When starting a business, it is crucial to understand the power of proper branding. Your brand image tells consumers your purpose and what they can expect from your company. A stellar brand image can make all the difference when looking to boost your business. From lacking strategy to a badly timed rebrand, avoid these branding mistakes to improve the overall image of your business:
Not Having a Brand Strategy
Your brand is a representation of your business and what it stands for. Take time and but some critical thought behind design decisions. When you’re developing your brand strategy, rather than choosing colors, themes and imagery that is trendy now, identify your audience, analyze messaging based on their needs and create a plan that will encompass your brands' identity without risking being out-of-style in the future. This will ensure that your brand is engaging your target audience while accurately representing your mission for the long-term.
Your brand should mirror your business's mission as well as its products and services. This means that all elements of your brand should be consistent. With multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn, you’ll need to display consistency across the board. You can easily confuse users if you’re using different logos or names on different platforms. All your touchpoints, including your social media sites and website, should all have a consistent theme. Use the same company name, logo and even fonts and color schemes when possible.
You should be using every opportunity to showcase your brand’s image. Some examples include adding your company logo to email signatures, business cards and swag such as pens or water bottles to give away. Including your businesses ‘touch’ in places both on and offline will increase your exposure and people may begin to become more aware of your company. Not to mention working to make your company name more familiar with your target audience will eventually make them more likely to consider working with your brand.
Not Building Links to Your Site
If your brand has been around a while, use online tools such as Ahrefs to find broken links leading to your site and then send over a working URL to the webmaster so readers are able to learn more about your brand if they so choose. You can also find instances where your company is mentioned online but not yet hyperlinked and ask for them to link to your homepage. Correcting broken links and linking brand mentions will drive traffic as well as thought leadership. In order to get a wholesome look at how your brand is performing online, consider taking advantage of an SEO audit to see which aspects of your business need revamping. By ignoring broken links leading to your page, your brand may give the impression that it is old or outdated.
Not Differentiating your Brand
If you’re a new or small business, then it’s no surprise that there are other businesses just like yours trying to gain the attention of prospective customers. It’s your responsibility to create a brand that will differentiate you from your competitors. Research what your competitor's branding style looks like and ensure that you create something different. Try an A/B page to see what page assets stand out to viewers and mimic that across your site. The goal is to stand out from your competitors while remaining legitimate.
Thinking It’s Just a Logo
There should be a strategy behind the creation of all of your content- especially your logo. Your logo may be the first impression of your brand in many instances, so make sure it represents it well. Consider bold colors and simple yet unique elements that are relevant to your businesses niche. Avoid using cliché mottos or over complicated imagery. Color psychology is great to consider the creation of the logo.
Your branding guidelines should be clear, specific and followed throughout your business. Too many small businesses don’t think that specified guidelines are crucial. Using different fonts and shades are a definite no-no. If you don't have a style guide, your brand will be inconsistent. Specify your guidelines in order to maintain your brand’s identity and once you have specified them, never cheat on them. If you find that your brand is not as efficient as it could be, you may need a rebrand.
Not Protecting Your Brand
Protecting your brand is crucial for you and your audience. You’ll need to ensure that any logo you’re using is not already being used. Creating your own logo is a great way to mitigate that issue. There are many apps that can help with this. Once the logo has been created and cleared, you should trademark it to prevent anyone else from using it. Trademarking is also important because you will build your reputation and consumers will instill trust for your business.
In time you might find that you’re expanding to new markets and/or selling new products. Sometimes, this means you might need a new brand image. Small businesses can make the mistake of not rebranding when they should. Your image should be reflecting the services you provide and if your brand is not aligning then rebranding is something you need to consider.
Maintaining a stellar brand image is critical to the success of your company. By following the tips above, you can begin to up your branding game.
Maintaining a stellar brand image is critical to the success of your company. By following the tips above, you can begin to up your branding game so that your business becomes well-known and well-trusted.
Emily Banks is a Bay Area native who got tired of San Francisco’s cold beaches, so she moved to San Diego. She is currently the Editor for the HR section of 365 Business Tips. When she is not typing away on her keyboard, she can be found eating street tacos in the sunshine.