What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you think of business branding? Many business owners and business customers think of companies that have done a great job branding their products like Coca Cola, Nike, or Starbucks. The trademark logos related to these companies are known the world over, and their branding has continued to stimulate business growth for decades. But as a small business, merely considering the financial output required to establish such a level of branding can be overwhelming at the very least. Believe it or not, it is easier to develop a solid brand image than may be imagined. Taking care to adhere to a few simple guidelines can mean the difference between a successful brand launch (or revamp) and a lot of time and effort spent for lackluster results. Below are some common pitfalls and branding mistakes small businesses need to avoid, so they do not waste money on failed branding.
Brands are Powerful
Failing to understand the power of a brand is an oversight that small businesses cannot afford to make. A robust and well-recognized brand is clearly beneficial from a customer relationship and procurement standpoint. It is crucial to have the same immediate, definitive brand recognition as that of larger brands when potential customers think about products.
A clear brand definition is also essential from an SEO perspective. Search engines like Google tend to prioritize branded listings in their organic search results, as visitors are more likely to click on those listings. More clicks equal, more happy customers. This means focusing on building a business brand can lead to a rise in website traffic and other benefits of brand awareness.
Don’t Forget to Establish Brand Guidelines
What does it mean to “develop a brand” for a company? When creating a brand identity for a business, it is essential to establish defined guidelines that cover the brand’s specific elements. The guidelines should include brand colors, taglines, fonts, imagery, mascots and spokespeople (if applicable), and the preferred “voice” to convey to the customers.
This list is certainly not comprehensive. If there is another branding characteristic that is necessary to define the business, add it to the brand guidelines. Collaborating with a professional designer can provide advice and insight into areas of marketing and branding goals that are often overlooked. A skilled designer can help the branding efforts by providing consistency and direction to the documents.
Don’t Overcomplicate the Brand
When starting the branding process, it can be tempting to add more variables and components to the brand than may be genuinely needed. Clean and simple elements are more likely to be remembered by consumers, so it is wise to avoid adding too much flare to the branded elements. Consider the fact that memorable brands are often straightforward.
Don’t Fall into the Vague Branding Trap
It can be challenging to determine how far is too far. It is critical to ensure the branding is not so vague as not to reveal anything about the company and its value. For branding to be successful, it is important to walk the line between too little and too much. The solution to this is to ensure the branding uses clear language, logos, and imagery.
Don’t “Cheat” On Brand Guidelines
You have made it to the point where you have carefully crafted brand guidelines and implemented them across all of the company’s marketing media and online. All is going well until a few months in when you create a new advertisement for a brand-new product launch, and you really want to use a few elements outside of your branding guidelines. Can you?
Well, the short and answer is yes; but you shouldn’t. Every time you deviate from your brand guidelines, you water down the impact of the brand message. By introducing new elements, you are essentially showing your customers a new brand logo, diminishing the strength of the brand association.
Failing to Police Brand’s Usage
Developing and implementing the business’s brand guidelines is only the first step. In addition to the work put into branding, it is crucial to be proactive about monitoring where and how others are using the branded elements. If this critical task is neglected, competitors could create a similar logo, a review website could use the logo and not link back, or an advertisement could feature the logo but the without credit or proper design elements. While some of these issues may be relatively minor, others could result in necessary legal action if the brand is being infringed upon.
Poor Rollout of Brand Changes
There are benefits to rebranding, and when done correctly, it can be very beneficial to the business. It is important to remember that any brand-related changes may reduce the connection built with customers. Deciding to make alternations, using the help of an Alaskan design professional like Bianca Frank Design can help weigh the benefits and risks of a rebranding campaign.
Branding is essential to businesses of all sizes. Avoiding the branding mistakes described above and following carefully laid plans for the company’s branding guidelines will go a long way towards helping the small business gain essential brand recognition with target customers. If the idea of branding or creating brand guidelines seems daunting, remember that expert support is available. The professional design staff at Bianca Frank Design in Anchorage, Alaska, have years of experience assisting business owners with their branding or rebranding efforts. A solid branding effort will reach across all aspects of the business, including print and online media. Our web design professionals are experts in taking the brand guidelines from goals on paper to expertly created images published online, helping to increase recognition, SEO, sales, and customer relationships.