Branding is a word that gets thrown around commonly in marketing discussions. Sure, you know you want to create an identity that your audience immediately associates with you, but do you know how to do it? How can you create a brand that consumers actually marry to for life? What follows is a list of 7 branding mistakes companies make that hold them back from creating memorable, lasting brands.
- Being a Me Too Brand- Just because you offer the same basic services as your competition doesn’t mean you should create the same brand as them. You can create a unique brand even if your product isn’t all that unique. Think about it—McDonalds and Burger King sell essentially the same products, but they have completely different brands. Burger King is all about flame broiled and having it your way. McDonalds has the familiar arches and the “I’m loving it” campaign. Consumers see them as the creators of fast food. It’s two completely different brand images, but both have been successful in the same field.
- Not Understanding Your Audience- You can’t please everybody. Too many companies try to target the world when they should just be targeting a tiny niche. You need to identify who your true target audience is. By getting to know them, you can create a brand that they can connect with. In the end, this is far more profitable than trying to be all things to all people.
- Not Knowing Your Strengths- Successful brands always play up their strengths. Dominos was successful because they could deliver your pizza in 30 minutes. FedEx became known as the company that could get your packages to you overnight. Figure out the strength of your company, and build your brand around that.
- Failure to Commit to Branding- Branding is more than just images on a piece of direct mail. It’s your company’s identity. It should be reflected in everything you do. This includes everything from your product packaging to your social networking profiles. If you want to create a truly memorable brand, you have to commit to it fully. If you fail to do so, your image will be inconsistent and your branding efforts will fail. Consistency is something consumers can connect with.
- Ignoring Reputation Management- If you want your brand to be healthy, you need to monitor what others are saying about it. That’s why I recommend regularly doing ego searches. By searching for yourself in the major search engines, you can see what comes up in the results. Remember, these search results are the same things your potential customers will be seeing, so you need to monitor them to ensure your reputation isn’t damaged. Address any potential reputation issues to keep your image clean.
- Jumping Ship Too Early- A successful brand isn’t built over night. It takes years to create a brand that consumers connect with. Just because you aren’t seeing any results after a few short months doesn’t mean you should abandon ship. You have to commit fully to branding for it to work.
- Refusing to Ever Jump Ship- On the flipside of the coin, you also need to learn how to read the writing on the wall. Sometimes, your branding strategy simply won’t catch on. Don’t stick with a brand that doesn’t work out of obligation. Instead, take the time to rebuild it into something that works for you. Always be testing!