You might not even notice when your branding is having problems. The bad part? Your customers most likely have.

Don’t panic.

You’re surely still in the position of being able to correct the mistake. But, wait, we first need to identify it.

Whether it is something to do with your website’s branding or some of your offline materials, a closer look will help you identify the loose ends.

Here are some of the most common branding mistakes we’ve seen over the years. They are small, but they matter.

1. Branding way too much

There actually is such as thing as overbranding.

Branding doesn’t necessarily go well with “the more, the better” attitude.

Attaching your brand name or logo to something needs to reflect your company – both its values and its voice.

Even the biggest brands can go down this slippery slope. And failed completely.

One example is Colgate Meals.

Colgate Meals - Small Branding Mistakes

Source: Colgate

When this corporate giant decided to go into the frozen meals business, little did they know how fast and hard it can backfire.

Colgate planned big marketing budgets and identified their target market. However, the company didn’t plan for people to have such a strong association with their toothpaste brand – many imagined a toothpaste-flavored stir fry.

Not many people wanted to experiment, which lead Colgate to quickly abandoning this project.

2. Being too vague

Clear branding guidelines are a must-have if you are even considering to employ proper branding.

That said, every part of your branding strategy needs to be consistent and unique.

Using buzzwords that are common in your niche will not help you stand apart. It’s better to find your unique selling points and try to push them forward – in an original way.

In that sense, make sure your marketing copy – on your website or on your social media – don’t force any over-the-top statements. It’s okay if you are not revolutionizing your industry, just don’t put the word “revolutionary” in your copy.

3. Cheating your branding guidelines

We’ve already mentioned how important clear branding guidelines are.

They set the tone, voice, and your entire persona that customers get to meet, know and love.

And then, three months after deciding on the branding guidelines, you start to take some easy turns.

You need a new ad for a product line you’re launching. New ideas spark and now you’re outside of the color palette you specified in your branding guidelines.

And this is not a big deal. The accumulative effect of doing this often will, however, hurt your branding. It will disperse its true power little by little, which will basically bring you to introducing a new brand image to your customers. Thus, your original brand image you were trying to promote will grow weaker.

4. It’s all in the details

When it comes to branding, consistency should be in its very core on which branding relies to generate its true effect on your business.

Consistency, thus, means that each part of your business’ online property or marketing material has the same voice and style.

There should be no loose ends, as each loose end can grow your branding weaker.

A vastly underused branding element is the 404 page, which leaves so much room for branding.

An awesome example is the 404 page from South West Trains with their tagline:”Looks like you got off at the wrong stop”.



5. DIY changes

Coming up with a branding strategy is not easy. Making branding mistakes is.

So, why do some entrepreneurs feel like it won’t hurt much if they just made an itsy-bitsy small tiny edit by themselves?

You know, they don’t want to bother the designer about switching places of some “irrelevant elements” on a brochure.

And that’s the road to disaster.

Branding is not a DIY project, as it requires a lot of careful planning and research. So, next time you need a little update – start writing that email.

How to avoid branding mistakes completely?

The five branding mistakes we’ve laid out above are pretty standard and if you have already found yourself guilty of some of them – go ahead, and correct yourself right away.

But, essentially, many of them can slip through the cracks and you won’t later be able to identify the slower returns on your investment in branding. Or you will have a harder time establishing genuine relationships with your customers.

The most important thing to factor in when you want to avoid any possible branding mistakes is the respect for branding.

That means you need to understand its true value and not sacrifice it for some short-term projects or impulses. Definitely no touchy business or doing solo changes. And don’t go into the frozen meal business unless you are 100% sure people will want to eat it.


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