I’M WITH THE BRAND
(Common Brand Identity Mistakes and How to Avoid Them)
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve probably spent a lot of time and energy coming up with a great brand name for your business. But have you given much thought to your brand’s overall look and feel? If not, you may be making some common mistakes that are causing confusion among customers, hindering sales, and undermining your brand’s reputation.
In the end – a brand is your promise, one that you are offering to live up to. Best executed – what you see is what you get. And part of that “get” is always some sort of a benefit. If your customer isn’t crystal clear about what benefit they will get from working with you, or buying your product, they won’t buy. Remember this – a confused mind never buys. You job in your brand identity is to remove any doubt that you, your service, or your product will get the job done.
Here are six common brand identity mistakes — and how to avoid them:
1. Your brand identity doesn’t match your brand message
When creating a brand identity, you need to make sure that the story you are telling is consistent across all platforms. Your audience needs to be able to look at any piece of your marketing collateral and immediately recognize your company.
If your visual identity doesn’t match the message you are trying to convey with your words, it will confuse your customers and make it seem as if different departments within your company have conflicting goals and values, or worse – none at all.
2. Your brand identity doesn’t match your target audience
It’s easy to come up with a logo and brand identity that you love, but what works for you won’t always work for your target audience. When creating or assessing your brand identity, it’s vital to identify your ideal customer. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself if the aesthetic, tone of voice, and messaging sync up with them. If it doesn’t, consider making changes to better align the two.
Your brand identity must address how you help your target audience.
3. Your logo is dated
Have you ever mentioned to someone that your company logo was designed twenty-five years ago? If so, reevaluate how well your logo is serving your brand. Logos should be simple enough that they can be easily recognized by even the most casual customer and timeless enough that they are not a distraction from the personality and vision of your business.
For example, Pepsi’s logo has evolved since its original inception in 1898 but has always featured a stylized version of the packaging for the product. Google is perhaps one of the most well-known brands with a timeless logo, given that it has undergone several redesigns over the past twenty years yet still maintains its minimalistic style.
Remember: there’s no need to rush when designing or redesigning a logo! Explore options and ask for feedback from people that closely resemble your target audience before signing off on anything.
4. Your visual identity feels generic or unoriginal
More often than not, a lack of originality stems from a lack of understanding. Before you can establish an original and compelling brand identity, you need to have these three things figured out:
Your business–its history, its purpose, and where it’s going.
Your target audience–who they are, what they value, and what resonates with them most, and most importantly – what they need next that would bring them to you.
Your competitors–what they’re doing right (and wrong) regarding their branding.
Once you’ve done some serious thinking about these three aspects of your business, it’s time for some proper work. Before sitting down at the computer or with a sketchbook in hand to create your visual identity, take note of what’s already been done by your competition. See if there’s anything that makes them visually unique or appealing to your target audience.
Once you’ve jotted down your observations, don’t be afraid to directly address something that makes you similar or dissimilar to your competition; this is how new ideas are born! What matters most is that yours will be different enough to allow it to stand on its own two feet as an original piece of branding that reflects who you are as a business.
5. Your typography is underwhelming or hard to read
It’s common for brand identities to feature an overwhelming number of fonts, which can create inconsistency in design and make it hard for your audience to read text. Typography is a critical part of your brand identity since it communicates so much about who you are.
To build strong typography in your digital or print materials:
-Select two or three complementary fonts to use consistently across all materials.
-Choose fonts that are easy to read. When picking fonts and typefaces on your website or in printed material, look at them from a distance so you can test their legibility. If they’re difficult to read at a glance, try different ones until you find the right fit.
-Use color and size variations to differentiate headers from body copy. This will help guide readers through the page as they scan content on web pages or flip through printed documents like brochures and flyers.
6. Your design has been created without consideration for its usage in different platforms, media, and environments
As with many things in the world, design is actually not all that simple. In fact, it can be downright complicated. Many companies have a tendency to skimp on creative production and spend cash on other areas of their business and marketing plan–often at their own peril. However, with planning and consideration for how a design will function across multiple media channels and environments, you can ultimately save time and money by avoiding costly revisions later down the road.
Wrapping it up…
Many brands (and people) are guilty of making some common mistakes with their brand identity, which can hurt the company’s reputation and even drive customers away. Your brand identity is the face of your business and the first impression that people get when they see your logo and other visual elements. Your brand identity must clearly signal the promise you aim to deliver and allow people to consistently recognize and understand it wherever and whenever they see it.
A strong brand identity comprises many elements including words, visuals, colors, fonts, and logos. These components should work together to create a cohesive and consistent look across all platforms. This includes everything from business cards to websites and social media pages. If we don’t recognize you, we can’t choose you. Also – people tend to choose businesses that do business consistently. Clear and consistent is sexy in business. The ultimate prize for nailing your brand identity is worth the effort –more clients, more business, more money. So, when it comes to making your business stand out, I’m with the brand.