There are great benefits to having a strong brand – but a few pitfalls along the way to branding success.
To help you avoid some of the worst, here’s a quick rundown of 6 of the most common branding mistakes that we see being made.
1. Not planning
Branding means planning – and planning again. Everything you do needs to be done with deliberation and as a part of your brand strategy.
Don’t have a brand strategy? Then its time you did.
There are endless resources available which give great guidance on developing your brand – here are just a few of our favourites.
A part of your brand planning involves planning your social media strategy – which is more planning!
Hopefully, by now you are starting to get the idea that not planning properly, and in enough detail, is perhaps the biggest mistake anyone can make when it comes to brands (or actually, almost anything else).
2. Not connecting with your target market
Even if you get the planning right, you need to make sure it is aimed at the right target.
Connection with your demographic is crucial. As a part of your planning, you should have identified your ideal customer avatars and have your branding geared towards them.
Review your brand assets and make sure that they are in line with this direction – if not, stop using them and create some new ones that are.
If you find that you are missing this target, then there is hope – simply because you have noticed (you’d be surprised…). This means that you are willing and can do something about it.
There are many different reasons why brands fail to connect with their audience – here are some suggestions to help you resolve this.
3. Inconsistency across platforms
Inconsistency across your brand, or your social platforms, is a common error, but one that comes across as unreliable or untrustworthy.
Your brand is more than your logo – it is your company identity and its personality.
When you come across someone who appears untrustworthy, you tend to avoid them, yes? Well – brands are no different. Appear inconsistent and you will lose business.
There are many cases of even household names losing millions due to branding errors (hello ‘Holiday Inn’), but inconsistency is one of the top mistakes to avoid.
At the very best, it will leave your customers confused.
Your brand should always be obvious, identifiable, and regular – wherever it appears.
The solution to this is a brand style guide. Every business should have one!
4. Wandering away from your success
New products and services can be a great way to expand your business and grow your customer base – but always keep in line with your brand.
Wander off the path of your success too far and you will begin to create inconsistencies (see the previous point).
Here, we are talking about launching a new product or service that just doesn’t fit, or make sense, with your existing range.
Upmarket car companies often launch ranges of clothing and other accessories – and that usually works well, as travel bags, casual clothing and so on, fits the lifestyle of their existing customer base.
But imagine if Porsche announced tomorrow that they were to open a supermarket?
It makes no sense, it would do nothing to add value to their existing customers or their lifestyles and would create, at best, a huge amount of confusion.
And worse, they would attract a lot of the wrong kind of attention.
The same goes for rebranding – a brand refresh or even a complete redesign can boost attention, following and business. But if not done with care, can lead to ruin (‘Gap’ was a prime example of this).
5. Lack of monitoring
You should be constantly monitoring the impact of your branding and your social media as well.
Mistakes will always be made at some point, but if you are closely monitoring what works and what doesn’t, they need not be costly or cause damage to your brand.
Before making any changes, get plenty of feedback from every possible source, but especially your market and your customers.
Once you have the feedback, listen to it.
All social media posts across platforms should be giving you daily feedback from your target market, but also, reach out to your customers and engage them in conversation. Find out what they like and what they don’t like about you as a brand – and ask what they would like to see in the future.
6. Lack of flexibility
Finally, all the feedback in the world will not help a brand who is stuck in their ways and won’t adapt and be flexible when changes are needed.
Once you have your monitoring data, use it. Take note of where things are great and keep doing them!
But also notice where improvements and changes are needed and make those changes (not just for the sake of it, but where there is a clear benefit from doing so).
This requires a certain amount of flexibility and an ability to accept that your carefully laid plans may not be as perfect as you thought they were.
Ultimately, this is about being able to take constructive criticism.
If you feel your brand may need a quick check-up, then the best way to do this is to get an independent opinion – doing it yourself will not uncover areas that you are blinkered to.
If you already have a successful brand image, but feel it could perhaps do with a little freshening up to help propel your business to the next level, then contact Splento today and find out how to take your own first steps to refresh.
Take a look at this page for some amazing examples of companies that have done just that.
For further assistance with this or any other aspect of branding, contact Splento today.
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