Every successful business evolves and grows within its first couple of years. Progress does not come alone, however. What may have started out as the perfect branding for your then fledgling business may now not be appropriate for the mature business that you have become, or the market you now find yourself in.
It is worth spending a little time regularly on reviewing your brand image (for one thing, potential customers are looking at it every day). I have invested over twenty years as a brand consultant in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester, dissecting, discussing and often frankly disagreeing about brands and how to maximise their worth. Certain key features crop up time and again: not all of them are attractive, and some are downright scary, but all are worth recognising because they can cost you time and money. To understand them is to be better prepared to succeed in the dog-eat-dog world of corporate brand building.
Top professionals are prepared to examine weaknesses as well as strengths, so let’s take a look at the 7 worst sins in branding. All of them can slow your progress, erode revenue and damage your brand. If you are guilty of any of the sins, don’t worry, you can be saved as long as you are willing to mend your ways. Then you can start securing new clients and carve your own, unique spot in your chosen marketplace.
1. Nice product, shame about the name. Maybe your company name isn’t in line with what you now offer. Product lines and service offerings can change and sometimes encompass niches that are outside of the limits of a brand name. If you originally started out selling windows but you’ve now moved into offering bespoke furniture as a result of the flourishing carpentry skills of your craftsmen – Potters Windows is just not going to cut it for you.
2. Tag match. Is your tagline aligned to your positioning and what makes you different? You may have changed your values to suit what your market is looking for – your tagline needs to be aligned to this. Your tagline is a summation of everything your business does.
3. Get personal, stay personal.. Does your logo communicate the personality, character and authenticity of your business? As your business develops, you will learn more about the market you are in, your customers and what resonates with them. Be sure to use this to your marketing advantage in the design of your logo – it is a key component of your brand.
4. “Hey, are retro logos back in again?” Does your logo look dated or tired, using a font, colour scheme and design that is stuck in the past? Your imagery should be professional, clean, crisp and simple to help it be memorable and instantly recognisable. It’s a selling tool. Above all it needs to differentiate you from your competition. Take a look at what the opposition are doing with their logos, and assess how your logo looks when set against up-and-coming rivals. How will a new generation of customers perceive your company?
5. Confidence in consistency. Is all your marketing material consistent in look, tone of voice and message? Consistency is a valuable branding assets, so make life easy for your clients: they should understand what your message is without even having to think about it, it should just go straight into their minds and stay there, painlessly. Your customers may not know that your marketing collateral is out of kilter, but you will know as you won’t be increasing profits or market share.
6. Branding is understanding.Can your communications be easily and quickly understood? Do your prospects clearly understand what problem you will solve for them? Simplicity and clarity are priceless branding advantages, so spare a little time to ask yourself, “Will my target customers know immediately what I want them to know?”
7. Look ahead, plan ahead, get ahead. Do you have a strategy in place for promoting your brand? Without a clearly defined strategy with clear action steps to take, you’ll almost certainly be missing out on opportunities that could increase your profits dramatically.
Your current company brand isn’t what you say it is – it’s what your clients say it is. Take it from an experienced branding and marketing consultant: If your customers’ perception of who you are is not meeting with their approval then you face that most hellish of prospects: not making the sale.
For more information, contact Vincent Bissette at; firstname.lastname@example.org.