Word on the ‘Marketing’ street has it that your branding starts where your marketing ends. Not quite. That’ll be limiting your brand to the visual aspects/marketing assets of your small business. Plus, that’s not telling the full story. In fact, the central role your branding plays in determining how your business is perceived can only mean one thing—that branding should be the CORE of your marketing strategy.
The importance of fully appreciating your brand identity (everything visual & non-visual about your brand) cannot be overestimated as a brand owner. The best entrepreneurs know this. A strong brand identity is often a product of clear-cut, strategic decisions. Meaning, you can’t afford to leave branding to chance!
Sadly, some business owners erroneously think that their business’s brand identity consists only of the business card and logo. Wrong. While the name of the business and its logo are essential ambassadors for any brand, both must be markedly distinct and pungent—punchy enough to leave a visual impression on your brand audience. A successful brand, however, is soooo much more than its name and logo.
It’s the total of your customers’ and potential customers’ interactions with you. A strong brand conveys what your business does and how it does it. A strong brand instills confidence and credibility in your prospects and consumers. And unless you get your branding decisions spot on when starting your business, developing your brand strategy even in continuity, you’ll soon find that lack of a well-crafted brand identity hampers your potential for expansion.
This post spotlights 5 instantly identifiable signs of a ‘branding gone wrong’. Or worse—branding hoaxes that trigger red flags for customers who’re looking to do business with not just any brand, but one they CAN TRUST.
Ever seen some logos and they made you feel blehhh?
Barrels of ink have been spilled on how your brand is much more than just a logo; it is every single interaction your consumer has with your company and should be carried throughout their whole experience. However, if you’re gonna present a visual identity that is the first point of entry into your brand, you need to wow them while at it.
It’s very common to see business owners think they can get by with a logo bought on platforms like Fiverr, Upwork & co. Well, here’s our two cents on that: it’s not the case that they’re not fantastic graphic designers on platforms like that. There are. But every so often, there is a visual disconnect between their stunning design abilities and the inch-perfect representation of your brand’s persona. It’s the construction equivalent of building without an architect!
Developing a logo without your brand guide/plan is such a disservice to your business.
Purchasing stock pictures for your business’s website is one of the most common branding errors. Hundreds of other websites often use such images, and they become the typical visual cliché rather than acting as visual assistance to the message the company is attempting to communicate.
The stock pictures may potentially jeopardize the trust that the company is attempting to build with its customers. For instance, we’ve likely encountered pretentious photos of nerdy workers staged in a boardroom setting when lurking on websites of most digital Marketing Websites (Not a jibe at anyone, but if the shoe fits, then wear it cinderella!)
If your branding image is as important to them as the quality of your product/service, then you should employ a professional photographer who can provide a more honest and imaginative picture of your business’s brand. It may also be opportune to name-drop our sister brands Sprout Connectors owned by our Founders, Lisa & Deevo. They specialize in capturing awesome visuals/photos that’re a crowning encapsulation of your brand’s personality.
You lack a Brand Voice
We won’t be speaking amiss if we said your brand voice is an unmistakable, tailored tenor of communication towards your target audience, and it’ll be a blunder of seismic proportions not to get your brand voice spot on. It’s what sparks the message retention in your words to make sure it resonates with them, and they ACT.
Your brand voice gives an inkling of where your brand’s personality is headed. It elicits emotions and also affects how the audience perceives your brand. The brand’s voice represents everything about your brand, from the words to the personality. The language used by your brand must be consistent across all channels. It doesn’t matter whether it’s digital media, your website, social media, or printed marketing materials. Consistency is essential, and when it is not developed appropriately, brands flop.
Slackin’ on Your Social Media
It’s Social Media, in an increasingly social age. People are hooked on their phones, ‘all caught up’ (Insta pun definitely intended) in social media activity across channels, almost all day. So, you know you’re missing a huge piece of the pie if your business lacks social media presence. Social media is a massive platform for promoting your business, and — like the best things in life — it’s free.
The barriers for entry are low and it begins with simply carving out a kick-ass Social Media strategy that’ll grow your brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other social media platform. If you storytell your brand, using your social media (tailored to your target demographic,) they can find you more easily.
A brand strategy wherein the only area of consistency lies its inconsistency, (‘consistent inconsistency’—repeat that 5 times. Hurriedly) can only dash your hopes of having any brand recall, which means you don’t spring to mind anytime your line of business pops up in the conversation.
Take for instance the case of a poorly written article. You’re likely to distrust its facts due to the slew of typographical errors, run-on sentences, missing headers, and poor, inconsistent tone. Worse, that website may perhaps be avoided altogether. Now, imagine if this website had offered to create material for you. Pass or pay? We’ll bet our mortgage you’re most likely to pass.
And why not? How can you assist someone else to manage a part of their business if you can’t even manage your own? Having a shaky brand is a lot like that. A confused brand identity, message, and visual components can scare away potential consumers. To deal with a business with an inconsistent brand is a capital NO.
WikiFact: Businesses on a hunt for Angel investors/venture capitalists/bank loans to fund their operations are likely to have the investing party carefully examine their visual marketing assets (and overall brand identity) to see if they understand the importance of strong visual design and branding.
It’s often a strong indicator of whether they’re better served to bet on your business, splashing their cash on travel, adventure, and a few luxuries that are not worth the price tag. If you’re having problems funneling down to your niche, nailing your product/service offerings, or locating your ilk of customers to ramp up that bottom line—or you’re in dire need of a re-brand, you probably need a professional.
Using a complimentary brand audit that oozes strategy and practicable steps for execution, we’ll help set you on a path to discovery that’ll benefit your brand and your bottom line. And if your brand’s drowned in the ocean of digital noise, we’ll chip in with a timely CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) to help revive it, getting you up and running. : )