I can’t tell you enough about how important branding is for your business.
It shares your story through look, feel and sound. It’s about making your target audience feel a certain way about your business and helping them remember who you are.
Think back to when you were a child. Are there experiences you remember?
And when you think about them, does it create a warm and happy feeling in you?
Branding is the same. Imagine all the beautiful memories with your family. The time shared and experiences you’ve had, instead of the stuff you got. These memories are how you want people to feel and remember your business through its branding.
Branding should remain consistent throughout all your touchpoints like social media, emails and communications. Through consistency, your target audience builds trust and connects with you always.
However, when starting the process of branding, there are mistakes I’ve seen many businesses make.
When you’re first branding, you’ll feel like a kid with a new toy. You wanna jump to the end so you can play with your shiny new thing. It’s easy to rush the process, but you can make mistakes along the way in doing so.
I want to share with you the most common ones to avoid, so you can get your branding right from the start.
…and then have something even shinier to fall in love with and show off to the world.
1. Rushing the process
Here’s the thing my friend, branding takes time. And an excellent brand that’s easily identified and unique to you isn’t created overnight.
You’ve created your business for a reason and purpose, so this stage is one you shouldn’t do quickly. By rushing your branding, you’ll skip critical steps and then miss out on the benefits of a strong brand. Like losing the opportunity to genuinely connect with your target audience and establish a strong brand identity.
When branding, there’s lots of planning and organising needed to create the overall look and feel of your brand.
Yes, it takes groundwork. The biggest mistake I see business owners making is avoiding this stage because it’s extensive.
But here’s the thing, extensive planning and deep-diving into you and your business means setting up your branding. So it screams you and connects with the right people.
Now before you run away, guess what? Branding and the overall design process is a collaborative one, so you’re not on your own.
I wouldn’t do that to you.
This collaboration means the more you put in, the better your graphic designer will create a brand you love.
So you’ll have a long-lasting and strong brand for years to come.
2. Logo DIY-ing
If you could see me now, I’m squirming thinking about logo DIY-ing because I don’t want you to make this mistake. Pleeeease consider hiring a professional.
Your logo is one of the main areas identifiable to your brand. If you DIY from the get-go, your brand will look generic and it won’t stand out. Plus, you’ll risk having a logo that doesn’t reflect you, your brand and your vision.
Designing it yourself or using an online generator because it’s cheaper is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when branding your business.
It may seem like an excellent way to save money early on. But here’s what you’ll discover down the track. You won’t be equipped with the correct file formats and colours needed for print and web. And when you need to refresh your logo with a graphic designer, you’ll spend more money in the end to update it.
Plus, logo design is probably something you’ve never done before. If you haven’t got the correct tools or skills, you’ll risk wasting your time and energy, and create unwanted stress for yourself.
So it’s always best to get a graphic designer who’s experienced in designing logos (Hey, there, I’m Kat.) so you can get back to doing what you do best.
Invest in something that lasts and gives your brand what it deserves from the start.
3. Following Trends
It may seem like a good idea to follow and align to something that’s ‘in’ because, at the time, your brand will get noticed.
But guess what?
Trends come and go, your business won’t. You risk your brand losing its meaning and becoming yesterday’s news once the trend isn’t famous anymore.
Branding is a long term commitment. And like I mentioned above with your logo, if your branding isn’t relevant anymore, you’ll need to rebrand, which means taking more time, money and effort.
If you’re using the same trend as everyone else, all you’re going to do is blend in. Instead of attracting the attention your brand deserves. You want your brand to be relevant, stylish (not following a current trend) and stand out but in a long-lasting way.
4. Not maintaining brand consistency
The above two points lead me to brand consistency.
Your branding reflects you, so changing it frequently means you’ll lose brand integrity and confuse people.
Colours, fonts, images and illustrations all need to be consistent to help people recognise and remember you. It’s important you stick with the same set of colours and fonts, and use the same style of imagery instead of chopping and changing.
To help maintain consistency, I recommend creating a brand style guide.
A brand style guide is a document your graphic designer creates. It’s a guide for your branding, outlining the precise colours, fonts and imagery to use from the beginning. So you avoid confusing your target audience and help build their trust.
Remember earlier when I said brands are recognisable?
The most crucial part of brand consistency is brand recognition. Branding creates an identity which means you want immediate recognition of your brand from your target audience. Brand identity builds loyalty and confidence from your target audience.
A constantly changing brand means your target audience will lose trust in your brand.
Consistency is key.
5. Looking at your competitors for inspiration
I’m not saying don’t conduct market research or a competitor analysis, because these are crucial research documents for a business owner.
I’m telling you to research so you know what others are doing but pleeeease don’t copy.
You can look at your competitors to get inspiration, but use the insight so your branding is different.
How will you be unique and connect with your target audience if you blend in?
The simple answer is you won’t.
Copying means you’re not being authentic with yourself. And authenticity is the key to aligning with your brand and target audience.
Your brand needs to be genuine.
Otherwise, you’ll create an untrustworthy and impure brand which can damage your brand reputation.
How to avoid the above mistakes
The best way to avoid the above is to invest time into your branding from the beginning.
Although the branding process may feel a little overwhelming, I want you to take your branding process seriously.
Take the time to invest in your branding, so it aligns with your purpose, vision and you.
Investing in the branding process upfront with a designer means you’ll have a brand that fits perfectly with you and truly reflects your business.