When many businesses start out, they focus on their product and acquiring as many customers as possible.

Branding is an afterthought or something to be made up along the way.

However, there are tremendous negative outcomes that become harder to fix the longer you wait before you define your brand strategy.

In this post, we’ll focus on some of the major branding mistakes that new business owners make.

When you’re aware of these avoidable mistakes, you’ll be in a better position to make the right decisions for your brand. Here they are.

Underestimating the importance of branding

Many people think of branding as simply choosing a logo for their business. But branding goes beyond colors, typography, or choosing the right brand name.

It’s all about building trust and leveraging the tools at your disposal to influence public perception of who you are. It encompasses your values, creates emotions in your audience, and differentiates you from your competitors.

Before you even design a logo, choose your primary brand color or focus on any other detail, you should decide on the following:

  • What does your brand stand for?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where are you going to be present i.e. on what platforms?
  • What’s the ‘Why’ of your business? Why did you build this company?

When you answer these questions, figuring out how you’re going to brand your business becomes a logical and effective exercise.

So, prioritize branding from the very outset of your business’s creation. If you’ve put in thought and effort, you won’t have to undertake an avoidable and expensive re-branding activity for your business in the future. And you’ll build a brand identity that lasts.

Not creating documented guidelines

A critical mistake is not keeping your branding consistent across different platforms and activities. And this mistake is often the result of not documenting and sharing your brand guidelines with your team and external stakeholders.

Once you’ve decided on elements like your logo, the color palette for your brand, typography, tone of voice, and more, you need to record these details. Here are some suggestions for how to do this:

  • Create presentation slide templates, documents with letterheads, blog header templates, and other types of templates. Share them with your team so that they can copy these files and use them wherever needed.
  • If you use a premium content creation tool, then you can save colors, fonts, and your logo in the tool’s brand kit section. This will make it easy for any company users to pick the right colors and fonts for their work
  • Create a simple document with branding instructions written out in great detail. Make it accessible via a shared folder or file so that anyone can refer to it
  • Create a media kit on your website so that partners, press members, and others can learn the dos and don’ts of using your brand elements
An assets page with graphic elements available for use

Documenting your brand strategy and other details is typically a one-time activity. You’ll only need to go back to make updates. This simple step creates brand consistency across time and platforms.

Not differentiating yourself

Have you ever noticed how business names and logos in a specific field look similar to each other? You’ve probably come across dozens of healthy food-based businesses that use green and brown in their branding or have a plant element in their logo.

This makes sense because it tells people what a company is about from the very first glance. However, it also makes it hard for people to remember your company.

It’s important to strategically position your brand so that it stands out from the competition. There isn’t an easy way to do this, but by carrying out competition research, customer research, and by defining your values, you’ll have a better chance of creating a unique brand statement.

Trying to please everyone

A brand that tries to appeal to everyone will get mild appreciation from most people and little loyalty in the long run.

If you want to have a thriving brand community and customers who will stay loyal to your business, then you need to stand for something specific. And often, this means that there will be a chunk of the market that won’t be interested in your product.

However, the customers who do value what you do will be more engaged, loyal, and will even act as ambassadors for your business.

Have clear values and market your company and products to specific segments of your potential audience. When you do this, you’ll build a strong brand with a vibrant and engaged community.

Not responding to your audience

I just mentioned that you shouldn’t try to be appealing to everyone. However, this doesn’t mean that you never take criticism or feedback into consideration.

When you launch a marketing campaign or a new product, it’s important to listen to how your target audience feels about your work.

Here are sources of information you should monitor to check how people respond to your marketing and branding efforts:

  • Use social media management tools to carry out social listening. A good tool will create a feed using hashtags, brand mentions, and specific keywords. And you’ll have a single location to see what people are thinking
  • Use form tools on a regular basis to gather feedback and carry out surveys
  • Check your customer support tickets and CRM for frequent complaints or a surge of feedback on the tail of a new marketing campaign

Branding is an ongoing process. You need to gather data and leverage the response you get from your audience to evolve your brand in the right way.

Back to you

We’ve covered some of the top branding mistakes that businesses make when starting out.

Being aware of these pitfalls will help you make better decisions and grow your brand the right way.

Branding is a serious activity that will affect the longevity of your business. Work at it from the very beginning and you’ll create the foundation for long-term success.