When branding goes wrong: avoid these mistakes
A brand is an identity that reflects the values of your business in a way that inspires confidence and trust in potential customers. When done right—and built with care—a strong brand can be the foundation upon which you grow your company. But when done poorly, branding efforts can lead to major headaches down the road, including lower sales, bad press, and unhappy clients.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of your business, and it's also one of the easiest to get wrong. Mistakes in branding can be costly to fix, and even more costly if they're not fixed at all.
We've compiled a list of seven common mistakes that can derail even the best-intentioned branding efforts so you can avoid them.
1. Expecting your brand to instantly succeed
Building a brand is a process, not an event. It takes time to build trust and loyalty with your customers. You can’t expect them to identify or align their perceptions with your business overnight; it takes some time and patience on your part to earn their trust and loyalty.
So if you want to build a long-term relationship with your customers, ensure that every communication strategy reflects this understanding – that the brand is portrayed properly on how people experience your business in different channels like social media or email marketing campaigns, etc.
2. Failing to be consistent
Consistency is key to building trust and establishing a brand. People can only remember so much, so the more you repeat your name, product, or service and where it comes from, the better chance you have of being remembered by consumers — and building a brand people love and identify with. Consistency is especially important when building a brand-new business. You have to make sure that every communication strategy reflects this understanding – that the brand is portrayed properly on how people experience your business in different channels like social media or email marketing campaigns, etc.
Consistency also means keeping a consistent message and tone. While it is good to have your brand’s voice be unique, you don’t want it to be too different from one channel to another. A brand’s voice is how you speak to people, how you make them feel, and what they can expect from your interactions with them.
For example, if your brand has an irreverent tone on social media but takes itself very seriously in email marketing campaigns, this will confuse customers and make them question whether they can trust the content or not.
3. Making your brand all about you
You are not your brand, your brand is and must be bigger than you, even if it's a personal one. The best brands are not about the founder, they're about their customers.
What do you say when you meet someone new? You introduce yourself and share your name. You might say a little bit more than that if it's appropriate, but probably not much more than what’s necessary to get the other person up to speed on who you are and why they should know you. So what does it mean when we talk about a brand is "all about" its creator?
Your brand is your promise to your customers, so if it's all about you as the creator (or worse—you as an individual), then customers will feel alienated. If there isn’t room for others in our conversations with customers then neither can there be space for them in our messaging or communications efforts either.
4. Pushing fast changes without a proper strategy to back them up
If your brand fails to meet the needs of your target audience, it can be incredibly difficult—if not impossible—to recover. Therefore, it's crucial to have a solid strategy in place before you start making any changes. If you're trying to make your brand more "open," for example, then what does that mean for your audience? What are the specific benefits of being open? How will this change affect their lives? It’s important to answer these questions before jumping in with both feet.
Your customers are the best source of information when seeking to make changes or adjustments, they are the end users and targets, so compile all the feedback you can from them. Research your customer's needs and preferences so that whatever changes you make are effective.
5. Forgetting who you're talking to and what your message should be
When it comes to any kind of communication, the most important element is understanding your audience. If you're not talking to them in a way that makes sense, chances are they won't understand what you're saying or care about it.
To get started on the right track, ask yourself: Who am I trying to reach? What do I want to say? How can I best say this so my message will be heard? Once you've answered these questions and have a clear picture of how best to engage with your audience (and why), it's time for another round of self-reflection: Are there any gaps in my messaging? Should my brand change in any way based on this information?
Constant reflection and evaluation can improve all your communication strategies and ensure your message is being received as intended.
6. Not owning up to your mistakes
When you recognize and apologize for something going wrong, you're demonstrating strength. It shows that you have the maturity to admit when you’re wrong and that you have enough confidence in your brand to own up to mistakes. It's also a great way of showing your customers that you are willing and capable of improving and that their opinions are being heard.
Apologizing will help build trust with your audience and employees, as long as it's followed by action. Make sure to follow up on any promises, changes, or compensation you declare to maintain your brand's integrity and the customers' trust. When something goes wrong, an apology allows both parties—the brand and the customers—to move forward together.
7. Assuming that a great brand will solve all of your problems (it won't).
Every business wants to build a great brand. And there's no question that a strong brand can help you grow your business, attract new customers, and establish yourself as a leader in your industry. But it's important to know what branding is—and what it isn't, and branding has its limitations.
A great brand does not guarantee sales or success. Branding is the promise customers expect to receive when they choose you over other options, it takes time and effort. However, no matter how strong your brand is, it will not make up for operational and management problems, or any other internal issues.
Some final words of wisdom
A brand is a living, breathing thing. It should grow and change over time as your business evolves. A good brand helps you navigate this journey by consistently communicating the core values of your business so that it can be recognized in an increasingly competitive world.
We can help with your branding needs, we look forward to hearing from you!