Branding can make or break your business. Because there is so much competition, your business needs to stand out from the crowd. 

Whether you’re just starting to build your small business or realize your company needs a rebrand, it’s never too late to work on your brand image. 

Let’s go over eight common branding mistakesbusiness owners must avoid.

The 8 Critical Branding Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Not Defining Your Brand Strategy
  2. Failure To Research the Competition
  3. Not Understanding Your Audience
  4. Neglecting Customer Experience
  5. Failing To Differentiate Your Brand
  6. Not Having a Crisis Plan
  7. Inconsistent Branding
  8. Forgetting What Your Brand Is About

1. Not Defining Your Brand Strategy

Your brand is the heart of your business. It should communicate who you are to your consumer. When your customer visits your website or social media, they should immediately get a sense of who you are.

As you are creating your brand, keep your target audience in mind and ask yourself:

  • How can you connect with them? 
  • What are their interests? 
  • How can you serve them?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What do you want to accomplish through your messaging?

If you do not define your brand strategy, your customer will not feel like they understand you. A strong brand connects to their customer. A strong brand communicates your values. A strong brand has a plan.

2. Failure To Research the Competition

You’ve got to know what else is out there to know you're on the right track. Researching the competition does not mean copying what they’ve got. It means understanding the other companies in that space.

Researching the competition can help you uncover gaps in the market, common trends, and other helpful information to grow your business. Never sleep on the competition. 

3. Not Understanding Your Audience

When creating a brand, think about the people before the product. Failing to keep your audience in mind will result in a disconnect. When customers browse your website, scroll through your social media, or watch one of your commercials, they should understand your brand.

Before starting your small business, you hopefully conducted market research to understand your audience better. If you didn’t, that's okay! It’s never too late. Market research can help you identify your audience demographics and their interests. 

Keep up with your audience through surveys and social media impressions. Failure to understand who they are might categorize your brand as out-of-touch.

4. Neglecting Customer Experience

Without customers, businesses are nothing. Setting up a feedback system is important so you can keep in touch with your customers. And further make changes based on that feedback.

You will likely lose that customer's business if you receive common customer complaints but don’t do anything about it. 

The thing about customers is they are the ones who can control your reputation based on their experience. Use the feedback your customers give you. Allow it to make you better. Never neglect customer experience. 

5. Failing To Differentiate Your Brand

Failing to differentiate your company’s brand means you become one of the many. The best way to avoid blending into the background is to create something memorable about your brand.

Tools to consider are:

One of the reasons the world’s biggest brands are so successful is because they are recognizable. For example, what do you think of when you hear the name Nike? What about Pepsi? Or even LinkedIn? When you call an Apple product to mind, one of the first associations you’ll make is likely their sleek, minimalist packaging.

After reading each of those names, some mental image probably popped into your head. That’s what sets them apart. If you can differentiate your brand, even on a smaller scale, your customer will remember you and come back for more.

6. Not Having a Crisis Plan

Mishaps happen. But the only thing worse than a crisis is not having a plan in place when one occurs.

As a small business, a crisis might seem far-fetched. While it might not be possible to plan for every situation, it is wise to have a process template that can be applied to any circumstance.

7. Inconsistent Branding

Your brand needs to feel like one cohesive entity. Being inconsistent is one of the biggest blunders you can make because it gives your consumer a disorganized or disoriented vibe.

Ways to create brand consistency include:

  • Defining your brand identity
  • Creating brand guidelines
  • Providing copywriters and graphic designers with style guides
  • Strong social media

 It is essential to know who you are, so your consumer does, too. 

Your company’s brand should be consistent, and with every interaction, communicate what you want for your customer. 

8. Forgetting What Your Brand Is About

Whether you’re building a startup or managing an established one, owning your own company can be hectic. When dealing with so many things at once, you can lose sight of why you started in the first place.

This is how brands fail. The customers can see when a business forgets who they are.

Make a conscious decision to stay true to who you are. Let your mission statement bring you back to the center when you feel you’ve veered off. 

Why Is Branding Important?

  • Increases name recognition
  • It helps you connect with new customers
  • Helps generate trust
  • Improves employee morale

Increases Name Recognition

Successful branding means recognizable branding. Customers who associate visuals with your brand are more likely to trust you and keep coming back.

To increase brand name recognition, you should:

  • Maintain a brand aesthetic
  • Create a memorable logo design
  • Use consistent fonts
  • Write a catchy tagline

Helps You Connect With New Customers

Branding is not just crucial for customer retention; it helps you connect with new customers

Strong branding can bring in potential customers by:

  • Showing them something they have never seen before
  • Connecting to them on a personal level
  • Making them feel seen or understood
  • Creating a trusting relationship

Helps Generate Trust

When customers trust you, they will continue coming back for more.

You can create trust through:

  • Authenticity: Customers want to know that you are genuine. You are true to your word and show them through your actions. 
  • Transparency: From marketing initiatives to product manufacturing to shipping, customers want you to be upfront with them. Your messaging should remain true and clear, so your consumer knows what to expect from your business.
  • Consistency: This is why it’s crucial to have a brand strategy. A brand strategy will map out the identity of your business, so you always have direction. Consumers want a brand they can count on, so remain consistent with them to build trust.
  • Customer engagement: Building relationships is a huge part of branding. If you can create a positive community by engaging with your consumer, it will build customer loyalty.

Improves Employee Morale

When you have a strong brand, it gives employees a sense of pride. People want to be proud of where they work. People also want to be proud of the work they do.

Create a brand that has a powerful mission. When employees can help their company achieve that mission, it can build a sense of accomplishment and community. 

How Can You Have Perfect Branding?

Perfect branding might seem like an unattainable goal, but it doesn’t have to be. Take another look at the eight biggest branding mistakes to avoid. Now, let’s flip the script and talk about the other side of it.

8 Tips For Perfect Branding

  1. Define Your Brand Strategy
  2. Research the Competition
  3. Understand Your Audience
  4. Create a Positive Customer Experience
  5. Differentiate Your Brand
  6. Have a Crisis Plan
  7. Maintain Consistent Branding
  8. Always Remember Your Brand’s Mission

Whether you’re still in the early phases of your business idea or ready for a rebrand, follow these steps. There’s no such thing as a perfect person, but there is such a thing as ideal branding. Remember why you wanted to create your business first, and let that shine through your brand.

If you want to learn more about branding or packaging, Box Genie can help. Check out Box Genie for more information.

Sources:

What Is a Crisis Management Plan? (6 Steps to Create One) ⎸ Asana

Why Branding Is Key For Customer Retention ⎸ Forbes

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Acquisition for 2022 ⎸ HubSpot

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