5 most common branding mistakes small business owners make
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
When you run a small business, you get to do everything the way you want. Even though it's wonderful to have the luxury of complete customization, it does come with a drawback: the amount of work that comes with that freedom.
Things like marketing are solely your responsibility, and it can be difficult to juggle branding with everything else you have on the docket. Branding has the power to help you succeed, so it's worth putting that item at the top of the agenda. The right brand runs itself — just make sure you've created the right brand.
When you're a small business owner, you need to be able to do a lot of things in a short period of time. This can sometimes lead to brand inconsistency.
Do your business cards have a different font from your pamphlets? What about your Facebook banner? Instead of settling on what can work in the moment, develop a single image. One font, one color scheme, and one tagline. Make sure you're using the same ones every time you have a branding opportunity.
2. Failing to establish a voice
A brand is more than just a series of images. Brands talk, and that conversation is what will help your customers build an attachment to your brand.
Every post you make on social media, and even the wording you select for your advertisements, is an opportunity to give your brand a voice. Rather than settling for generic copy, let your brand set the tone. These are the details your customers may not even know they're looking for.
3. Forgetting what you're up against
When shaping your own brand, one of the best places to start is by observing the branding of your competitors. Yours needs to be at least as formidable as theirs.
They likely have a similar target audience, and they've spent some time learning to cater to them. Watch the things they do. You can take a hint or two from the way they structure and employ their branding techniques. Observation will give you the insight you need to become more competitive.
4. Not tethering your brand to your customers
You can have a perfect, strong brand with a loud voice. You can saturate every corner of the market with that brand, but it will all be wasted if your brand doesn't actually speak to your customers — namely by addressing their lifestyle and their needs.
Market research and branding go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. Your brand needs to be what your customers are looking for. It has to solve their problems and speak to them in the way they want to be spoken to.
5. Thinking too short term
The most successful brands are designed to evolve over time. You want an ironclad brand, but that brand still needs to offer you some wiggle room.
Every day, innovations change the things that customers want. You need to be willing to innovate as fast as everyone else. Sometimes, this means retooling your brand. You need to be able to slowly implement small changes as your target market shifts. The best brand improvements are slow and subtle, and are made to enhance the lives of your customers.
Being able to create your own brand is a gift. You're being given an opportunity to make your mark on the world. While you should take it seriously, you should also enjoy the process of creating your brand.
Never settle for "good enough" when you can have something great.
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