Your brand is your business’ personality, and it entails a lot more than a logo and a tagline. Once your brand is developed, it should become an integrated aspect of everything your business or startup does and says. Tall order? Since your branding so fully affects your identity as a company, it’s important to avoid these common branding mistakes you may be making even as we speak!
Defining your company’s purpose and values are what ensure your brand is founded with clear intent. And there’s nothing like thoughtful design to support those values. Follow your brand’s style guide across all channels, platforms and materials. One great reason to hire a designer is so they can help you create said style guide! Without a sense of consistency and cohesion, your brand can appear unprofessional, losing a sense of identity along with credibility. Just be careful not to sacrifice character for consistency’s sake!
Succumbing to trends
While it’s true that staying up-to-date with the latest trends in branding and design is a great way to make sure you’re representing your company with modern panache, there is nonetheless a difference between contemporizing your brand and letting go of your core identity. Regardless of what’s currently considered fresh, chances are your brand will need to stand the test of time—without coming off as dated. Do use design trends as inspiration, but try not to rely on them too heavily, as they come and go easily.
Forgetting what sets you apart
There are many great reasons to refresh and/or rebrand (such as an evolving audience), and that’s all hunky dory as long as your branding continues to effectively connect with both your original audience and your would-be audience. To remain relevant, Lord & Taylor rebranded itself for millennials while maintaining the engagement of its original clientele, older women. It’s not always easy, but one thing’s for sure: don’t stray too far from what made you successful and distinct to begin with. You don’t want to alienate your loyal base by becoming unrecognizable.
Not knowing your audience’s values
The values your brand stands for can work wonders if they resonate well with your target audience. After all, your audience is largely what gives your brand purpose. If you don’t fully know who your target is, it’s important to develop a better understanding so you can make your brand that much more appealing to those who care. Whether it’s your tagline, website, or logo design, not effectively communicating to your audience what makes you special and relevant to them spells wasted effort. Emphasize why you matter, and be sure to avoid too many buzzwords or unoriginal imagery.
Good brands are ever-evolving and reacting to whatever changes are happening around them. Let’s face it: context is always shifting, but if you develop a strong foundation for your brand, you’ve got the necessary abilities at your disposal to revamp and refresh if/as needed—without losing your voice or core identity.
Not hiring a good designer
Put simply, an amateur-looking logo can hurt your brand. So can a sloppy or difficult-to-navigate website. It’s pretty much always worth the time and money it takes to enlist the innumerable skills of a professional designer. One of the biggest brand mistakes anyone ever makes is treating development as low priority.
If you catch yourself making any of the above mistakes, your best bet is to take corrective measures before your efforts are compromised. Strong brands aren’t built overnight, but no matter what stage your business is at, you can always re-envision what you want your brand to say to the world and take steps in that direction.