5 branding mistakes your small business should avoid
A brand is not just a logo, it’s something more.
A brand is how people think and feel about a business, so getting yours right is critical.
It’s not just large companies that have brands – every business has a brand, whether they have worked on it or not.
A solid, recognisable brand can make the difference between success and failure for a fledgling company, and very quickly. Branding, when developed with a planned strategy in mind, helps to build trust with customers, develops loyalty and helps enormously towards spreading the word of a new, up-and-coming business.
If you want your small business to be a success, read on to discover these five common branding mistakes.
Not deciding who you are before designing your brand
A brand is to a company what a reputation is to a person. It should represent you when you’re not in the room. It should be how people remember you, and why they want to do business with you again.
Before designing a brand, it’s important to know exactly what your business represents. Sit down and talk about why you do what you do, rather than the end product. No-one cares if you make t-shirts, but if you make t-shirts for teenagers who suffer from eating disorders, then you have an emotional connection with people.
Your branding needs to reflect what you do. It is the first impression that counts and you don’t get another chance. If you want your business to be taken seriously, then a cartoon cat as a logo isn’t going to work.
Once you decide who you are and why you do what you do, then you’ll have a solid foundation to build a brand upon.
Trying to do it all yourself
It’s undoubtedly tough starting a small business, and for any entrepreneur, a time will come when decisions have to be made regarding budget. Getting things done seems to take priority over getting things polished and this often leads to doing things yourself, rather than pay a professional who is qualified for the job.
Branding seems to be one of the biggest victims when it comes to DIY.
Just because you can make a logo in powerpoint or photoshop, doesn’t mean you should!
Customers will instinctively know the difference between professional and amateur when it comes to design, and although you may be creative, if you’re not a graphic designer, this will be very obvious right upfront.
Invest in a professional, and yes, it is an investment.
Your brand is what will sell your product more than anything else.
And don’t go cheap either – when it comes to design you get what you pay for. If you think good design is expensive, you should see the cost of bad design.
Not establishing design guidelines
Brand consistency is essential in business, otherwise there’s no point.
When creating a brand identity, established design guidelines must be founded and adhered to. This must be carried through to everything associated with your business including: business cards, websites, campaigns, letterhead, envelopes, invoices, signage, banners… basically anything and everything related to your brand.
The exact same colour palettes need to be used, along with fonts, layouts and typography. When any of these show inconsistencies, customers lose sight of the message you are trying to portray, along with trust in your brand.
Not being different or standing out from the crowd
When it comes to branding, ultimately being unique will be the key to your success.
Many small businesses look to rival, successful or inspirational brands and try to copy them. And it makes sense on the surface; if it worked for them, it can work for you too, right?
This is absolutely the wrong way to approach branding, as imitating someone defeats the purpose of branding entirely. If you look like a competitor, then no-one will remember your name, only theirs.
Standing out from the crowd without being too different is difficult, but not impossible. Find your own unique selling point and focus on that. Stay true to yourself and your image and don’t be tempted by passing trends, as they will date your brand and in a few years you’ll have to do it all over again.
Not re-branding when needed
Ok, let’s say you’re not a new start-up, but have been in the industry for a while and you’ve suddenly realised you’re guilty of everything on this list. It’s not too late to re-brand.
There’s nothing wrong with re-branding, but the trick is, if you’re going to do it, now is your opportunity to get it right.
If you do have an established brand but feel it’s looking dated, let your customers know what’s coming. They won’t care that you are getting a new logo or colour scheme – as long as they know about it. Changing everything without telling anyone means you’re basically starting again at square one.
And when it comes to customers, don’t be afraid to ignore those who are not your target audience. If you make clothes for teenagers, don’t worry about how your brand will look to adults. They are not the ones wearing your designs. Trying to appeal to them will get you nowhere. Focus in on your client base for maximum effectiveness.
How we can help with branding
In today’s digital world, branding is the biggest weapon a business can wield. It is essential in not only making that first impression, but in building a reputation customers know and want to return to.
We work with some of the biggest names in the business, and can help with brand imagery.
Our unique, hands-on approach gives small designers the personal touch that they would usually only get with local suppliers, but with our large international network that delivers across the complexities of a global supply chain, we can offer much more.
Contact us today if you would like to know more about how we can help your business when it comes to building a successful brand.