3 Branding Mistakes New Businesses Make
What is your 'brand' you may ask.
It is not your logo. It is not your business cards, not your website, product or service, or the package it comes in.
It is the voice and personality that runs across all these elements. It may be feminine, playful, and quirky, or masculine, serious, bold. You may want to appear to be forward thinking, modern, or to have years of heritage and experience; trustworthy, timeless.
Your logo and related print or digital media are the tools used to project this voice. To tell the story of what your brand is about. To talk to your clients and customers when you aren’t there to do so.
That this message is cohesive across all collateral, and that the logo and the brand tell the same story, is so important. That your brand has a story, is important.
There is value in investing in experts to help developing not only your new logo but also in your brand.
Here are a few of the mistakes new businesses often make, and what you can do to help build a successful brand.
Being too close to your brand.
Your brand is not you. It is has a face of its own. A voice of its own. Do not get these confused.
Distance yourself from, and define your brand.
In some instances, in small artisanal family run businesses, the brand is sometimes the people. They are what make it unique and authentic. However, this is and rarely a good strategy. We as people evolve and grow daily. A trusted brand needs to remain consistent.
As I mentioned above, your brand is not you.
You need to step back and consider the image of your business you want to portray. The way you want your customers to ‘perceive’ your business. This is appropriately called "Brand Perception."
You need to be able to step back and watch it grow and take on a life of its own like a proud parent.
As an example, Coca-Cola is not the voice of their CEO, undoubtedly a mature aged man in a suit. Coca-Cola is uniquely and undoubtedly, Coca-Cola. Youthful, energetic, carefree. A sun-chaser that loves sharing special moments with close friends.
In reality, it is a few thousand people in various offices and factories performing tedious business management and production tasks.
You forget to remember that when the first thing you see is the carefree summer loving Coke brand.
Before you start thinking about your new logo, you need to consider what your ‘brand’ is. What is the lifestyle you are trying to sell? How do you want people to feel when they see it?
“I don’t have a budget for design.”
This is one of the first mistakes all new businesses make. I do not say this because it devalues my profession but because I genuinely want to see these businesses succeed.
We judge business very quickly based on what we see, usually on their website these days. A business that appears is out-dated, cold and dare I say "dodgy," comes across us un-trustworthy.
Always invest and budget for professional design and branding expertise.
You are starting your new business. You invest in the latest computers, software, equipment, and furnishings. These are all investments for the future of your business. They are the tools you will use to succeed.
Your brand is one of these most important tools you can invest in.
Your computers may last 5 years. Your brand may be the voice of your company for the next 50 years. It is the first thing new clients and customers will see when they meet a company. They will make up their mind in the first 3 seconds as to if they will give you their business or not. But you are only willing to spend $50 on it?
Creating a clear, consistent and well thought out brief for your designer will help save time and costings but be prepared to spend $800+ for a comprehensive branding package.
There are plenty of successful and popular businesses out there that may not offer as much as you do. Chances are, they simply have a more appealing brand.
I don't need/can't afford a website.
Another frustration I hear from clients is that they have a great service but nobody knows about them.
It is simply no use having a great product or service if no one can find you.
Get a professional website.
Let's get straight to the point. If you are not online, you don’t exist.
Second to that, if you do not appear in Google search results, you barely exist. In the eyes of the consumer, that is.
Most people today look to find service providers via online search engines, Google being the most popular. If potential customers are not able to find you, you simply will not get their business. Someone else will.
Your website may be the first touch point someone will have with your business. And so the quality and design of your website are equally as important to having one in the first place.
According to a study in the behaviours of web browsing, it takes 50 milliseconds for people to decide whether they will stay on a web page or not.
"Unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors,"
“If you can snare people with an attractive design, they are more likely to overlook other minor faults with the site, and may rate its actual content (such as this article, for example) more favourably.”
Another big mistake people make is not having a responsive website. This means it is compatible across all devices and screens; laptops, tablets and smartphones. With 90% of web browsing now taking place on the run your website must be mobile!
This is why I highly suggest having a professional website that is responsive, attractive & engaging, easy to navigate, and that reflects your brand accurately.
Want to know more?
Feel free to get in touch for further design and brand strategy advice for your business.
1. Lindgaard G., Fernandes G. J., Dudek C. & Brown J. Behav. Inf. Technol., 25. 115 - 126 (2006).
2. Hopkin, M, 2006. Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye : Nature News. 2016. Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye : Nature News.