Branding is a complicated and nuanced process that can make or break your business. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common branding mistakes we have seen that lead to poor brand design and a confused customer base!
1. Not Defining a Brand Strategy
Do not make the mistake of jumping into the physical design of your brand without first establishing a clear and attainable objective for it. Most people confuse a brand with a logo—but it is so much more than that. A brand is a representation of your company’s values, goals, and promises. You can create a visually pleasing logo and design that catches the eye, but that logo always needs to be working towards conveying the overall message of the brand if it is to be successful. That message is determined when you establish the brand strategy.
So, as you can see, you can’t have one without the other. The brand message is always the end goal, and the designs and logos are simply conduits to conveying that message to the public. A logo is useless if it does not do its job of encapsulating the brand promise. So, if you don’t have a clear and concise vision for what your brand will promise, then your designs will never be successful.
Having a set brand strategy will not only help you and your customers understand your business, it will work as a guide for every single decision you make in your marketing and design endeavors.
2. Overstretching your Brand
A successful brand is recognizable, unique, and straightforward. One of the most common bits of advice for entrepreneurs is ‘choose one thing that your business will do well, and focus solely on that.’
It’s fine to expand your business into slightly new areas of the market, but stretching your brand into extremely different categories will confuse customers and ultimately harm your brand.
For example, if your store sells running shoes and you decide that your store should start making peanut butter, your customers will surely become confused. Your brand (hopefully) has a loyal client base that relates to your products and services (i.e. running shoes). If you begin to wander into a completely new market, your specific identity will be diluted or even lost. But, if you choose to expand into a new area that relates to your brand strategy, such as investing in the creation of running sneaker insoles, your customers will be more open to accepting the change and your brand identity will remain firm.
Also, brand extension could lead your business into unknown territory that could be dominated by intense competition. McDonald’s once tried to incorporate pizza into their menu instead of sticking to their classic burgers and sandwiches. Since various businesses already dominated the pizza landscape, McDonald’s efforts failed.
Focus your resources and efforts on your specific brand initiative—don’t venture too far out of reach!
3. Poor Brand Experience
According to a study conducted by YOTPO, 40% of consumers describe remembering a brand based on the way that the service made them feel. If your business provides sub-par customer service or unfavorable interactions, your customers will associate that bad experience with your brand.
InMoment reported that 74% of customers attribute negative interactions with employees is a cause of bad brand experiences. Ensure that employees are patient and empathetic with customers and are available to help when needed.
4. Not Investing in Trademarks
Protect your brand. Trademarks are legal protection over your brand and design, and they are important assets to help your business recognition and growth.
Customers are drawn to trademarked brands, and their purchasing decisions are often influenced by the presence of trademarks. A trademark can convey a sturdy presence in the market—letting customers know of your dedication to the brand, its message, and its promises.
Trademarks can also help your business stand out in a crowded market. It will immediately convey your reputation to the customer—making them more likely to choose your brand and less likely to seek out alternatives.
You must first make sure that your logo or design can be legally protected and does not copy or violate the rights of any other business.
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Nugno is a Branding & Digital Design studio. Founded and run by strategic branding & digital design experts that shares a love of innovation, design and digital connection.
We create strategy and design with production across all platforms. We’re masters of brand identity and on point with websites and apps. Our skills extend to designing books people want to read and environments they feel comfortable in. We also create engaging motion design and much more.