You have a super awesome business idea, a real vision for your brand but you might be ruining it by making common branding mistakes which could easily be avoided. I will break them down for you so you can start your branding the right way. I might be getting into trouble though because I will tell you some things most brand experts don’t tell you or might even disagree with.
Thinking branding is just creating a logo and you’re done
Branding is a real process which takes a lot of time. Your logo is just one part of this process and, to tell you the truth, it’s not even the most important part. You might want to disagree with me here because you want to use your logo to put it on everything e.g. your website, ads, products. Depending on your business and branding, your logo is not always the thing people recognize you by and if there is nothing behind this logo, no brand strategy, it just stands there with no effect.
Before creating a logo you should dig deep into what your brand is about and what you want to stand for. Build a solid foundation first. This includes, among other things, your brand values and story. Only then, you will be able to create visuals representing your brand. Find out more about building a solid brand foundation in this post.
If your brand isn’t already in a stage where people get your logo tattooed, your logo might not be that important.
Not taking the time you need
Many trainings and courses promise to help you doing your branding in one day or a weekend. Please don’t fall for that. You can certainly do your branding in some kind of speed session but the result will look different. As said above, creating a brand is a real process that takes time if you want to do it right. When you start your business you have this amazing vision of what you want it to be. You spend time and money to get it going. You want it to succeed and to last. If your business is that important to you, why wouldn’t you want to invest the time to build a strong brand? It will pay off in the long run.
Making it all about you
Surprise! Your brand is not actually about you. It is more about your audience. You have to find out who your audience is, what they are struggling with and how you can help them. They will only buy from you if they can relate to your story and mission. Do the research to get to know your audience, be clear about who you want to target and attract exactly those by building a brand that aligns with their needs, dreams and beliefs. Then you are on the right path.
Making it not yours at all
Here’s the crux. Of course, your brand is also about you. If you can’t stand behind your brand, your brand values and mission, then you will have a hard time to implement it every day. Creating a brand persona, which is a kind of an avatar for your brand, will help you to find the balance between you and your brand.
It’s about who you are, who you want to be and how others see you.
Rebranding like there’s no tomorrow
That’s a real sore point for me. I think rebranding is way too much à la mode today. Now you constantly stumble upon announcements of ”launching soon after the great rebranding”. Let me tell you this, a rebranding is not necessary at all if you did your work upfront. If you invested the time to build a strong brand in the first place, then why would you need to change that. Of course, your brand will evolve over time and you will make some tweaks and adjustments to your strategy or your design but this is not a rebranding. Many people get this wrong. If you change the layout of your website, use a different color for images and graphics or if you switch a brand font that’s not a rebranding. Call it fresh up or whatever you like. A rebranding is when you change important elements of your brand foundation and only then rebranding is really necessary e.g. when you change direction with your business, fuse two businesses together, or if you change the philosophy behind your brand because purpose and values don’t align with what you do anymore.
Stay away from rebranding because there’s one thing it will do for your brand – it will confuse your audience.
Doing what everybody else is doing
If you’re hopping on the trendy train, you might have missed the #1 rule in branding. Your brand has to be different to stand out from the crowd. Your brand has to be unique. By copying other brands, you do the exact opposite, you blend in. I know, it’s tempting when you see everybody using these cute handwritten fonts you like so much or you see somebody’s values posted on their site and you think, ”hey, that’s totally me”. Always reflect on what really aligns with your brand. Even if your competitors have a similar mission, how can you put a different spin on it?
Not being consistent with your branding
When your brand development is done, you’re still not finished. The most important yet difficult task is to be consistent with your branding. This consistency involves everything you say and do. You have to apply your branding by creating cohesive images and communicating your values and mission on all channels in a coherent way. Therefore, it is good to set standards and guidelines when developing your brand to keep you on track.
Consistency is key to leave a strong impression on your audience. It helps them to recognize your brand amongst competitors and identify a correlation between them and your brand.