’s something most owners view as a luxury but not a necessity. Yet, this perspective can drastically hinder the possibilities of a business. For business owners who seek to capitalize on every facet of their company’s operations, branding is essential.  The motto “perception breeds reception” is one any entrepreneur should remember. But also, it goes without saying: branding begets more customers, but only when it is done the right way.

Of course, if you aren’t versed in branding matters, you won’t be able to develop a proper identity for your business. This is why it’s essential to find and hire a branding design company that can take care of these matters for you. But it doesn’t end there. Once your branding project is complete, the brand design agency will provide you with all the source materials for future use and then move on to its next client. This is why reviewing some of the most common branding mistakes committed by businesses all around the world is a useful way to spend your time.

All that being said, there is an excellent chance that your brand will be (or already is) committing one or more of the following brand mistakes. These short term measures only create long-term expenses for your marketing efforts. Therefore, dodging them in advance is a surefire way to more significant,  longterm savings. Below, you will see the most crucial mistakes you should look out for. Remember – understanding the issue is half the battle!

Lack of an Identifiable Brand

The first big marketing mistake a company can make is not having a brand at all. A brand is defined as the visual elements (logo, company name, slogan or tagline, and color palette) used to convey your company’s identity. It evokes a particular emotion, assures credibility, and serves as the first impression of your clientele. You know how important a first impression can be in life, so don’t mess it up!

Using Clipart

If your branding is centered around a graphic made in Windows 95 or another software program that’s 3+ years old, then let this article be your wake up call. You, as a company, are conveying a lack of technological understanding – being branded with this type of perception can easily spill over and taint your credibility as an “expert.” Moreover, your company will never be able to fully own your brand as intellectual property, which will close the door on marketing opportunities in the future.

Relying on Low-Cost Artwork

In the industry, owners will often substitute the efforts of a seasoned professional designer for the low-cost help of a relative or close friend who has some Photoshop experience. There are crucial things to consider during the development process that only those experienced in this field can help with. Despite his best intentions, it’s unlikely your nephew has this specialized knowledge and experience.

Using Initials or Names

The rules for naming your boat doesn’t apply to name your company. You want prominence, presence, and to stick out in the minds of your most sought after consumers. Don’t waste the opportunity to create a brand name that resonates with your offerings and target audience.

Using Photographs

Brands that incorporate photos into their logo design have a nearly impossible time integrating across the mix of media. The standards for professional appearance do not include low-resolution or live-action photography of any kind. Look at the biggest brands in the world (Apple, Nike, McDonald’s, etc.) for proof. Spare yourself the headache of trying to get a photo-based logo onto a uniform or website. Always go for photoless imagery.

Not Syncing with the Industry

To truly own your presence, you must appropriately align with the industry your in. The message and emotion you’re trying to conjure can’t come from worlds away, but rather must be in sync. A mortician dressed in a clown suit isn’t going to send the right message, despite it being a “creative” approach to business. It’s essential to be creative, but this creativity should be within reasonable limits and formal or informal understandings of your industry. Second guesses by those who see your brand aren’t necessarily a good thing. Feeling certain is a much more useful sentiment you want potential customers to feel.

Lack of Integration across Various Channels

If you have a brochure and a website with one type of logo design, and a vehicle wrap with another, your company will be missing out on the power of association. Make sure your brand’s true identity is consistent across all types of media. Consistency and recognizability are key.

Not Being Applicable to All Kinds of Media

Just because your brand looks spectacular on paper, doesn’t mean it looks good on the web.  However, what this means is that a consumer’s opinion of your company will depend on which version they saw. Avoid this problem by building a strong brand identity that translates smoothly across touchpoints and types of media.

Inconsistent Messaging

Similar to the previous two mistakes, if your brand’s voice isn’t consistent across every channel, then it may put a fork in your credibility. This is like the politician who looks excellent during speeches, but then posts off-color remarks on social media. It’s inconsistent with the message he or she is trying to convey. Don’t let that happen to you and your business.

Lack of Differentiation

The last mistake, but not the least, that many business owners make is a lack of creative, differentiating aspects in their branding. You want to stand out from the rest, not use the same boilerplate logo and website. This puts you on an even keel with the competition, not ahead of the curve. For the most significant impact and ROI, you need an imaginative yet appropriate approach.

Conclusion

Maybe, you will need to hire a branding design company again after it completes your brand identity project and let it manage these matters for you. For a little while, at least. Don’t forget that branding services aren’t cheap, even if you aren’t dealing with the most expensive company. You will have to learn to manage your brand correctly from specialists and make sure your staff does the same. Your brand defines your business, and if you don’t learn to manage it successfully, you’re out of luck.  No brand design firm can help you with this problem, so it’s best to make sure you’re ahead of the game early on.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan