We hear a lot of stuff in the world of “thought leadership” about building your brand or building your company’s brand.

We also hear a great deal about the best ways to build your business.

The things that these areas share in common is a high degree of information that is absolutely incorrect and in many cases harmful.

To help you separate the good from the bad, here are 3 pieces of common branding and marketing advice that are definitely costing you and your brand a great deal.

1. If I just give away some of my service or product, it will wet the buyer’s taste for something more:

This seems to be in the area of consultants and tech start ups…but I have heard it a lot of places. “Let’s just offer a freebie or a one time discount and then we can sell them on full price.”

You know, this absolutely pretty much never works.

If you pay attention to the world of retail, you will notice that retailers all over the world are struggling to get people to buy their products because they have trained their buyers that the only right time to buy from them is when things are cheap or deeply, deeply discounted.

Why would you put yourself in that position?

You may not be able to get everything that you want to earn in your first deal, but you aren’t going to get any closer to getting what you are really worth by leading with deep discounts or freebies. In all likelihood, you are going to get further from where you want to get.

So never lead with freebies and discounts.

2. Selling based on price, not value:

This one jumps on the back of the discount train and in too many cases they are often seen holding hands somewhere.

Get this straight, when you are starting your business, you have to often take any work you can get, but fairly quickly you need to start billing your clients by the value you create, not by the hour.

If you are billing based on hourly wages, you are really just a cheap pair of hands and you are always acting in a position where you are ethically compromised. By focusing on value, you can sell it as being something that is in both parties best interests, because you both want to get value created as quickly as possible.

When combined with never discounting, you are going to put your brand in a position to be seen as a high value provider and a quality partner.

3. Trying to be everything to everyone:

I’m as much of a generalist as the next person, but I still have by boundaries.

You should too.

The challenge for your brand is that I see too many of you trying to be everything to everyone. This is big companies and small.

Look at Apple back before Steve Jobs returned when they had so many different computers. They did printers. They had the Newton. They did a little bit of everything and they did nothing really well.

That’s what I see from too many brands and companies.

The fact is that you can’t be everything to everyone, but you can do a few things better than others.

Those things that you like to do and do well, those are the ones that your brand should revolve around.

If not, your brand is heading for failure.

Are you making these brand mistakes? Or, am I way off base?