Branding is an extremely complex facet of any business, and it’s incredibly different to create a quality brand image. But it’s even more difficult to cultivate a reputation around your brand, and more challenging still to maintain the reputation you’ve built for your company. The last thing you want to do is to shoot yourself in the foot by making a silly mistake. So, let’s take a look at some of the top branding mistakes businesses make to help you avoid some rather nasty pitfalls.
Discordant Branding Elements
One crucial factor to any brand is consistency. Without it, you risk failing to make a clear, memorable impression on your audience and customers.
The last thing you want to do is cast doubt in a returning visitor’s or customer’s mind about the identity of your business. After all, it takes a great deal of work to build trust with a customer. Failing to consistently brand your digital profiles and content can tug on the thread of distrust and unravel all your hard work.
But you don’t only need to be consistent online among various marketing channels. Instead, you need to strive for consistency across all types of media including your website, social media sites, letterhead, business cards, signs, banners, and more.
Some digital services, such as cloud storage services, even allow business the ability to control the colors of the web portal and the choice to add a logo.
But what qualities of your brand image need to remain identical? The following outlines key components of a brand that should remain consistent:
Brand name – consistency with regard to spelling, capitalization, abbreviations, and font.
Colors – make sure colors use exactly the same HTML code; it’s off-putting to notice differences between the shade and hue of a website versus what you see on the storefront.
Fonts and typography – if you use a special font on your signs and storefront, make sure to use the same font on your brand name and logo on your website; however, the entire website need not us the same font.
Brand images and logo – copy images and logos used in branding verbatim (i.e. a winery might have a professional photograph of their vineyards at sunset as a backdrop for a landing page, as well as the image for their Facebook page).
Mascot – mascots are incredibly important, and need to be identical among all your social media pages and website.
Outrageously Long Domain Names
With regards to the actual name of your business or brand, it’s best to keep things as short and sweet as possible, with few exceptions. Obscenely long brand names lead to long domain names, and long domain names can make a website or brand harder to remember and cause frequent typing errors. Shorter domain and brand names, on the other hand, are easier to remember and easier to type.
Furthermore, longer domain names can be harder for a human to correctly parse and read in a browser. If you are just opening a new small business, I caution you to put some serious thought into the name of your business, and to check online to make sure the domain is still available. Unfortunately, shorter domain names are already taken compared with longer domain names.
Choosing to Forgo the Aid of a Professional
Small business owners are often the hard-working, empowered, do-it-yourself type of person who feels ready to take on any challenge. But when it comes to website design and digital marketing, if you’re a complete neophyte, you don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know can hurt you. It’s a big branding mistake to attach your logo to a website you’ve cobbled together roughly.
Why? Because everyone who uses the Internet as their main interface to your store (and most do know since online shopping and smartphone technologies are the norm, not the exception), is going to form an immediate negative first impression of your brand.
If you don’t know how to edit images, post multimedia content, or design a website, your brand is in for a world of hurt.
Get someone to help you.
Out of Date HTML, Code, Plugins, Themes, and Styles
Have you ever visited an old website that clearly hasn’t been updated since 1999?
Or have you ever seen a website that was hand-coded by an amateur instead of using a sleek and optimized WordPress theme?
The results aren’t pretty, and can make any website look like a real piece of trash, no matter how polished the website copy and content are. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but as human beings, we all know we do.
The last thing you want to do is attach your brand name and logo to a website that looks out of date. Even worse, you don’t want to attach your brand name to a website that was compromised by a hacker or virus because its plugins and addons haven’t been updated the latest version.
Make sure your site is up to date regarding mobile friendliness, too!
You want to brand your business in such a way that when someone sees your brand image, they instantly know who you are and what you sell. Try to eliminate vague phrases and marketing copy, since they do little to inform the user about your product, service, business, or status. For instance, I detest it when I hear about an “award-winning business.”
Really? Oh, lovely. You won awards? So have we. Which specific awards did your business win, and why do I care?
Furthermore, if your brand name is vague because it is a small business named after the owner(s), make sure to attach some industry-specific language. For instance, instead of “Thompson, Gates, and Stouffer LLC,” which is vague and sounds like a law firm, try “Thompson, Gates, and Stouffer Realty Group.”
Digital branding and marketing is no easy task. If you lack the skills to reach your audience via the Internet (or don’t have an audience to begin with), it’s time to reach out for professional help. Call today to see how optimization techniques and content marketing can grow your business.