Many business owners I meet think that branding is about a logo and a color scheme.
And lemme tell ya they couldn't be more wrong!
A brand is the soul of a business.
It creates a memorable impression on your customers but it also lets them know what they can expect from your business.
The goal of your branding should be to make your customers feel a part of something bigger than themselves when they engaged with your company, whether they are buying a product or service or not.
So yes, logos and color schemes are important but so is your overall brand strategy. And there are tons of places to weave your branding in! Think marketing material, advertising, customer service, and promotional merchandise. And don't forget reputation; you need to live up to your brand promises too!
Branding can be hard to get right (and sometimes involves lots of trial and error - trust me!) so today I want to share 5 of the most common branding mistakes I see businesses making - and how to avoid them!
Branding Mistake #1 Not having a branding plan
The worst plan really is no plan at all!
Your brand plan is just as important as your business plan, and you wouldn't start a business without a plan right?! It would be a massive waste of time: like trying to build a brand without a plan.
FIX: Start with your vision: all the ideas about what you want your brand to represent - and build out from there.
Nowadays, the brand starts with the customer. It starts by identifying a need, then creating a product and service that satisfies that need.
Branding Mistake #2 Trying to please everyone/too vague
I've heard many boutique owners say their target market is "anyone interested in my products." Some say they target busy professionals, high-end shoppers, or stay-at-home moms. All these targets are way too general!
When you try to please everyone with your branding you end up with a watered-down brand identity that no-one is going to be interested in. Why? Because it's not resonating with your target market.
FIX: Know your target market
You need to start by thinking about your ideal customer in detail. You need to know everything about them so that you can hone in on what will appeal to them.
Branding Mistake #3 No brand voice / lacks personality
I've said it before and I'll say it again - your brand needs a personality! And a huge part of that is your brand voice: the way your business communicates with its customers.
FIX: Write down specific guidelines for your brand language (add examples of sentences that are okay for your brand to say and examples of language that your brand will stay away from.) This can also form part of your initial branding plan!
Branding Mistake #4 Overcomplicating graphic design
I love that you are all about the hot pinks, animal prints with a sassy side of bling but...
Your graphic design should appeal to your target market and getting overcomplicated can end up having the opposite effect i.e detracting attention away from your business, service, or product.
FIX: Brand for your ideal customer! Remember that it's about what the ideal customer wants to see (not you!). Your graphics are there to support your brand, not detract attention away from your core messaging.
Branding Mistake #5 Changing your branding too often
Your brand needs a personality, not multiple personalities! Change up your brand identity too often and you're left with an audience who can't identify.
FIX: Be consistent with your branding and messaging. This helps clients build trust in you before they even buy your products. Consistency also ties back to your brand strategy - if you have that in place your goal should be to stick to your brand identity plan.
Getting startedIt's easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to the thought of putting together a brand plan but believe me, it will be worth its weight in gold in the long run.
So start by defining your ideal customer. Once you've clearly established who you are selling to, you'll have a solid foundation to work from.
Good luck and have fun branding your biz!
Angela Froschl is the owner of Hot Mess Consulting and Thongin' It Boutique, as well as the author of Why the Hell am I not Wearing Any Pants?
She and her super sassy team have helped more than 700 e-commerce store owners build their online stores and brands.