Branding has become such a buzz word that many people don’t understand its true meaning, or more importantly how it operates as the heart and soul of your business. Every decision you make should essentially derive from a single brand promise or consumer benefit.
So how do you know if your brand is in alignment? Check out the Top 7 Branding Mistakes I’ve seen as a brand developer and visual marketing expert.
1. LACK OF CLARITY IN YOUR MESSAGING If I had a dollar for every business owner I’ve encountered who couldn’t properly articulate what it is they do and who they do it for; my bank account would be a lot fatter right now lol. So many of us get into business to provide a service, not solve a problem, therefore everything we do is transactional and not results driven. A MAJOR KEY to attracting not just a client, but THE CLIENT is all in your messaging. And for clarity’s sake messaging is about much more that just words written on your website, social media or pitch – much of the “messaging” people receive from your brand comes from visuals. Which brings me to my next point…
2. NOT ESTABLISHING BRAND GUIDELINES Branding is all strategic. If you want to become a dominant brand in your space, you MUST establish clear instructions on how you want your brand to be presented in the marketplace. If you don’t define it, someone will define it for you and you will spend more time telling people what you’re not, then who you are.
3. POOR VISUALS In this digital age 85-90% of people will interact with you via the internet or social media first. Hell, even if you use traditional forms of marketing its more than likely that people will see your brand before they see you. Great visuals separate your brand from the sea of other umbrellas in the crowd. Be a yellow umbrella in a sea of black. Visuals that captivate your ideal client are not just those with pretty pictures, its those that use imagery to convey a message deeper than the image itself.
4. TOO MUCH YOU, NOT ENOUGH W.I.I.F.M I know, this is your dream, your calling, your life’s work – but guess what, we care, just not that much. Too many entrepreneurs are spending too much time focused on owning the brand and not enough on building, managing and scaling the brand. If your core audience does not represent who you are internally and externally then putting your face, name and likeness on every flyer will NOT translate to dollars and cents. You may not represent the image of your core audience, and that’s ok. The focus should not be so heavy on you, that we miss out on the most important thing – WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME!
5. TOO MUCH TALK, NOT ENOUGH ACTION Theres an old saying that says if you can do one thing well and repeat it one-thousand times, you’ll create the ultimate success you desire. Many of us have missed the most important part of the childhood treasure “show and tell” – the SHOW! In general people want to business with those who they know, like and trust. But knowing, and liking is half the battle, it’s the trust factor that’s the real challenge. With the spirit of entrepreneurialism being so prevalent today, many people are just creating a picture of what a successful business looks like and not actually creating a brand that delivers on what they say they do. It’s ok not to have 20 service offerings, 3 opt-ins and 10 sales funnels. You don’t have to know everything about everything to be in business. Focus on your strengths and deliver that well, because the longevity of your business depends on it.
6. HOPPIN’ ON THE LATEST TREND Chilllllleeeeee…this could be an all night one lol. But honestly, we all enjoy the latest dance craze of the week or that viral trend that everybody seems to love – but I have one question, IS IT ON BRAND THOUGH? I have seen dr.’s in the surgical suite doing the “nae-nae” and corporate execs “doing it for the gram” in a 3-piece suit and quite frankly, I’m not sold. I guess it’s something about the seriousness of the position that doesn’t sit well will my playful spirit lol. Not to mention, there’s a new “trend” every week that complete contradicts the other which will confuse your audience on where you truly stand. CONFUSION NEVER CONVERTS! Im all for new, fresh ways to market your products and services, but as always, make sure its in alignment with your core BRAND VALUES.
7. LACK OF FOCUS ON RETENTION Steve Jobs once said that the key to success in your business is to “get so close to your customer that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves”. And what does that do in return? Create BRAND LOYALTY. So many entrepreneurs focus so much on quantity and not enough on quality that they work themselves 10x’s harder than they should. It is proven that word of mouth is still the greatest form of advertising, so why not focus more on your warm market than your cold. When customers are satisfied, 9x’s out of 10, they are ready and willing to do one of two things – tell someone about their experience or find a way to create that experience again, aka buy from you again. The more you work with them, the more you learn about what makes them tic, which you can in turn use as leverage for other clients in that demographic pool. Pretty soon your business runs on autopilot and all you have to do is create. It’s a WIN, WIN, WIN!