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Having a proper branding strategy can be the difference that takes your business to a whole new level of success. Many new companies, and even some established companies, fail due to avoidable branding mistakes. If you are new to the business world or are looking to rebrand your company, read up on the 10 biggest branding mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Consistency is Key

One of the biggest branding mistakes, and easiest to avoid, is having an inconsistent identity. Think about all the big brands out there today like Apple, Gatorade, or Reebok. They all have a solid, simple, and recognizable logo and back it up with successful products. They also use their own consistent colors, fonts, taglines, and packaging. For example, you will never find a Gatorade bottle that doesn’t have an orange lid or doesn’t incorporate their capital G with a lightning bolt logo somewhere on the bottle. The logo you designed should be incorporated into everything you own, including your website, email, business cards, advertisements, etc. Always use the same logo, tagline, font, and color scheme across all of your media and products.

Bad Visuals

The logo you come up with will be the main focus of your brand. People associate companies with their logos all the time. When you see a laptop with a half-eaten apple on it, you know it’s an Apple computer. When you see a red can of soda, you know it’s Coca-Cola. If you have a busy-looking logo (or no logo at all), people will have a bad reaction to your product before they even try it!

Lack of Focus

A big mistake that new companies make is that they try to offer too much. The problem with that is their main product won’t get enough focus, which will hinder the value and quality of that product. Hone in on your core service and create your brand around that. Your customers will be able to recognize you through your ads and begin to trust your product after using it and seeing how great your product is. Let’s go back to those companies we talked about above, Apple really focuses on its phones, Gatorade focuses on its beverages, and Reebok focuses on its shoes. They do have other products out there, but most people will recognize them for their main focused product.

Use the Wrong Name

If you have a great product, but the name of it is too long or uninspired, not many people will buy it. Before Monster energy drinks were named “Monster,” the first rendition was called “Hansen’s Natural Energy Pro.” As you can probably tell, that didn’t go too well for them, even though it was the same product they used when they relaunched as Monster. When thinking of a name, come up with a few options and bring them to a focus group or test them with some friends and family. Never set your heart on one name, just in case you do need to change it down the road.

Using Outdated Marketing Materials

Branding strategies and marketing techniques seem to change every day! If you aren’t on top of the trends, you may fall behind and start to use outdated techniques that don’t work anymore. Some examples of this are that you use old business cards with an outdated website on them, old cluttered email templates that are not user-friendly or using the same old ads that your customers are growing tired of.

Not Having a Clear Target Audience

If you don’t know what audience you want to target, then your branding will reflect that and end up failing. When starting up your brand, you should focus on the global market, your investors, and how your competitors work before you put your product into the public’s hands. Really focus on your true target audience and know how they react to different marketing techniques before you actually release your product to them.

Not Researching Competitors

Use your competitors as a positive tool. They have already established a brand and have gone through failures and successes to get where they are at. If you research your competitors, you can see what mistakes they made along the way so you can avoid them down the road. See where they went wrong in their branding process and make a strategic plan around to emulate their successes.

Quick Expansion

A lot of companies fail because they try to expand too quickly. Just because you make a profit in your first month, doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. You have to make sure your profit margins grow over an extended period of time before you start thinking about expanding. Keep building your brand and the expansion will come naturally!

Poor Budget Planning For Marketing

Don’t skimp out on the marketing budget, especially when you are starting out. How will people find your product if you don’t invest properly in marketing? Create awareness around your brand through paid ads on social media and search engines. You should also do some offline marketing like newspaper, magazine, TV, or radio ads. Although marketing will cost a lot of money at the beginning, you will start to make it back in no time if you market your product properly.

Poor Communication With Your Audience

Not talking to your customers might be the worst thing a company can do. People like companies that listen to them. Having channels like social media pages or online forums is great to have so your audience can communicate with each other and with you. You should also use these channels to be transparent with your audience. If you tell them the truth about any problems you are having in development, your audience will be more than likely sympathetic and remain patient while you get the work done.

Have a clear and concise branding strategy to avoid these mistakes when starting your company. Learn from your mistakes and others’ failures and use them to your advantage to make your brand the best it can be!