Famous branding mistakes: what NOT to do when branding 

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Branding is important in every business. It gives your company a unique identity that sets your trade apart from the others. With tons of businesses offering the same kind of products and services, branding makes your company stand out from the crowd. And as a small business, it is imperative that your brand marketing is one-of-a-kind to increase your followers and, eventually, sales.

However, branding is so crucial to get right that one single mistake can lead to an outright disaster. Branding follows one important principle – do no harm. When it comes to creating your own business identity through branding, there are certain things you’ll need to keep in mind to guarantee a proper and successful campaign. Check out these famous branding mistakes and avoid them at all costs.

Not having brand guidelines

More than just a visual representation of your company, branding is a science. A successful project is based on certain guidelines, data, and proven statistics – not just mere hearsay or unsubstantiated information. You cannot simply create an image for your business out of nowhere. You need to rely on established facts and recognized strategies to guarantee success.

When formulating your brand identity, make sure to create and follow an established list of defined guidelines. From your business logo to your visual storefront, website colors, taglines, and voice of the company, double check all elements and make sure that they complement each other well to come up with an unmistakable identity.

  • All logos, whether for individual purposes or general usage, should be relevant and consistent.
  • Review the aspects – such as the colors, fonts, and taglines – you will be using for your business.
  • Establish the voice and image of your company, including the mascots and spokespeople.

Shotgun approach to social media

There’s no doubt that social media is the number one branding tool used by most businesses worldwide due to its innate effectiveness. From Facebook to Instagram and Twitter, social media channels are versatile, easy to use, convenient, and, best of all, affordable compared to other strategies. However, there’s one social media mistake that most business owners are guilty of creating too many accounts in an attempt to increase visibility.

The number of available social media channels is indeed growing, and creating accounts on each platform is an easy trick to lure marketers into building a vast social media presence. Signing up is easy, but maintaining all those accounts is a hefty responsibility. Each service requires specifics, and posting the same content in each channel can dull your brand identity.

  • For Twitter and Instagram, hashtags speak power but they don’t apply on Facebook.
  • Focus on platforms that work for your target audience e.g. LinkedIn for professionals, and Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for consumers.
  • Don’t forget the requirements of each channel for things like image size and video length.
  • You need to be able to consistently post and respond, so it’s important businesses don’t bite off more than you can chew.
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Becoming a vaguely defined brand

How many times have you seen an advertisement that says “best-selling product of all time,” “award-winning services,” or “premier affordable solutions”? Every single one of likely has because generic branding statements are everywhere, and they don’t really mean anything. This is yet another famous branding mistake you need to avoid: falling into the vague and very repetitive world of business branding.

Your branding must be directional, and it should possess all the elements needed to showcase the core meaning and value of your company. There’s no room for nonsense, overly repetitive, or generic approaches that have been used by millions of companies worldwide. Your brand should be unique, have a meaning, and deliver your products or services right up front.

  • Develop a clear and simple language to communicate with your clients.
  • Use the right mix of logos and imagery according to your needs, industry, and requirements.
  • Make your value proposition meaningful. It should reach your audience effortlessly.

Constant rebranding

There’s no harm in changing the image of your business, but doing it regularly is a different story. Another famous branding mistake that owners are guilty of is doing a constant rebranding. Marketers call this A/B testing and it has been proven to be significantly effective for fine-tuning advertising tactics, but risky when applied to business identity. Once is fine, but constant changes to your image create confusion that might make your business forgettable.

Most if not all businesses undergo rebranding throughout the course of their lifetime. Apple once changed their logo and it became a big hit, but rebranding can likewise kill your company faster than a lightning bolt. Take Tropicana for example. They changed their packaging to depict freshness and rich taste. Although appealing, the company’s sales dropped tremendously, losing them millions of dollars.

  • Don’t get blinded by brand blunders such as changing the image or look of your company.
  • Rebranding takes a lot of planning and execution and rushing it won’t yield great results.
  • If there’s no indication that you need to rebrand your business, don’t push it.
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Ignoring your business goals

You have invested so much time, effort, and resources into building your company, so why let branding mistakes ruin everything? Along with having established guidelines, you should have a clear set of business goals and objectives to lead you along the road to success. However, branding doesn’t bring immediate results, and it will only work when employed together with smart strategies and thorough risk assessment.

Keep in mind that creating a brand is not a goal in itself, but a way to achieve your business goals. Creating business goals that you can use to develop favorable and exclusive branding for your company can be difficult, so here are some tips to make it easy:

  • Consider the necessity and need for creating or changing your business image.
  • When changing branding, weigh the consequences and outcomes regarding clients.
  • Reflect your target audience and the availability of acquisition channels.
  • Make sure that your branding represents and showcases the unique features of your company.
  • Before using branding kits, make sure that they are tested on a focus group.