The startup industry is thriving today as the budding entrepreneurs have access to all kinds of nifty software and resources to convert their ideas into robust businesses. However, this also means that there is a lot of competition too, which is why branding has become more important than ever.
Although more and more people are realizing the benefits of branding and taking it seriously, many are making huge mistakes due to the lack of knowledge and experience. A lot of them don’t even know what these mistakes are.
Let’s take a look at the top 8 branding mistakes your small business might be making:
1. Using a Poor Logo
You can’t create a brand without a logo just like you can’t publish a book without a cover. However, you shouldn’t create a logo just for the sake of it. The design should have some meaning. It should represent your company’s ideologies and carry the message you want to convey to your customers and others who are on the fence.
If you have already spent a lot of money on the logo design (which is easily possible if you approached a professional graphic design studio), then you don’t have to break the bank again. In fact, you can create the perfect logo yourself without compromising with the quality by using any decent online logo designer for a small fee. There are lots of such services on the Internet just a few clicks away.
2. Underestimating the Brand’s Voice
Every time you publish an ad, press release, social media post, etc., speak at a press conference, or give an interview, you speak in your brand’s voice. In other words, participating in these acts actually shapes your brand voice and whether it puts your business in good light or bad light greatly depends on how you have developed it is in the first place.
The following are some tips on how to create an ideal brand voice:
- Choose three words that define your brand voice and base your brand personality on them
- Analyse the brand voice of your competitors and see how yours can be different
- Think of your brand as an individual. What would their personality traits be like?
- Avoid choosing a voice that sounds superficial or “corporate-like”. Try to create a voice that’s easily approachable, honest, and inspiring
3. Not Having Brand Guidelines
When you create a brand, your business is small and easily manageable. However, as it grows, it can be difficult to maintain the core ideas of your company across all the platforms that it exists on. You might be promoting a different feeling on Facebook than Twitter or using different sets of colours for your banners, images, etc.
The most important thing about a successful brand is consistency– make no mistake about it. So, to prevent your brand from getting diluted and disorganized, you must establish some guidelines that are followed everywhere you promote the brand itself. These include:
- Tone of voice
- Fonts, typography, colours, and icons
- Logo variants
4. Not Monitoring Your Brand Usage
Even if you have established the brand guidelines, you are not done yet. You have to make sure that these guidelines are strictly followed as well. For instance, you have to check that your publishers aren’t launching ads with wrong colours or logos. Similarly, you have to keep an eye on blogs and websites that are putting links to your website to ensure they aren’t using wrong branding elements.
5. Having Unclear Value Proposition
Clarity in marketing and branding is a must. So, you have to make sure that your taglines and ad copies aren’t just flooded with buzzwords and features that don’t strike a chord with your target demographic. The value proposition should be crystal clear; your customers should not have to work to understand what your business is about and why it’s better than the competition.
6. Limiting Your Social Media Presence
Branding is all about creating an emotional connection with the people and in this era, it’s the social media where these bonds are developed. That’s the domain you want to focus on to interact with your customers on a personal level.
It’s really important that you push the envelope of your brand’s presence on top social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and. You should also learn the right and wrong way to use social media for business so that your efforts don’t backfire and help achieve the results you want as quickly as possible.
7. Not Having a Website
If you run an online business, then you need a website. However, if run a brick and mortar store, you still need a website!
Many people wonder why they need a website when most of their customers get to know about them through word-of-mouth marketing and local advertisements. However, the truth is that a lot of people try to find new businesses on the Internet itself. So, there is a big possibility that you are losing customers simply because your company is non-existent on the web.
Your website is the most important element of your online presence. So, make it as appealing as possible and learn the basics of how to make the most of a business website. Make sure it has the essential pages including “About Us”, “Contact Us”, etc. as well.
8. Not Caring About Brand Reputation
A brand represents a business and it’s a known fact that a good reputation is important for the success of any business. It helps to push sales, build trust, and even attract the best talent for the staff. So, if you have not devised a brand reputation management strategy yet, then it can be the costliest mistake that you may have to bear.
To safeguard your online reputation, keep the following things in mind:
- Closely monitor all your social media accounts and register what your customers have to say. If the negative feedback is increasing, then take action immediately.
- Be open about your business practices and key executives that are working in your company including the co-founders and public spokespersons. Protecting their privacy too much can leave a lot to speculation and malicious entities may use this to their advantage and spread rumours.
- Avoid online arguments at all costs. Instead, try to deal with conflicts in a professional manner. If you are actually at fault, then don’t shy from offering a heartfelt apology and reverse the damage if possible.
When it comes to running a business, even a small mistake can lead to disastrous results. Since branding is the personality and identity of your business, you can’t afford to make any of the mistakes shared above. So, take note and fix the problems if there are any, as soon as possible.