Today, branding is everything. From the smallest start-ups to the largest multinationals, you could effectively live or die by how you present the business, or its product or service. That’s not to say that good products and services are less important, but your approach to branding could negatively affect the perception of your business.
What are the Branding Pitfalls?
Your brand and the customer perception of it is your public face. No matter how good you are at what you do, you could lose business if you fall into any of the following traps.
Obscure Brand Name
An obscure brand name will confuse the potential customer about what you do. Your brand name should be descriptive and to the point. This works for technology businesses. Even worse than an obscure name is a misleading name. In some cases, this is against the law; where not against the law, you will confuse customers.
How the customer will react: If they don’t know what you are about, they are unlikely to try to find out, even if they are in your target demographic or would ordinarily be a typical customer.
A Lack of Cultural Awareness
This is more important for businesses looking to work internationally. A lack of awareness of cultural norms and slang terms means you could be making a faux pas and lose business by causing widespread offence. Clairol once released a curling iron called the “Mist Stick” but a lack of linguistic research had German customers chuckling. “Mist” is a slang term for “manure”.
How the customer will react: At best, your company will be the subject of ridicule. At worst, you could lose custom by causing widespread offence.
A Lack of Distinctiveness
Not standing out from your competitors is one of the biggest problems facing businesses today. What sets you apart? Are you conveying this message effectively in your brand? Are you saying the same things everybody else is saying? Are you using the right search terms for your website or social media accounts? It’s important to do everything you can to set yourself apart from the competition.
How the customer will react: Your business branding will be lost in a sea of identical branding campaigns.
The logo is often the first thing customers will remember about you. It needs to be seen in as many places as possible; it needs to be memorable and you need to draw an association between you and your values as a business. The logo will need regular updates in line with graphical standards, new fonts and simplification of the web design. Besides which, a new logo every few years keeps it fresh.
How the customer will react: An outdated logo suggests a company unwilling or unable to move forward. Ensure you update graphics and fonts that reflect your business as it is today.
A Lack of Social Media
Despite that social media is now big business and an essential part of promotion, too many businesses use it in the wrong or don’t use it at all. Social media is a great tool for promoting your business and customers expect you to have a web presence in the form of social media pages.
How the customer will react: The perception of your business without a social media presence is one of disorganisation and an unwillingness to move with the times.