Your brand is your reputation. Make sure you have a good one.
So you’re a small business owner. Your doors have been open for quite some time, you have a few regular clients, and your website is up and running. And yet, your phones do not seem to ring as much as you expect. You paid for a digital marketing campaign. You have a great location, skilled staff, and a great product. What could you be doing wrong? Could it be that you’ve made a few branding mistakes?
“But wait, I paid a couple hundred dollars for that logo! What’s wrong with my branding?”
To build a good brand, you need to at least have a fundamental understanding of what it takes to build a brand. Many businesses, big and small, make mistakes with their brand. Even some of the biggest marketing firms have made incredible blunders, so do not feel too bad if you’ve made a few yourself.
But how do you fix it?
The Most Common Branding Blunders
1.Your Brand is Inconsistent
So you paid a decent chunk of change for graphic design services for your logo. But did you invest any time or money into determining the right colors, preferred images, fonts, or brand voice? If your logo is light blue on your website and business cards but purple on social media, you’re mixing up messages. On a quick scrolling glance, someone may overlook you, expecting to see a bright blue logo in search results. Inconsistent branding can lead to high bounce rates, customer confusion and a decreased confidence in your brand.
As shown in this brilliant infographic from Elle and Company Design, the perception of your brand begins from the second someone sees your logo. Take note in the vast differences between what a yellow-centric logo conveys, versus a blue one. A food brand would perform much better with a yellow logo, but probably not so much with a blue one. A financial institution, however, would be considered more trustworthy using shades of blue, over sunny, attention-grabbing yellow.
You can avoid a major branding blunder through consistent color and design choices. This helps to build trust and recognition, which is essential in marketing. Take the time to make a formal guide for these things. It doesn’t even need to be lengthy. A spreadsheet or a one-page document will suffice for most small businesses. Making this guide available to your employees helps ensure that your brand will have proper representation at all times.
2.Your Brand is too Trendy
Obviously, you do not want to look like you only recently discovered the internet. That does not mean you need to emulate the hippest and edgiest spots in town to stake your claim. If you’re not a trendy, downtown start up, you do not need to brand yourself as one. Know your core identity and target audience and build around that. Like with interior design, timeless never goes out of style. There are elements of branding that have stood the test of time, like crisp clean logos, and eye-catching color schemes. Would you hire a law firm decked out in millennial pink? Aim for somewhere between classic and classy before you venture into new and disruptive unless of course, that’s your brand.
A great example of true-to-product branding is Norah by Earth. The pet-forward, naturally-derived intent of this dog shampoo brand is communicated through its use of earthy tones and a dog-centric logo. From the packaging to the newly-launched website, every asset works in tandem to convey “this is a brand I can trust.”
3. Your Brand Name is Attached to All of the Wrong Things
Just because your company’s name or logo can be somewhere, does not mean it needs to be everywhere. Do you attend EVERY single social event you are personally invited to? Probably not. Sometimes, the party is just not your sort of crowd. Likewise, not every product or promotional opportunity serves the mission or perception of your business. Like when one of the world’s most well-known toothpaste companies decided that they were going to take a swing at making frozen foods. Mmm… cool mint lasagna! This is one case where less is more. If you expand your product line, services, or offerings, make sure the connection is crystal clear. Exceptions to this rule include gum companies, Velcro distributors, and cling wrap. Sticking to the wrong things might make for a great marketing campaign for them.
4.Your Content Has Bad Copy
Does your website read like the transcript of a late night infomercial? Do your social media posts read like a high-schooler talks? What about your direct mail printing? As with the other point about inconsistency, a consistent copy is necessary to build credibility. Also, do you want to sound like either of those? Unless you are the site for P90x or the Instagram for Forever 21, you might want to bring in a copywriter to tighten up your brand’s voice. Aim for unique and accurate. People will be suspicious of you saying you’re the best in Orlando if no one else in Orlando has said so.
But you may be the only company in your niche with a 24-7 support staff! Highlight what you do have, before what you want to have. Be conscious not to use too much jargon either. Write for the person you are trying to target, not for yourself.
Or, like marketing guru and entrepreneur Neil Patel said, “All content is not created equal. Some content will go viral, generating tons of hot traffic to your blog, while others will be lost in the archives. If you want more of the first kind, you’ve got to put your readers first.”
5. Your Brand is Too Complex
You do not need the whole color spectrum in your logo. Your website does not need to have a novel’s worth of content. Keep it simple. Simplicity is memorable. With the ever decreasing attention spans of the average person, you want something bold and quick that can stick. Shoot for clean, quick, and simple.
6.You Gave in to Reckless Rebranding
To make it clear, there’s no point in rebranding if people do not even know your brand. Don’t jump the gun on rebranding if you think your brand isn’t quite working. Explore all other options before moving forward. Any changes disrupt the existing relationships with your clients.
7.Your Brand is Insincere
Don’t lie, fabricate, exaggerate, or falsify information about your brand. People will find out, and they will not waste a single moment in calling you out on it. Authenticity sells better these days, even if it makes you look like a “small company” That’s okay! In fact, many larger companies are making efforts to appear smaller than they are.
Like your produce, you want your brand to be organic when possible. Reach out to influencers or even past customers to speak about your brand so you don’t have to. A great testimonial holds a lot more weight than a false claim.
If you’ve made a branding mistake or two, it is never too late to fix them. With the help of an actionable branding strategy and Metrovista, your company can position itself into a place of authority, credibility, and reliability. Through promotional products, printing services, and other marketing materials, we want to help your company fix their branding mistakes.