Creating a successful brand isn’t as easy as many people assume. Here are some of the common branding mistakes that companies make – and what you should be doing instead!
Stealing another company’s name/logo
This is an obvious branding mistake that you should avoid at all costs (obvs). Many companies do this unintentionally – they may pick a company or logo and not research it beforehand to see if it has already been taken… For example, this blatant rip off of Progress’ logo by the Canadian Energy Centre…
I don’t think I have to say it, but certain logos and brand names may be trademarked. It could be illegal to use this logo or brand name and you could have to pay a hefty lawsuit. Always research your competitors (and other companies in general) beforehand to check what type of branding they’re using. It’s possible to trademark your own logo or brand name if you don’t want others stealing it, but it isn’t essential (bigger companies tend to benefit from it more).
This guide at Forbes.com delves more into trademarking.
Not representing your USP
Every company should have a USP (unique selling proposition). This is the element of your business that helps you to stand out from your competitors whether it’s better pricing, a unique product or decades of experience.
Make sure that your brand helps to convey your USP in some way whether it’s through visuals or a slogan. For example, if you produce the most robust dog toys on the market, a logo that suggests ‘dogs’ and ‘toughness’ could be important.
Focusing only on visual branding
Logos, fonts and colour schemes can all be important brand elements, but they’re not the only things that make up a brand. An identifiable tone of voice is also super important – this is the way in which you write your copy, whether it’s your website or social media posts. Is a fun and playful tone necessary? Or should it be serious and direct?
Think about your brand message and try to match this with a suitable tone. For instance, if you own a family restaurant and aim to offer fine dining, you may want to convey a sophisticated tone of voice but with a warm and inviting tone that suggests ‘family business’.
Not being consistent
Your branding needs to be consistent across all mediums. If you’re using a certain logo and colour scheme on your website, make sure that you’re also using this on any flyers that you produce. Inconsistent branding could create confusion for consumers who may assume that the website and flyers belong to different companies.
There are tools as found at Templafy.com that can help you to maintain consistent branding when producing documents. Style guides also help when it comes to generating content in a consistent tone of voice…
While consistency is important for a brand, there are times when it can be healthy to rebrand. If you’ve been using the same logo and templates for ten years, you may find that they start to look stale or old fashioned, or maybe your business has changed immensely since your first branding exercise… Updating your branding could help you to stay current and to keep attracting customers.
A successful rebrand involves getting rid of all traces of your old brand and replacing them with new branding. It’s important to still keep some of the original elements of your old brand so that old customers aren’t left confused. Completely redesigning a logo may not be necessary – it could be a case of simply tweaking it.
When it comes down to it, your brand is what represents your business, more than just visually… What are is your company’s mission? Values? What do you want to represent? That’s your brand, don’t make the same mistakes some other businesses have!