When it comes to brands, no company wants to get it wrong. A brand image is hard to erase from your customers’ minds. Get it right the first time. Here are some common branding mistakes—and more importantly—how to avoid them in the first place.
Not Defining the Company Brand
When a customer hears the word “Nike,” their mind immediately races to the shoe company’s trademark swoosh, and to the latest athlete to design a pair of their pricey kicks. Similarly, when someone hears the word “Kay,” they think “diamond ring,” for after all, “every kiss begins with Kay.” When a company doesn’t have strong branding, though, customers tend to forget. They’re just as likely to buy the competitors’ merchandise.
Instead, start with an idea that defines the company. Build upon that to select the company’s color scheme, its logo, and its messaging. Create a style guide for your brand that covers everything from the fonts you use to your ads. Take inspiration from the world’s finest companies—and make it memorable.
Making It Complicated
“It’s complicated,” may define some people’s relationships on social media, but when it comes to branding, keep it simple. Use clean lines on the company’s logo. Keep the color scheme to three colors, and the fonts to three or fewer. Use wording that’s easily understood by everyone. Make calls to action easy to remember and easy to do.
Clouding the Message
Before a company’s graphic design or copy departments begin to design an ad, the website, or the company’s labels, the company needs to lay out its unique selling proposition. What exactly makes it worth walking clear across town just to buy what it’s selling? Convey that message in every piece of advertising, every video, and every jingle. Avoid worn-out phrases and generic logos. Get specific and get customers.
Getting Off Course
Once a company has latched onto a branding formula that appeals to its customers, its decision makers may be tempted to experiment with designs and copy that go off the company’s style guidelines. Often, a graphic designer may want to introduce a new color scheme or new fonts, when the old ones are working just fine. Don’t ditch the tried and true products, either, for faddish ones. Introduce new ones if you must, but keep those the customers love. Confused customers go elsewhere.
Keep an Eye on Copyscape and Social Media
Other companies—including a company’s competitors—may try to imitate some of its brand elements. They may even try to borrow some of its copy—or to mimic the melody on its jingle. Furthermore, some underhanded competitors may try to use the company’s brand or its logo in reviews on social media or review sites, giving false information or inaccurate reviews. Use Copyscape to locate stolen material and Google searches to find negative reviews and other mentions of the company name. Don’t be afraid to confront those who misuse the company’s branded elements. Stamp material with a copyright and trademark the company logo as soon as it’s financially feasible.
Forewarned is forearmed. Keep these branding errors out of the company’s marketing playbook, and the company will have an effective branding strategy that can last a lifetime—or beyond.