Are You Making These 4 Branding Mistakes?
A brand comprises all the symbols, logos, names, or sometimes even a sentence that consumers remember a product or service by. This is often a reflection of what companies think about their product as well. It means that one must be aware of product perception and have confidence when building a brand. In the present time, we are undergoing what is termed as an “information revolution,” where we see that more content is available and accessible to audiences. Thus, branding is no longer just a specific set of words to remember, but some additional experiences and visuals add to a product’s collective memory (e.g., social media trends, information about the “nature” of the producers and not just the product, availability across geographic boundaries, etc.) Here are a few branding mistakes that your company could be making and a few hacks to eliminate these obstacles when designing your exclusive brand.
Not working with your existing consumers, users for branding
Regardless of upcoming trends, what still remains one of the most effective branding methods is through WOM (word of mouth). Work with your pre-existing customers and clients (especially if your product has been around for quite some time) to join you and help you spread the word about your brand. Not doing this often alienates the consumer from your product, and also, the brand is no longer protected by its “origins.” Such a strategy has been successful for multiple industries such as broadband brands, food, beverage brands, etc.
This is most common for brands that don’t seek professional help when designing their branding strategies. Most companies assume that branding is only about the name and logo of the product that is to be established in a market. At most, they bother about a tag line that can go with, and that’s it. Here they assume that advertising is all that branding entails rather than using a more discursive and thought-out approach towards understanding and creating consumer behavior patterns. The “brand” of a product cannot remain stagnant in the face of evolving trends in the product’s consumption.
Not being flexible
Yes, it is essential to create permanence of a product’s utility and likability, but both these things cannot remain one singular brand forever. This is a big mistake that we can see in cosmetic products, beauty salon logo designs, and other such brands that ignore the new conversations and culture around their product. Today, products are not just bought for immediate results but also for their credibility. These days, people share their experiences more than ever due to the internet, so it becomes essential for a brand to keep evolving. This does not mean that branding should become a matter of public relations, being restricted to image management only. The brand should reveal more information about the product and the company in tune with what the consumer would want to reveal about themselves as they consume the brand/product.
Attempting to appeal to all
This is a big mistake that we keep making in our brands and in other processes that entail the selling of a product. There is a need to specify a target audience (while also being inclusive) in order to sell smartly. An attempt to please all can lead to your brand getting watered down and thus losing memorability. The toning down of certain elements can confuse the customers as to what is being sold. A carpenter logo must have visuals specific to the qualities of the product and where it can possibly be consumed (interior design) rather than being only about durability and strength (qualities that are essential to other types of products).
How can you avoid making these mistakes?
Branding strategies are nowadays created and spread through useful modes like digital marketing. You can begin by creating a proper branding strategy with a special team to focus on your brand’s evolving and expanding nature and product reach. It is very important to have striking and relevant visuals for your brand, a trick that start-ups and old companies both tend to forget all about. This can help make your brand stand out amidst the heavy competition.
It is also very important to proof-read the content that you attach to your brand. Apart from obvious mistakes like blurry images and spelling errors that could weaken the brand, it is also essential to monitor other information that gets out alongside these obvious markers of a brand.
A strategist should work in close connection with not just the owners but also the producers of the product to be sold to paint an honest and nuanced brand image. To do this effectively, companies should work towards establishing inclusive communities, including the consumers, towards understanding the stages of a product’s life as and when it gets put on the shelf.
This same community can be used effectively when also establishing a crisis management plan. We see numerous brands crumble in the face of nasty social media trends and other events that are often not in our control. This needs redressal committees that are prepared for the repercussions that may follow the release of the brand (especially through advertising). You can also personalize the brand through an emphasis on how it affects and benefits individual customers and not just a whole assumed audience.
Coming in dialogue with experts in the field and adding their affirmation to the brand can also be a good save when designing your brand.
Thus, it is obvious that the lines around branding, advertising, and public relations are more blurred than ever. Although we don’t ignore or neglect the relevance of the “brand” as it is the ultimate face of all, advertising and public relations can prompt consumer behavior.
The Bottom Line
A good brand should be thoroughly researched and experimental; it cannot depend on risky assumptions like “brand loyalty” and “less is more”. These are practices evolving through the increase in the online presence of multiple brands (across multiple marketplaces like online shopping websites).
Ethical and accessible brands can get more clicks than notions of rigid conventions. Keeping the mistakes mentioned above in mind can help you enhance your brand image regardless of whether you have just started building it or are looking to keep an old idea afloat in this ever-changing world.
By Ajani Jones, a freelance writer and digital marketing consultant.