Terrible branding mistakes you shouldn't make as a small business
It breaks my heart that small businesses don't give branding as much attention as it deserves. These owners are quick to abbreviate themselves as little players in their niche, not necessarily a typical brand. For this category of business owners, they just want to launch their product as quickly as they can, start gathering the dollar wads, and maybe with increasing prosperity, reconsider their branding down the line.
Have a seat and some coffee; it doesn't work this way, pal. As a small business, only your competitors want you to neglect branding. Branding is such a critical component of your business, as it could make or break you in a snap. When done deliciously, branding exponentially grows customer trust, gives you a sparkling distinction in the market, and, yes, gets the loaded bullion vans parked in your garage.
Unfortunately, I have lost sleep over the terrible branding mistakes some small businesses have been making. These mistakes have been fatal, some either causing these businesses massive losses or revenue fall, while others have led to the outright collapse of these businesses.
Would you like to learn about some of these mistakes? Yes, let's go!
Starting your design without defining the brand
I tell you what, many small business owners are guilty of this mistake. Your branding as a business is not what you accidentally arrive after gulping a gallon of beer at the local pub. No, it is a consciously thought out process.
You want to define your values, your objectives, and distinction as a business and artistically weave all this into a unique brand that sets you out from the crowd.
Branding is far more than the artistic effect; it must also tell your story as a brand. You want your brand to dish a first impression with an irresistible fragrance to your audience. You want them to trust you almost instantaneously.
So, it is simple. If you get the branding wrong, your potential customers are jumping through the window. And trust me, you are going to work so hard to get them back.
Therefore, before you start the design, craft a cohesive strategy and clearly defined roadmap. Ensure that the design – from the logo to the graphics to the website design – harmoniously blends with the message you are pushing out as a brand. This choice of branding will also reflect in your other customer support, social media, and general advertising.
So before you put that pen to paper, ensure your creatives are thoroughly thought out and are aligned into one unique design.
Creating a brand design from just your perspective
Listen, I am not going to get into a fight with you over the ownership of your business. We all agree you are the captain steering the ship and screaming the orders. Being your business, it is understandable that you want to create a brand you terribly adore. Yes, you want your individuality to sparklingly reflect in the creative design. No one else's opinion matters, right?
Well, before you throw everyone out of the creative process, I want to ask you, are you going to be the one buying your product? The big answer is no. Certainly, you are going to be selling EXTERNALLY to customers in the market. These customers may have an audience persona that doesn't homogeneously rhyme with your creative direction.
So while striving to splash as much of your personality on the branding design, remember that the major stakeholder is the customer. They must love your branding at the end of the day. If not, only mom and dad are going to buy from you – essentially because only those two love you enough not to tell you your branding sucks!
When creating the brand design, don't "quarantine" yourself in your own creativity. Step out and ask for external opinions about your branding. Go for objectivity over emotional impulses when judging the branding.
Yes, artistically flavor your branding to your taste, but ensure your targeted customers are going to like it as well. One way to measure this is to run a poll or beta test among your targeted audience to get their thoughts on the branding before launching properly.
Not clearly stipulating your brand guidelines
I don't need to remind you that we aren't going to look flashy and youthful forever. We would eventually grow old too, wouldn't we? In the same vein, your brand – typically your website – will grow old and outdated as time passes.
No one is going to jail you if you choose to evolve, giving your branding a spice of the contemporary. This means your style could change along the line.
Yes, styling can change as rampantly as your hairdo. But the problem comes in when your brand begins to lose consistency. When working with designers, each with his distinct pool of creative ideas, it is vital to set out the brand guidelines as informed by your target audience and personal taste.
It is important to sustain that consistency because you want your branding to be strongly correlated across your multiple platforms (social media, outreach, website…), ensuring that your marketing campaigns have one face. This way, you can build on already established customer trust and market reputation, rather than completely overhauling the design and starting on a clean slate in your market.
Your branding guidelines should be unified for both website and printed elements. Ensure you have a defined selection when it comes to icons, logo design files, color palettes, fonts, design layouts, and imagery style.
Focusing all your branding on social media
Still remember Nelly Furtado's evergreen Flames to Dust song? I LOVEEE it, especially the line that says why do all good things come to an end? Alright, I know you want to grab my throat now and call me a pessimist, but every entrepreneur knows the volatility of business in that nothing is assured.
As a brand – especially a small business – no one should fool you into believing the jolly party will last forever. You may have built some amazing branding and consequently, a gigantic audience on social media or any other outsourced platform. But the truth is, it can change in one moment – one really ugly second!
I can't scream it loud enough: build your branding on a core foundation you totally own. Social media is lovely and terribly cheap, with an exponential reach, but it is essentially not yours.
Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey (Twitter) can wake up on the wrong side of the bed one morning and close your account. What more, the algorithms of these social media platforms change too rapidly.
What would you do when you wake up one jolly morning, and after sipping your lovely coffee, you discover that the platform you have painstakingly built across the last years up to 30,000 following has suddenly disappeared? Flood the neighborhood with tears?
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying you should totally shut down your branding efforts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or even Medium. I am trying to emphasize your helplessness, sorry, your lack of control over these platforms.
If you were going to ask me (and if I like you) where you should focus your branding, I would tell you to do so on a self-hosted website.That is yours, your baby no one is sharing with you! This is a much more solid foundation where you control every piece.
In all, these are some terrible branding mistakes you shouldn't be making as a small business if you are serious about sustainable growth and upscaling into a major player in your industry.
At Eula Blue, we build enduring brand allegiance, giving you maximum exposure in the markets that matter. We sparkle with excellence all the way from rebranding to logo design to print design to stationary design. Book a session with us today and watch us create that irresistible brand identity for your business that gets your customer drooling!