Starting a new business is usually an exciting adventure, but it soon becomes a nightmare when you’re not achieving your primary goal —making sales. One crucial aspect new business owners overlook is branding. As a new business owner, you should already know that branding is essential, but if you don’t, perhaps this post is for you.
In the subsequent paragraphs, we’ll be exploring some common branding mistakes that you, as a new business owner, should avoid, so you can set yourself up for success.
New business owners often underestimate the importance of branding; some believe it is only for more established companies. However, branding is the heart of every business. It’s not just about catchy taglines and expensive advertisements — it is the way you present your business to the world. It is how you communicate to your target audience who you are, what you stand for and why they should pick you over your competitors. To build a successful brand, one needs to understand the importance of branding. This is because branding helps to set the foundation for all your other branding decisions. Without understanding its significance, your business may neglect it, thereby leading to various challenges. Blockbuster, for example, underestimated the rise of online streaming, which led to them filing for bankruptcy.
But before diving headfirst into branding, you should first conduct a thorough market research. This helps your business understand its target audience and their needs, your competitors, and market trends. With this knowledge, developing an effective brand strategy that resonates with your target audience and stands out from competitors is easier. One example is Kodak, which neglected the rising market for digital cameras and failed to adapt to that era.
Your brand should have values, missions and a purpose that aligns with your business goals. Establishing these elements helps you define your business’ core identity and positioning. With a clear sense of direction, it becomes easier to communicate a consistent and meaningful brand message. What do you stand for? What makes you unique? In 2017, Pepsi’s “Live for Now” ad featuring Kendall Jenner received widespread criticism for trivializing the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Think about your brand as a person. How would they speak? What’s their personality like? How would you want your target audience to perceive them? Friendly? Relatable? Motivational? Developing a distinctive brand voice and personality allows you to connect with your target audience on an emotional level. It helps you differentiate yourself from your competitors and create a unique identity in the market. For example, Nike is popularly known for their confident and aspirational messaging, which helps them resonate well with their target audience.
Consistency is key when it comes to branding. Inconsistencies in visual identity – logo, colors, etc., messaging, and customer experience can confuse your customers and weaken the overall brand perception. When starting your brand, it is common for you to want to experiment with these different branding elements. However, consistency is crucial for building trust and recognition because it makes it easier for your target audience to identify and remember your brand. Constantly changing these elements can have negative consequences such as a lack of recognition and a loss of credibility.
Also, businesses should learn to always maintain a brand; don’t change elements of your brand too often. As we said earlier, consistency is key in branding, and frequent changes in your brand elements can confuse your customers and dilute brand recognition. This does not mean your brand should never evolve. Take the time to establish a solid brand identity, and careful consideration should be given before making significant changes to branding elements. For example, Coca-Cola has remained consistent for over 100 years despite making minor changes over the years.
Everyone loves following trends, but relying on them all the time can be very risky. While staying current and relevant is important, relying solely on trends can lead to a brand that lacks authenticity and may become outdated quickly. You should find a balance between current trends and timeless elements that reflect your brand’s core identity, ensuring longevity in brand appeal. Few months ago, Burger King (Nigeria) proved that brands shouldn’t jump on just any trend when they decided to hop on a trend where they classified their female customers into three categories: “baddies”, “civilians”, and “amotekun babes.”
Looking at other successful businesses in your industry is normal, but copying their branding is wrong. This can hinder your business from establishing its unique identity and differentiating itself in the market. Study your competitors and know what works, but finding a distinct positioning that sets your brand apart is essential. For instance, Threads has found their way to set themselves apart from Twitter, despite both platforms having similarities.
Your customers are the most significant part of your business, and you should not neglect their feedback. They decide whether your brand is successful or not, so it is important to take their opinions into consideration when making branding decisions. By not listening to your customers, you may end up creating a brand that does not resonate with them, leading to a negative brand image and loss of sales.
Lastly, social media plays a significant role in brand promotion in this digital era. However, businesses should learn not to have the same content on every social media platform. Each social media platform has its unique characteristics and audience. Posting the same content across all platforms disregards these differences and may fail to engage effectively with the target audience. You should always tailor your content to suit each platform, providing value and engaging with your audience in a way that resonates with them.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can establish a solid and authentic brand that connects with your target audience and sets you apart from your competitors. So, don’t underestimate the impact of branding. Take the time to decide what you want your brand to represent and connect with your audience emotionally. Do this and watch your business grow and become successful (Of course, you need a great product as well). Best of luck!