8 common branding mistakes and how to avoid them

7th April, 2022

Circle table with laptop and notebook on top of it

Good branding is an important part of building a business, but as it is not directly involved with the actual products or services a business offers, it isn’t always a priority for busy business owners.

Unfortunately, that can quickly lead to any number of branding mistakes.

Mistakes are surprisingly common when building and maintaining a brand identity, and they can lead to lost revenue due to basic errors in communicating with audiences. After all, if your customers don’t know what your brand is, can’t connect with it, or are confused by it, they may well take their custom elsewhere.

The good news is that you can learn from these mistakes. Here are eight of the most common branding mistakes we see – and how to avoid them.

1. Not starting with a brand strategy and research process

Most major business decisions begin with research. Is there an audience for your product? Which supplier should you use? Which advertising platform offers the best returns?

So why would you begin your brand strategy without research?

We often see businesses approach their brand strategy on intuition alone, rather than working with actual research. This can mean their own thoughts and ideas cloud their strategies and disconnect them from actual customers.

Instead, begin your brand strategy planning with research. Take the time to ask existing customers about their wants, needs, and expectations. Look at what your competitors are doing (both the successful and unsuccessful ones), and be sure to leave your own assumptions at the door. 

2. Not understanding the power of professional branding

For some businesses, the mistake is to simply overlook the power that professional branding truly has.

Think about some of the biggest brands in the world. You immediately know the colours, logos, and tag lines for those brands. That kind of recognition is valuable, and it’s all the power of branding.

One global study found that 71% of consumers think it’s important that they recognise a brand before making a purchase. They don’t even need to know much about the brand – simply recognising it gives that brand a leg up.

When you underestimate the power of branding, you are less likely to invest in it, and you can sell yourself short in the process.

3. Confusing Branding with Logo Design

Logo design is to branding as wearing shoes is to getting dressed. Yes, it’s a vital part of creating your brand, but it is not the whole brand – just as wearing shoes does not count as being fully dressed!

A logo is often the most recognisable part of your brand, but it is just a symbol of the greater whole – your brand personality, your tone of voice, colour palette, typeface choices, and more.

“Your brand is the single most important investment
you can make in your business.” — Steve Forbes

4. Being inconsistent

Inconsistencies across your branding can quickly undo any work you have put into building a brand.

For example, if your website has a pared-back, professional style, but your marketing materials are crowded and casual, your customers may become confused, or simply not recognise that it’s all the same brand. This can easily invite them to look in another direction, and we don’t want that!

Inconsistency is probably one of the main mistakes we see out there, usually caused by a lack of guidelines and/or a number of people managing brand assets without proper training.

5. Not having a Branding Guidelines document

A Branding Guidelines document is essentially everything you have decided and planned for your brand, all written down in a clear and easy-to-follow format.

Even if you know it like the back of your hand, this document is essential for new staff when they come on board, as well as any contractors or businesses you work with who will be helping to enhance your brand – such as a website designer.

Without this document, it will be much harder for these parties to get a good feel of your brand, which can lead to inconsistencies.

6. Apply personal preferences instead of audience preferences

When you work in the industry and know it as well as you do, you become something of an expert on the subject. But that can sometimes work against you.

Many business owners have their own personal preferences when it comes to their own industry, or even for general areas such as social media. For example, a small business owner might dislike the use of video content on a webpage. However, video content is skyrocketing in popularity, so that business owner could miss out on reaching their audience due to their own preferences.

Don’t let your own personal preferences get in the way of good branding. Do your research on your audience preferences and habits, and let that lead your branding strategy.

7. Asking the wrong people for feedback

When you come up with an idea for a marketing campaign, a new logo, or even a new product, your first step should be to get feedback.

The important thing is to ask the right people for feedback. Your friends and family are more likely to give you positive feedback no matter what, and even your employees may have clouded judgement due to their involvement with the brand.

Instead, put the question to your actual audiences – social media and review sites are a good place to start for an unbiased opinion.

8. Customer service letting the team down

Perhaps you do everything right when it comes to branding – from creating guidelines, to keep your branding consistent, to doing your research every step of the way. All of that can go out the window with a poor customer service experience.

And as the face of your brand for your audiences, your customer service team has to be extremely well versed in your brand. They must know how to kindly and efficiently deal with complaints and issues and know when to escalate the issue.

To avoid problems, be careful with your customer service hiring process, using role plays to determine how someone would handle angry and upset customers. You can also create templates or steps for responding to customers.

Getting strategic branding right

You don’t need to be a brand expert to get your branding right, but you can use the help of one.

CREATIVA offers expert branding and website design to help you get the results you want. Get in touch today to learn more about what we offer.