5 Branding mistakes you might be making
1. Thinking branding is all about what it looks like.
The logo is not the brand, its just a part of your brand’s expression in a visual form, it’s vital for sure but it’s not what branding means. Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Branding is all of the touchpoints your customers have with your business, every time someone calls the customer service line, every time someone sends and email. That might sound daunting but branding is big and it encompasses a lot. It’s who you are internally in your organisation (even if it’s just you for now) and it’s how your brand is expressed visually on your site, on your business cards.
2. Investing heavily in the design and then making the mistake of not keeping it consistent.
If you’re going to invest in a graphics package trust your designer and work with them to keep everything consistent. Don’t waste your cash and hire a professional designer only to hire someone really cheap 6 months in that dilutes your visuals. Here are some common examples I see a) Introducing too many fonts b) getting an inexperienced designer to make you graphics that undermine the look and feel that you had developed and paid for c) not placing enough importance on consistency in your tone of voice, your words, your graphics.
3. Not thinking about the customer journey (and the relationship that your customers have with your brand).
How are they travelling from A-B? What exactly are the steps they travel through? Map that journey out on a piece of paper. Make that journey a pleasant and easy one. Of course, some may stray from the path but that’s ok but you just want to be aware of what journey your customers might be travelling through. How did they hear about you? Why did they decide to spend money with you? This is especially relevant if you’re in the service industry. eg. If you’re a coach, what’s the first point of contact with you? Do you send a list of questions to fill out? Is that process a pleasant one for your customers or is it just a word document that’s boring and seems like more work? You always want to think about how you can make this process easier, better, more fun of your customers. I think we often forget about the fun part.
4. Trying to fit yourself and your business
into a box.
eg. “7 Steps to 10k” does that sentence look familiar to you? Blueprints and templates need to be adjusted to suit you. Your business and your products are going to look completely different to someone else. You need to ASK, TEST, GET FEEDBACK, REFINE. It’s a messy process and many people will tell you anecdotal stories but that’s just the problem, they’re anecdotal and may not work for you and your specific business. And when the templates and blueprints don’t work for you, you’re likely to beat yourself up and that’s not the way to progress. The way I like to think about it is this: it’s not your job to decide if it’s good, it’s your job to provide the market with a product or service that is important or valuable to your customers.
5. Staying stuck on what to name your business.
Often I see people struggling with whether or not to name their business after themselves, or make up a name, eg. JennySmith.com or FreedomCoaching.com. Staying stuck on making this decision will halt your whole business so I wouldn’t spend more than a day on it, choose something for now and you can change it later. While you probably don’t want to change it frequently, if in 6 months time you want to change it you can. The more important aspect is to know that the name you choose will, over time, absorb the qualities and values you attribute to it. Like a person, your brand will develop it’s personality and characteristics over time. You can’t expect the name to do all of the heavy lifting and represent everything you want it to all by itself. It’s more about the tonal sound and mouth feel of the name than anything else. One more thing to note: When choosing a name spend a day brainstorming everything you can think of, and check to see if your URLs are available. Avoid acronyms eg. IGL (they have no meaning) you’ll also want to keep it fairly simple, say for example you’re a coach and you want to start a coaching practice, but you never know how big or how far your brand may grow. So keep it open, for example instead of “Life Coaching in Melbourne” you might want to go for something more generic as your umbrella brand so you allow yourself room to grow without backing yourself into a corner.
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