Your brand can be the key to success in your business, but if you’re not doing it right, it can also be one of the biggest obstacles in your path. Branding mistakes are easy to make, and often they’re hard to spot right away. Over time, though, they can start to detract from your overall business—and even sink it if you don’t correct the blunders as soon as possible. If you want to make sure your brand exudes the WOW! factor, check out these common branding pitfalls to avoid.
Being too vague about your specialty
Your brand is what differentiates you from your competitors. If you offer accounting services and are vague about whether you provide CPA or non-CPA accounting, prospects will be lost as to who you are and why they should choose your firm. Be clear about what sets you apart, so that people can immediately see how they benefit from working with you. This will help attract ideal clients instead of wasting time marketing to prospects who aren’t a good fit. Additionally, if someone asks for information about your services and you don’t know exactly what you do (because it’s too broad), then an interested party might look elsewhere. Specializing in everything makes you an expert of nothing.
Having an undefined target audience
Your brand will only ignite success if you can clearly define who your target audience is and how you help them. If you don’t know who it is, then try to figure it out. Who are your favorite past clients? What type of client is most profitable for you? Make a list and see if you find any parallels. The clearer you are about your ideal customer, the easier marketing and referrals become. Knowing exactly what type of customer works best for your business allows you to reach that audience more effectively, so you can attract more ideal leads than ever before.
Having an unclear or confusing message
Consumers are busy, so if your brand doesn’t clearly communicate what you do and why you do it, you won’t connect with many prospects. It’s important to put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes when crafting your messaging; if they can’t understand what you do or quickly determine how they might benefit from using your product or service, chances are they won’t engage with you. This is an especially tough hurdle for businesses that serve very technical niches. If you sell primarily to other businesses—or operate in a highly specialized field—it can be helpful to involve members of your target audience (through casual conversations, focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc.) and take note of how they describe their challenges and needs. Having this valuable information helps you articulate everything you need to.
Not being true to yourself
One cardinal rule of branding is that you must be true to yourself. Many business owners focus on creating a brand that looks right and says the right things, but they forget about themselves. A Smart brand won’t come from finding out what everyone else wants, it will come from understanding who you are and what you want. Only then can you create something that makes sense for yourself, your business, and your audience. Do you have a wicked sense of humor that clients love? Infuse that wit into your brand voice. Are you friendly and ultra approachable? Then your business voice should be, too.
Having a boring or outdated visual identity
A brand’s visual identity is composed of images, colors, fonts, and logos. A successful brand will maintain its distinctive look as it evolves over time. If your company logo looks like DIY project, it’s probably time for an update. Are the images on your website captivating? Do the colors in your visual brand exude the vibe of your tech startup? Are the fonts legible, yet have a personality that matches your big idea? When was the last time you asked yourself these questions? Sometimes we get so comfortable with our current brand that we forget to evolve it as our business shifts, technology advances, or markets change. Take a step back from your existing design and evaluate whether your visual identity is fresh or needs some amping up.
We often say “consistency is key” in graphic design and branding, but it’s easy to let brand colors, logos and styles slip into inconsistency. This occurs when companies use different color schemes on different mediums or switch up their logos for variety’s sake. However, every piece of your visual brand should be consistent with one another in order for your brand identity to remain strong and clear. You can’t build trust with prospects without brand consistency.
When it comes to branding your business, there’s no such thing as perfection. Instead, focus on making improvements and iterating. As you gain experience, you’ll learn what works for your brand and what doesn’t. And over time, you’ll develop a powerful brand that sets you apart from competitors and makes an impact on consumers. In other words, keep these common pitfalls in mind so that when you make them yourself, they’re easy to recognize and fix.
If you are worried that your brand is outdated and not working as hard for you as it should, are struggling to attract ideal clients who value your expertise and pay you what you’re worth, or are uncertain about your brand and need clarity on your best opportunities, schedule a quick call with Gen to learn more about our 2-step branding process.