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Five Branding Mistakes to Avoid

(updated 2021) 

Branding can be one of the most fun and creative efforts you embark on. It can also be very challenging, especially as your brand matures and may need to diverge from its original path to remain relevant. Either way, here are five mistakes that all business should avoid:

Imagine there's an End to Branding Efforts  
Memories are short. Brands that have staying power work hard to maintain their brand at the forefront of our memories. The thing that everyone loves about sports, and brands that seem to stay on top, is their hustle and evident team spirit. The expertise and precision performance that shines through is evidence of that hard work.  And we admire those who are willing to go the extra mile, to ensure team success. The sports analogy is applicable to almost any other endeavor. Your customers will stick around if you continue to work hard for them.  

”Branding should be thought of as the introduction to your organization as well as a reminder of the sales and marketing objectives of your organization. It conveys what your organization is about, and with each interaction it becomes the internalized billboard for what the stakeholders should expect from your company.”

- Six Basic Rules of Branding

Fail to Embrace Feedback
If feedback indicates there is a perception contrary to your intent, and the source is reputable, accept, apologize, and change the behavior if necessary. There's no sense in arguing or deflecting. Your brand’s perception, communication, and buzz are your responsibility. In addition, you want to appeal to a broad array of individuals in your target market. It doesn't help your cause to diminish an opinion that others in your market may also think, but have not expressed.  

Implementing measures such as press releases, advertisements, and social network profiles that proactively perpetuate the desired brand image, and reactive measures, such as statement issuance, can help to control damage to your brand's image.  These measures cannot resolve all challenges you may face from dissenting opinions.  For the times when control measures are insufficient, taking ownership and listening will let your entire consumer base know that they are important, that their opinion matters, and that you are willing to serve them and their needs.

Fail to Connect with the Target Market
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, truth can be subjective.  If your truth does not seem to connect to your market, the problem may be two fold. It could be your message that is tone deaf, trending towards obsolescence, or slightly ahead of the curve. It could also be that your target market is misaligned and needs to be adjusted. Either way, the issue should be addressed, as your brand will lose credibility pushing a message to a disinterested audience.

Most branding mistakes can be avoided by minimizing your ego and maximizing the customer.
via @finandmrkt (https://bit.ly/5-2-Avoid)

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Fail to be Flexible
In real life nothing ever goes as planned. This is an inevitability that all successful companies will face; and those that survive economic and business cycle turmoil, remain flexible.  They can change, pivot, and adapt their strategic direction, or even their business model to maximize their likelihood of success. In branding, it's important to remember that not only does the business environment change, but people’s taste, desires, and needs also change. If you remain flexible enough to allow for the evolution of your brand through your markets' creative synergies, it may actually help your organization to flourish.

Fail to Quantify Branding Efforts
Numbers are not everything; but monitoring, analyzing, and synthesizing data can help you identify the most value added activities of your organization. It may seem like a daunting task, but it's actually fairly easy, and new tools are developed all of the time to help organizations readily assess the value of their branding efforts. Tools such as GoogleAnalytics and Salesforce Social Listening help to identify your consumer’s likes and dislikes.1,2 They also help you to set alerts and monitor trends, so that you can identify when a methodology or strategic tactic is no longer effective.


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