When you think about great branding, Apple’s sleek logo, Nike’s swoosh and McDonald’s distinctive golden arches probably come to mind. But a brand, much like those, is a lot more than just logos and colors creating iconic images. A brand is an intangible bond between a company and its consumers, or in other words, a relationship. This relationship is built upon all of the individual experiences one has with a brand. This is what makes branding so powerful: it taps into human emotion and connection, and is ultimately defined by that.
While most businesses know the importance of having a brand, many of them underestimate the amount of effort it takes to build a great one. You can’t just throw a logo together expecting that to make an impression alone — you need a lot of research, hard work and even a little bit of luck for your brand to make an impact. Since your brand encompasses so much of your identity as a company, it’s important to do it right by avoiding these common branding mistakes.
1. Thinking your brand stops at your logo
As mentioned previously, a brand is more than just a logo and a tagline. Your brand is your identity as a company, your voice and your personality. You need to know who you are before you can even begin to communicate it to consumers. Your brand’s voice should reflect your company’s culture, and set you apart from your competitors. What do you offer? What do you stand for? How do you want consumers to perceive you? This is one area you don’t want to skimp on.
Knowing your story and being able to communicate it authentically is what sets a great brand apart from a good one. Consumers connect with these stories, and find ways to relate it back to their own lives. Defining your brand is also valuable from an SEO perspective, which means that focusing on brand building could lead to unexpected web traffic and awareness benefits.
2. Not Knowing Your Target Audience
This is branding and marketing 101, guys. You NEED to know who you’re trying to reach and what they’re looking for. This goes hand-in-hand with developing your identity — what type of person does your target demographic respect and identify with? Your audience gives your brand purpose, and your brand’s value lies in whether or not it resonates with your target audience.
3.Failing to Research Your Competitors
It’s important to understand who you’re up against and what others before you have done. Researching your competitors helps to develop your voice, and determine what you can do differently to make your brand stand out. Not only does it help to develop differentiators for your brand, but it also offers inspiration if you’ve hit a wall.
4.Keeping Your Brand Inconsistent
When it comes to branding, consistency is key. It is what builds familiarity, and eventually, loyalty. Brand owners get bored and tired of their looks, so they start to improvise and consistency goes out the window. A brand needs to establish who they are, what they believe in, how they speak and what they look like…and then bring that to the table every single time.
This is where brand-usage guidelines come into play. Create these rules for everyone within the brand to follow and insist on uniform presentation of its elements across all platforms. Check out these crazy creative brandi
5. Keeping Your Brand Static
A brand isn’t something you build once and never worry about again. Good brands are dynamic. You should constantly revise and refine it, adapting it to changes in your marketing environment. If you develop a strong foundation, you allow your brand the necessary flexibility to be refined and enhanced as needed without losing your voice.
I know, I know…seems like common sense, right? You would think so, but these are all too common factors that companies overlook before throwing their brand out into the world. Once you know your voice and what your brand stands for, you can create a relationship with your consumers that goes way beyond a logo.