10 branding mistakes by Philip VanDusen – Part1

If you're a startup or you have a company that's already established and been around for a while I'm curious if your momentum is slow to do you have more or possibly even better competition than you've had in the past has it been a while since you've really considered what you're doing.
Or possibly you're a creative professional or a branding professional and you're responsible for your client's brands.

Are you keeping them fresh and powerful and relevant and differentiated in their competitive landscape?

You need to regularly audit your clients through these top 10 branding mistakes to make sure that they're not doing anything that needs to be fixed or addressed or somehow resolved.

Companies start marketing before doing any real branding

It’s normal that you want to get out there you want to move fast, you need to make sales, but what you want to do is you want to develop a brand real estate ecosystem that's really consistent and strong across all of your touchpoints:

  • your website
  • your social media platforms
  • your content and videos
  • yours pdfs and lead magnets
  • the email marketing.

You want to do your brand strategy and strategic design work to develop the visual architecture of your brand before you start getting out there and really marketing very heavily because if you don't do everything that you develop is going to eventually over time become very inconsistent and you're going to have mixed visual messages and mixed communication messages that overtime is going to cause you to lose equity, lose brand equity with your customers and with your consumers.

The second mistake is that you assume that creating a really cool logo is going to be enough

Branding encompasses everything you do where you show up, what you offer your value proposition, who you offer it to so your customer avatar, what you look like what you actually even sound like.

The physical and digital experiences that make up your brand experience are the:

  • colors
  • fonts were the icons
  • what is the photo style
  • or layout style
  • what's the pattern or texture

that you use to define your brand.

You've got to develop a really full suite of brand design elements a full tool kit to go to market with before you get out there a logo in and of itself is not enough.

The third mistake is that companies inadvertently create customer confusion

You want to build equity in your brand that's the goal of showing up consistently everywhere, you are with really clear communication messages, you want to create a level of self-identification in your target customer through your tone of voice, your visual branding, etc.

You also want to do it where you show up so they know where to find you.

Also your offering of products and services - is that offering too broad, are there too many products, too many services, too many verticals within your company?
Are our customers really clear about what it is that you're best at are you really pushing that one thing that one key idea that customers can really come to know why go to you for that thing?

Some examples of this are companies like

FedEx - if you think of “overnight delivery”, you think of “FedEx”.
If you think coffee you think “Starbucks”.
If you think “Hey, I need that one cool electronic thing tomorrow on my doorstep” - who do you think of? You think of Amazon.
If you think of “I want to hear that new song that I heard, I want to get that song that I like” - you think Spotify or iTunes.

You have to define that one thing that you're known for and you can really be targeted and laser-focused around communicating that message in the marketplace to your customers.

The fourth mistake that companies make is they ignore their employees

You want to make sure that you've really briefed your employees and that they've internalized deeply your brand mission.
A disgruntled employee can destroy years of brand equity work in a single tweet, I'm sure you've seen it happen.
Your employees have to understand what it is that you offer, why you're better, why you're different and they have to be able to articulate it in everything that they do, every interaction that they have, every sales conversation, every customer service conversation.
They have to be able to share and communicate your and their passion for the brand.

You can see this in companies like Zappos, whose customer service is absolutely legendary. They go above and beyond to make their customers happy in every single interaction that they have.

The fifth mistake that companies make is that they make decisions based on personal preferences rather than their customers

I see this absolutely all the time: owners of businesses think about what they like their personal preferences and design and products and services and they don't take the time to really fully understand their customers.