Branding is an important component to business success. But too often, business owners leave branding to chance or don’t direct their branding efforts. Here are some common branding mistakes and what to do about them.
No Defined Brand Message
Branding often gets confused with taglines and logos, but these aren’t brands, they’re representations of a brand message. Many business owners get caught up in developing taglines and logos to fit their product or service without first deciding what sort of message they want to deliver. As a result, their taglines, logos and other marketing materials don’t mean anything to consumers who see them. Before developing your marketing materials, decide what sort of experience and feelings you want your customers to have when buying from you, and develop your promotional campaign around delivering that message.
Diluted Brand Message
A common problem in branding is dealing with the addition of product or services to an existing line. In effort to fit everything in, many business owners change the brand until consumers aren’t sure what they’re getting. A better option is to work to keep all your products and services under a single brand without being vague. Nike offers a variety of products and services, yet all fit under the concept of “Just Do It.”
Business Practices that Contradict Brand Message
Failure to deliver on your brand promise is a sure way to doom your business. Disney’s brand is all about happiness, but not every customer has a perfect experience with the company. Nevertheless, Disney puts a great deal of effort of fixing what goes wrong in an effort to live up to its brand message. Whatever your brand message, make sure that your business practices, customer service and marketing matches it.
Not Monitoring the Brand
Brands can be hijacked and badmouthed. If you don’t monitor what people are doing with your brand (logos, tagline etc) or what they’re saying about you, your business can falter. Web analytics, social media and Google Alerts are all ways you can monitor what’s being done with and said about your brand. If you find someone stealing your brand identity, you can confront them (this is where trademarking your brand can give you leverage to protect your brand). If people are saying negative things, determine if there is merit to their complaints. If so, do what you can to fix it.
Your brand is your reputation. It can’t be built by default, but instead created by design and nurtured.