Branding can be crucial for the long-term success of your business, but it can be very tricky to get right.
From coming up with concepts and core values, to actually executing the branding plan and creating the image you want, it can be difficult to strike the right note without the help of a digital marketing or branding expert.
However, there are certain things you must not do on your quest to create a dynamic, unique and memorable brand. Here are the 5 mistakes to watch for:
1. Thinking branding is just a logo or a name. These things are important, but they are not the be all and end all of branding. Branding is not just logos, names or even colours – it is an ethos and a set of values that customers attach to your company. It is what your brand stands for, how it chooses to run its business and appeal to customers.
2. Creating a whole brand in a meeting room. This is what is known as ‘creating a brand in a vacuum’. You might have room full of the brightest and most creative branding talent, but you’ll end up trying to fit the company to the brand they have created. Instead, build your brand from the inside out, founding your company with the values your brand conveys, permeating these values throughout the whole organisation and getting your employees on board.
3. Neglecting to engage your customers. A successful brand has a story and a personality behind it, one that customers can get behind. You need to engage your customers as part of your brand development. Jack Preston, Content Manager at Virgin, one of the most successful brand success stories around, explains:
“In order to be truly engaging, start-ups must create a personality for their brand, interact with customers, and be a natural extension of their target audiences’ personal interests.”
4. Being insincere. It’s a huge mistake to develop a brand image based on what you want the company to be, or what you think customers want, rather than what you are. A successful brand needs to have passion, the company needs to live and breathe the ethos portrayed in the brand image – otherwise it will come off fake, insincere and unlikable.
5. Copying others. Whilst it can be useful to look at successful companies to see how they approach branding, it would be a mistake to try to copy them. Companies like Apple, for example, were successful because they were unique in their market. Their rivals were focusing on their tech prowess, while Apple positioned itself and its products as a lifestyle. If you can find a way to be unique in your market, and find a great way to tell customers about it, you will have a clear edge on your competitors when it comes to branding.
What do you think are the biggest branding mistakes a new company can make? Do you have any advice on successful branding for start-ups? Your comments would be much appreciated.