Trying to develop an image that issues a guarantee of value in customers’ eyes is a complex process. It involves the accumulation of a range of verbal, visual, and contextual components that, when successfully executed, give your company a distinct, positive feeling. Since the entire idea of branding is inherently vague and not as paint-by-numbers certain as other aspects of small business development, it’s an area where a lot of small business owners trip up and make mistakes. Unfortunately, such blunders can undermine well-executed efforts in other departments.
To help offset some of this branding development risk, we’ve put together a quick list of common pitfalls. Knowledge is power! May you read, learn, and avoid the mistakes of those before you
Trying to please everyone
This is probably the most common misstep that business owners take. The tendency to position your brand to appeal to the widest possible audience seems logical at first glance; cast a wider net, catch more customers, right? Actually, no. If you aim too broadly, you end up watering down your message too much, and in the end, you will fail to make an impact with any audience. Instead, think hard about what market position is best suited to your company and build your brand as strongly as possible towards your audience. Don’t be so people pleasing as to sacrifice your ability to have a true identity
Being too jargon-heavy
Every industry has their own language, but that doesn’t mean your customers need to be pummeled with it. Filling your branding conduits with jargon doesn’t make you look like an expert in the know, it really just alienates you from your customers. They are not experts. One of the big goals of a branding campaign should be to establish your company as a gateway between your customer base and your industry. Using too much industry-specific jargon positions your company too far on the industry side, and not enough in your customers’ corner. Instead, translate that language into plain, warm, inviting, vibrant English that draws your audience in.
Trying to be different
Really, trying too hard to be anything isn’t advisable. Branding follows the same rules as your social life; being keenly self-aware and having the confidence to be who you are will pay off endlessly. If you try too hard to be anything else, the result will almost always feel awkward, forced, and make your company look as amateurish as you would if you behaved that way on a date. This is why you’ve worked so hard on calculated, intentional business development – so you can be confident enough to not have to hide behind a forced branding façade.
Not following through
What’s the point in working hard to establish a brand as the company with, say, the best customer service in your industry without carrying through on the back end by actually having the best customer service in your industry? Branding only works when it’s constantly maintained over time. Your image is your promise, and the quality of your services or goods is where you come through on that promise. Without proper development throughout the other channels of your business, even the most well-executed branding strategies with stall out and fail.