5 Common Branding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Mistake 1: The brand reflects you not your business

I can see how people would be easily confused with this one. You hear all the time people saying your brand should reflect ‘you’. However, in this case ‘you’ refers to your business rather than ‘you’ as an individual.

Remember your brand should primarily reflect your business and what your business stands for, because that’s what is most likely to appeal to your target audience.

For example, you personally might love bright orange and yellow colours, but if your business is planning weddings it doesn't really fit your niche or attract your ideal audience. You’d be better off going for more neutral or pastel colours.Or you might be really into everything pink and feminine, but if your business niche is a family photography it’s going to put a lot of people off. You’d want something more professional and gender neutral. See how it makes a difference?


Tips on how to avoid it:

Think about who your target audience is. Is your business aimed at men, women or both? What age would your ideal customer be? What interests would they have?What do you want your business to represent? Do you want to come across as professional, friendly, bold, feminine?What colours and design elements would best reflect this? What would most likely appeal to the audience you’ve defined?What branding style are your competitors using? You don’t want to look too far into this as you still want your brand to be unique, but it’s useful to bare in mind.

Mistake 2: Inconsistent design

Inconsistent design has to be the most common mistake I see. It’s honestly one of my pet peeves because it’s so important to keep your design elements consistent throughout all your online platforms. You will really struggle to build a name for yourself if your branding is all over the place. People just won’t remember your business.

Think about all the big iconic brands. Imagine if Coca-Cola used different coloured fonts and different shades of red throughout their advertisements. Not only would it look unprofessional, it wouldn’t have anywhere near the impact on people it does today.Their brand has become so recognisable, people queue for hours to get a photo next to the Coca-Cola bus when it goes on tour. People could still recognise the logo even if only one letter was shown. That’s how powerful good branding can be. Now let's talk about some ways to avoid inconsistent design.


Tips on how to avoid it:

Use the same profile picture, cover picture, name, bio and social media handles across all your social media platforms. This way it’s easy for people to find and recognise you.Pick a colour scheme and stick to it. Using too many colours can look distracting and messy. Narrow your choices and stick to a set palette of shades.Don’t use any more than two or three logo variations. Any more than this and you start to loose the brand aesthetic.The same applies to fonts. Stick to three fonts, any more is unnecessary.Choose an image and graphic style and stick to it. It’s just as important to make sure your images and graphics are cohesive with your branding too.Create a style guide as an overview of your brand style. This way you’ve always got it to refer back too and it helps keep everything in check. 

Mistake 3: Rebranding too often

Rebranding too often is a similar to mistake 2, in the sense that if you’re constantly rebranding, your not giving it chance to become consistent. This also means you’re not giving people the chance to remember you. This can lead to problems building trust with your audience. If your business style changes too often it will come across as unsettled and unreliable.

Again, think about the big iconic brands. Most of them have kept their logos the same for years and years because that's what they are known as. Take Apple for example, their logo has been the same apple symbol with the bite taken out, since 1976! Sure, the colours have evolved over the years but the foundation of the design has remained the same.


Tips on how to avoid it:

Try to refrain from buying a cheap pre-made logo or theme and then constantly upgrading it to a new one.If you're designing your own brand, resist the temptation to keep making amendments and improving it. I know this can be difficult if you’re a perfectionist but you have to learn to leave it alone.Even better, just hire a trusted designer to do create the perfect brand for you, and stick with it!

Mistake 4: Unprofessional Design

If you don’t know much about graphic design and branding, do yourself a favour and don’t try and DIY it! It most likely won’t look professional as there are a lot of rules and principles of design that you won’t have thought of. You don’t want your business to look novice or like you didn’t care enough to invest the money on a proper designer.

Bad branding can actually have a negative effect on your business so it makes more sense to just bite the bullet and invest the first time.


Tips on how to avoid it:

If you’re on a tight budget then try a pre-made branding package, but go for one that reflects your brand and you won’t change your mind about.Or even better yet, just hire a designer!

Mistake 5: Being too similar to other people

Looking up to other people in your niche isn’t a bad thing, but be careful you're not starting to copy. You want your brand to be unique and original as this is what makes you stand out from your competitors. That’s also what gives you the winning edge and makes your customers drawn to you.

Having a very similar brand style to other businesses can also tend to look like you following in someone else’s shadow, which you want to avoid. You want to give the impression you’re good at what you do and owning your niche!


Tips on how to avoid it:

Brainstorm what makes you different from your competitors and focus on how can you represent this in your branding.Try and get creative with unique designs to represent your business.Avoid using graphics, colour palettes and website layouts that are too similar to other businesses.

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