Most people underestimate the power of branding. Yet if I ask you for the first brands that pop into mind when I say;
- take away,
- soft drink, or
- search engine?
I’m sure that most of you responded with McDonalds, Coca-cola and Google. This might seem like magic, but the reality is that it’s all in the power of branding.
The reality is that the majority of people don’t truly understand what branding is. After decades of building brands, I’ve seen the same mistakes happen time and time again, so I thought I’d share them with you in the hope that you can avoid these mistakes.
Here are my top 7 deadly branding mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1 – Thinking that your logo is your brand
This is the most common mistake. The reality is that apples don’t sell computers! It’s the brand, not the logo that engages and connects with the customer. The Apple brand is about innovation, pioneering new ground and designing a product that not only looks beautiful but will sync your entire life. The apple symbol simply tells you where you can buy the product and as a consumer, it shows others what you own or are aligned with. The logo is an important visual connection, but it is not your brand.
Mistake #2 – Not having a brand personality
Understanding your brand personality is the first step that is often missed when it comes to branding. Knowing ‘who’ you are as a brand is critical – after all, if you don’t know who you are, how are your customers supposed to know. Once you know who your brand is and what kind of personality your brand has, so many pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. The colours you choose, the language and tone of your brand, even the brand experience will all be built off your brand personality.
To find out what your brand personality is, go to www.brandpersonalities.com.au
Mistake #3 – Focusing on what you do not how you do it
Most people are quick to tell you what it is that they do and leave out the critical part – which is ‘how’ they do it. Knowing how you do things is strongly built off your brand personality. It is far more powerful than trying to build a business simply on what you do. After all, every dentist does the same thing. However, not every dentist does it the same way. When I was a child, my dentist used to get us to choose cool sunnies to wear and pick music to listen to before we even had to sit in the chair. The visit was enjoyable and has left me with good memories, not bad ones. To this day, I have no issue going to see my dentist.
Mistake #4 – Not having a promise
A lot of business owners never think about having a brand promise. What is the one thing that you can promise your client and know you can deliver on? In my branding studio, it is ‘to create designs you can be proud of’. That’s our promise and we keep this front of mind in everything that we do. We don’t promise to create the most prolific brochure, the most popular website or the most famous logo. Why? Because we know that it isn’t possible. We can, however, create designs that our clients can be proud of. Our systems and processes along the client journey help us deliver on that promise.
Mistake #5– Using an untrained designer
Too many people opt for a cheap logo by using websites like Fivver or 99 Designs. Even worse I have seen people get their best friends daughter to design their logo because they are good at art! This is your business! Would you leave your newborn in the hands of a child or someone who is untrained to look after your baby? So why do this with your brand? The result is that businesses usually have to rebrand after a year or two and end up paying far more than the initial investment would be. Back yourself. Get a properly trained professional who understands branding and show your customers just how serious you are about your business.
Mistake #6 – Using your favourite colour
It has been reported that 98% of men love the colour blue, which is probably why there are more blue logos in the world than any other colour. But choosing the colour for your brand simply on what your favourite colour is, is very dangerous for your brand. You should refer back to your brand personality and your target audience. If the majority of your clients are men, then sure, you can contemplate blue. But if you are targeting women, children, particular cultures or age groups, your brand colour should be carefully considered.
Find out the psychology of colour.
Mistake #7 – Assuming that branding is expensive
The last mistake is that people think branding is expensive. The initial strategy and logo design is definitely an investment that is worth paying for, but there are so many areas of branding that you can do yourself that don’t have to cost money. The one key point is to remain consistent. Don’t get sidetracked by shiny popular fads. Stay the distance and remain true to your brand personality and promise and you will enjoy a far more connected and engaged business.