When it comes to branding, you can't afford to make any mistakes. The slightest misstep will negatively impact public perception of your business, and it might take years to fully recover. Learn how to avoid the following five branding errors that continually plague small business owners.
1. Following the leader
Great brands achieve success because they're unique and creative. While there may be some similarities between two companies, especially if they're in the same industry, the similarities never make it impossible to differentiate one brand from another.
The worst mistake you can make is following in another entrepreneur's footsteps rather than blazing a new trail for your brand. The Washington Post notes that "consumers value individuality." Your business' public image should be unique so that it doesn't look like a clone.
2. The wrong name
A company's name can make all the difference in the world. Consumers should be able to talk about a business without its name interrupting the flow of conversation or being difficult to recall. Forbes points out that enterprises with names that are difficult to pronounce or spell are among the worst. The words should roll right off the tongue rather than make people uncomfortable saying it aloud. Additionally, some business names are too generic, so there is some confusion with others. In many cases, this happens when entrepreneurs use their first names for their companies. For instance, Jimmy's Pizza Shop or Angela's Roofing Service aren't the most unique identifiers.
3. No commitment
According to AllBusiness, some companies task marketing and advertising departments with branding without informing other teams. This means that there is no unity within an organization. Sales representatives and other consumer-facing employees might project an image that's entirely different from the brand that marketing is trying to develop. The entire company should be involved with branding initiatives to ensure that all employees understand the correct objectives.
You have to commit to a single brand identity and carefully cultivate it to reach new consumers. When your image is comprised of disparate elements, you'll only confuse potential customers.
4. Broken promises
The Washington Post also reports that consumers hold businesses accountable for their promises. If part of your brand is a guarantee of fast and reliable service, then that should always be provided. Reputation is a massive component of your brand, and when you start breaking promises, your company will quickly feel the negative affects. Ideally, you'd be able to give the world to your clients, but that's not always feasible. Set realistic expectations so that consumers are never disappointed in your business and, by extension, your brand.
5. Catering to the masses
It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes you shouldn't give people what they want. Consumers are fickle and their tastes change at the drop of a hat, so you can't base your brand around a trend that might only be a fleeting fad. The image you create for your business should be durable and able to stand the test of time. Develop a brand that doesn't use pop culture to appeal to new customers. Instead, rely on your goods or services to speak for your company to find new clients.
What are some branding mistakes you see small business owners making?