The world is changing and along with it, how we interact with one another and perceive those interactions. We’re living in a time when even individuals are expected to brand themselves. So certainly SMBs aren’t off the hook!
But what does it mean to develop a brand? Your brand is your public persona. It elicits an instant recognition and emotional connection with consumers.
When you think of your favorite brands, what companies come to mind? Apple? Cocoa Cola? Nike? Do you love the products solely, or also how these companies interact with you in your daily life?
As an SMB owner, you’ve most likely become aware of the need to step up your branding efforts. You’ve also most likely become instantly overwhelmed at the mere idea of taking on what can be an expensive and demanding initiative.
The good news is, effective branding is much easier and more cost-effective than you might think, provided you avoid the following 5 common mistakes.
- Not Seeing the Bigger Picture
You already know that developing a strong brand is incredibly advantageous from a consumer-relationship perspective. The stronger your brand, the more top-of-mind you become for your local market.
But branding can also be highly beneficial for SEO marketing. While branding is not an obvious factor in Google’s algorithm, it definitely influences ranking. Branded websites are far more likely to get quality backlinks as well as have more engagement with website users. And if there’s anything Google takes notice of, it’s quality backlinks and happy website users.
So, try to look at the bigger picture. A branding initiative could lead to both awareness benefits and a boost in website traffic.
- A Lack of Cohesiveness
When consumers interact with your brand, their experience should match no matter what channel they engage with. For instance, an ad on Facebook should have the same look and feel as an ad in the newspaper or on TV. This cohesiveness will allow your audience to instantly recognize you.
Cohesive branding means your logo, typeface, colors, images, text, tagline and the “voice” or tone you use should remain consistent across all channels and campaigns. Cohesiveness will give your users a seamless experience of your brand and you will be rewarded for that in loyalty and sales.
- Making Things Complicated
It can be tempting to go a bit crazy when developing your brand. You have one shot to get it right but so many ideas on what you like or what you think represents your vision the best. You’ll have to pair down and keep things simple, or you’ll end up with too many distractions.
For example, a logo that uses five colors and three different graphic elements will just confuse your audience. Take a note from some of the biggest brands like Coca Cola and Nike. They keep things very simple and have done so from day one.
- Being Vague
While you’ll want to keep your colors, typeface and images in check, you must be sure that your brand actually represents your company and its value proposition. Vague or generic branding doesn’t work.
For instance, catchphrases like “best-selling” “award-winning” or “new and improved” have been so overused, they no longer hold any meaning with consumers.
Focus on creating clear language, logos and imagery that highlight your company’s value proposition.
- Not Monitoring Your Brand’s Usage
Developing and launching your brand is but part one of the branding equation. Part two is closely monitoring how others are using your brand image on your behalf. Not keeping a close eye on this will result in affiliates publishing your logo but in the wrong colors or worse. You’ve worked too hard to let others, though well-intentioned, skew your careful branding efforts. So, keep a close eye on how your brand is used.
While branding takes thought and comprehensive planning, it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. As long as you avoid these 5 common mistakes, you should be able to develop a brand that is instantly recognizable and connects with your target audience.