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Whether you are a start-up or a brand that has been around the block for decades, branding mistakes can easily happen. Knowing these branding mistakes and taking action to avoid them can strengthen the brand you’ve built or the brand you hope to establish. Here are six of the common branding mistakes businesses commonly make and how they can avoid them on their path to success.

Common Branding Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)


Thinking of Your Brand as a Logo

Sure, a logo is a central part of your brand identity, but it’s just one facet. So many other important elements go into creating your brand. Equating your brand to a logo will only impede your growth and authenticity.

Instead, think of your brand as an emotion—the feeling your customer has when they use your product or service. That feeling is what will ultimately define your brand. Thinking of your brand as an emotion can help inform other extensions of your brand, too. From social media content to customer service, every moving part is your brand.


Inconsistent Identity and Collateral

One of the more common branding mistakes your business can make is inconsistent presentation. Whether on social media, on your website, or on that billboard down Route 45 by the Shell station, logo presentation and aesthetic should be consistent and work as part of one important story: your brand story.

To help ensure your brand stays visually consistent, ask your designer to create a brand style guide for you and your team to follow when creating ads and social posts. Brand style guides consist of color codes, approved fonts, imagery, digital and print guidelines, logo usage, and much more. Abiding by the guide will help ensure your brand is presented consistently.


Confusing Your Audience

A cardinal sin of branding is misidentifying your audience. You can’t push marketing messages into the ether with no target or direction and expect a result. Know your audience and be familiar with your demographic. It’s the first thing that should inform all messaging and creative.


Abandoning Your Origins

All too often, established brands lose sight of their humble beginnings. This isn’t to say they grew full of themselves, but rather abandoned the path their brand has already paved. Companies refresh their brands every day—and it can have wild success, too. Many times, a brand refresh is absolutely necessary. However, where many brands go wrong is losing the connection between the old and the new when it’s time for a logo refresh or packaging redesign.

Your audience has grown comfortable with your aesthetic. And while your logo might be antiquated by today’s design standards, it’s important to carry its essence into the new design—and to do so carefully. It’s not always advisable to abandon all familiarity in your design. You want to your customers to still recognize your brand, and hopefully, feel energized by the new design.


Abstaining the Brand Experience

Experiential marketing or experience-driven marketing is a vital tool for connecting with your audience and ultimately driving sales. What is your brand experience? What experience does your product or service offer customers? How will they feel when they use it?

Sell the experience instead of the product. Craft copy and use creative that buttress this very foundation. Give your product a lifestyle. Relate this lifestyle to those of your customers’. Let experience be the force to drive your sales.


Not Hiring a Professional When It Counts

We get it—branding can be time-consuming, costly, and something thought to be extraneous or peripheral to your one main goal: making money. But the old adage goes, one must spend money to make money. It may be tempting to hire your kid cousin who dabbled with Photoshop in college to create a logo for a fraction of the price—but this almost always goes wrong.

If there’s one place to spend your money, make it your logo (and your website, but that’s a topic for another time!). While there are many moving parts to your brand, your logo is the capstone. An amateurish logo can have unseen consequences. Sure, it could simply be aesthetically displeasing, but it could also affect your potential customers’ trust and attraction to your product or service. Hiring a professional is important when it counts—because you always get what you pay for.