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5 Stupid Branding Mistakes


When you think about great branding, Coca Cola’s distinctive red and white lettering, Nike’s swoosh and Adidas’s three stripes likely come to mind.


Unfortunately, if you’re in the process of trying to build a brand for yourself, you probably also know that this is far easier said than done. Here are some common ways companies get brand-building wrong:


1. Not understanding what your brand is

Your brand is how your consumers view you. You can influence this through your design, language, and behaviour, but at the end of the day, you can’t control the underlying essence of your brand.

Your brand is everything people consider when choosing whether to use your products or hire the services of your company.


2. Not having a clear brand message

To successfully influence how people perceive your brand, you need to articulate a crystal-clear message that summarises your brand and what it stands for. This message is the value you promise to deliver to your consumers – the first thought you want your customers to have when your brand is mentioned or seen.

Problems arise when that message isn’t clear. Change your message and you dilute its value. You lose people’s trust and make it more difficult for people to believe in your brand and have confidence in what you stand for.


3. Forgetting to establish defined brand guidelines

In order to maintain your brand’s identity and ensure it’s carried consistently across all channels, you need to create a set of strict brand guidelines for:

  • Logo (all acceptable logo variations)
  • Brand colours
  • Tag lines
  • Fonts and typography
  • The “voice” used in your branded materials
  • Imagery

Clearly, this list isn’t comprehensive. Without them, your branding efforts will lack the consistency and direction needed for success.


4. Not maintaining a company culture that’s in line with your brand

A brand starts from within. If you want to ensure the outside world sees your brand as you want them to see it, you need to make sure your brand’s values are reflected internally too. Turn your staff into brand advocates and you’ll have a key ingredient in the recipe for branding success.


5. ‘Cheating’ on your brand guidelines.

So you’ve sat down, crafted your brand guidelines and began implementing them across all channels. However, keep in mind, every time you deviate from your stated brand guidelines, you dilute their power by some small amount.  By doing so, you’re essentially introducing a new brand image to your customers, diminishing the strength of the association they’d have to a more unified branding campaign.


Before we wrap things up, here’s one final take-away: understand that branding is not a one-time exercise that happens when you launch a new business. It’s a continuous effort that penetrates everything you do at and for your company.


The most successful brands continuously strive for growth. They listen to their audience, evolve with new technology, and never stop spreading their message.


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