We’ve been asked a lot of questions about branding from a wide variety of clients, most of whom are looking to achieve a fresh new image for their company that will appeal to their target audience and position them above their competitors in the eyes of their customers.
We thought it would be a good idea to quickly put together a list of the common pitfalls and branding mistakes we’ve witnessed in the past, so that hopefully you won’t make these same blunders;
Don’t underestimate the power of your brand
The first step to having a powerful brand, that helps you leverage additional sales and your business grow, is simply recognising how important your brand is. Once you’ve done this ensure, you’ll need to ensure that this message and belief is installed throughout all levels of your organisation.
Too often people will not truly buy into the “brand concept,” because they can’t physically touch or see it and therefore define its true financial value.
Don’t forget about your brand guidelines
A good brand needs consistency and direction. So it’s important that usage guidelines are well documented and shared with anyone who might impact how your brand is portrayed, these guidelines should include, but not be restricted to;
- An overview of your brand’s history, vision, personality and key values.
- Your brand’s message or mission statement.
- Examples of your ‘tone of voice’.
- Logo usage – where and how to use your logo, including minimum sizes, spacing and what not to do with it.
- Colour palette – showing your primary and secondary colour palettes with colour breakdowns for print, screen and web.
- Type style – showing the specific font that you use and details of the font family and default fonts for web use.
- Image style/photography – examples of image style and photographs that work with your brand.
- Business card and letterhead design.
Don’t overcomplicate things
When it comes to branding, it’s always tempting to try and include too much detail. It’s important to separate yourself from what you think looks good and what your target audience will want.
Simple clean branding is far more likely to be recognised and remembered by your target audience. Just take a look at the examples of what is considered to be the world’s top 5 brands below and you should recognise this pattern;
You’ve taken the time and effort to develop your new branding and rolled it out across all your marketing assets. Then a few month’s down the line you’re working on a new product line and feel the urge to add a few new colours outside (to really make it sparkle!) of your previously defined colour palette.
Resist the temptation, whilst it might seem right for this particular product, every time you deviate from your brand guidelines, you dilute their power by a small amount both in the eyes of your customer and internally.
Don’t forget to police it
Developing and rolling out your brand is only half the battle, you need to be proactive in patrolling where and how your brand is used by others. It’s important to develop “brand ambassadors” throughout your company, the more eyes you have watching out for this the better, to do it alone is going to be a very tough task!
Don’t fail to implement
Rolling out a new brand is not an easy task, sure when it comes to changing letter heads, business cards, signage and pretty much anything that is under your control it should be relatively straightforward, albeit painful and expensive. However, you must not forget the most important part of this process is your customers, you’ll need to make sure that you are constantly asking yourself “how this affect my customer?” and ensure you are clearly communicating with them throughout the transition.
Branding is not a simple process for any business, the key lies in not overcomplicating things. Having the right intentions for your rebrand, ensuring you keep in regular contact with your customers and avoiding the above mistakes will go a long way towards ensuring you get it right!