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The 5 Most Common Mistakes We See When Businesses Attempt to Brand Themselves

The process of developing a brand requires an extensive amount of commitment and planning. Individuals who are involved in the brand development or rebranding process are required to identify brand personality, positioning, goals, target markets and touchpoints, just to name a few. Due to the sheer number of elements that need to be addressed, a business can mistakenly miss critical areas.

Here are the five most common branding mistakes that every company should avoid.

Do Not Copy Competitors

To assess your brand’s initiatives and shortfalls, you should continuously make efforts to know what your competitors are doing. Through occasionally observing the practices of your competition you can be inspired and motivated to improve your brand’s strategies and take advantage of opportunities. By learning about how the market has responded to your competitors’ efforts, you can alter your strategies to steer your brand into a prosperous future. However, it is not appropriate to simply copy what they have done or mimic it. #saynotome2brand Not only will this decrease the value of your brand in the minds of consumers, but it can also affect your unique selling proposition to the market. If you aren’t seen as different in the market, your brand will lose business to other competitors who do stand out.

Do Not Underestimate Consistency

All internal and external marketing material should read similarly, with no room for misinterpretation or confusion. Consistency can become a valuable tool in creating a dynamic brand. Language, tone, and style should all be consistent, in every aspect of the brand, as this helps form brand personality and enables customers to separate your brand from your competitors. So, if it can’t keep the same across style on all your platforms its simply not going to have the desired impact. If your struggling in this area look at creating a Brand Book / Styleguide for your company, it’s the first step in brand development in my opinion.

Do Not Forget Your Brand’s Promise

Not to get confused with a value proposition, identifying a brand’s promise is a critical step in brand development. Some experts even believe a promise is more important than a value proposition. A promise is how the brand seeks to change the lives of their consumers; for example, world-famous sportswear brand, Nike promise “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” From this example, a promise should be an extra statement that identifies what your brand is about, your purpose and benefit consumers. A promise should be used as a guide to identify approaches and messages delivered at all brand touchpoints.

Some brands focus on keeping up with their competitors or seek to make an easy short-term impact on the market with viral advertising and forget how important identifying a brand promise and upholding that promise through all touchpoints is. Every contact point with a brand is a new experience for a customer, and it’s essential that a brand communicates and delivers on its promise, every time. When developing a brand promise make sure it is unique, consistent and deliverable.

And don’t forget to ask… “Who do we want to be when we grow up?”

Do Not Forget Who Your Audience Is

As appealing as it sounds to target everyone, realistically by not identifying your ideal customer through niching or segmentation, you are ultimately ensuring your brand’s downfall. Due to multiple industries being highly competitive, hundreds of brands spend big on advertising and content curation. By so many brands fighting for the attention of consumers, messages are everywhere and constantly evident in the lives of consumers. In order to cope with the sheer number of marketing messages, individuals choose to pay little attention to those messages that are not relevant to them. To break through the noise, you should identify your ideal target market to produce relevant and useful content that is received favourably by the intended audience.

Additionally, while a brand’s target audience can evolve or a company can look at a new segment to penetrate, you must never forget who your core audience is. If you fail to tailor your messages, mediums and visuals to your target market, your brand’s existence within the marketplace can cease to impact.

Do Not Think of a Brand as a Short-Term Goal

Many businesses often presume the branding process is a once-off activity, however they are wrong to think this as in order to stay relevant a brand needs to evolve. We often hear Michelle say “Evolve or Die People” when explaining businesses demise stories. A brand cannot stay the same over an extended period and hope to still appeal to their target market. With the rise of e-commerce platforms and easier access to overseas markets, competition continues to get fiercer and fiercer. It is vital that brands regularly review their branding strategies in order to stay relevant and survive within the marketplace. If you don’t review your brand as a whole, consumers are likely to revert to purchasing products or services from your competitors, leaving you in the dust. In turn, when developing a brand make sure you have a consistent and effective plan that is flexible towards market and demand changes.

You as a company should avoid these branding mistakes during every stage of brand conceptualisation and its maturity. A great way to do this is add a “Yearly Brand Audit” to your management activities. Every branding strategy should be strong enough to easily deflect any overlooked mistakes, for the present and the future. To help you reinforce your brand and prevent or reduce the effect of these mistakes, consult with our marketing consultants at BRANDiT for a full-scope brand audit to assess where your brand is and where you want to go.