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  • Spencer Campeau

The 10 Biggest Branding Mistakes (And What We Can Learn From Them)



Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business. It's what sets you apart from your competitors, and it helps to establish trust with customers and build loyalty with them over time. But there are many things that can go wrong with branding, and some brands have made mistakes that they will never live down. Let's look at some of those biggies—and learn from their fumbles instead!


Don't try to be something you're not.


It's tempting, especially when we're in the process of building a brand, to want to appeal to everyone and everything. We think: "If I can just offer this one thing that people love, then I'll have an instant success on my hands." The truth is that no one can do everything well at once (and certainly not cheaply).


If you try too many different things at once—or if you try too hard—you might end up being unoriginal or predictable in your messaging and offerings. It's better for your brand if you focus on doing one thing really well instead of trying to be everything all at once.


Be true to who you are as a person and what your business is all about. Be authentic. Your audience will feel more connected with your brand if they know that everything it does—from products or services, to social media posts—is real and genuine.


Don't make promises you can't keep.


The second biggest branding mistake is making promises that you can't keep. This applies to all aspects of your brand: don't overpromise to your customers, employees, and yourself.


Your customers deserve honesty and transparency from their favorite brands; this means being real about what you can do for them as well as what you can't do or won't do. They want to feel like they're getting the most bang for their buck—and if they're not getting it, then they want to know why not before they spend money with you again.


This goes double for your employees; if they feel like their hard work isn't being recognized by management or that there's no room for advancement within the company (or even worse—that there was but now there isn’t), then morale will suffer greatly and productivity will plummet along with it.


It's important to be honest with yourself about what you can do and what you can't do, too. If you're overworked, it's time for some self-care or a break from work altogether. If your job is starting to feel like drudgery and boredom sets in every day when you clock in at nine o'clock on Monday through Friday with nary a saucy email to break up the monotony, then maybe it's time for something new.


Don't fear new technology.


At this point, it's a safe assumption that most businesses have heard about the power of new technology. From email and social media to artificial intelligence and virtual reality, new technologies are disrupting how we live our lives—and the brands that are able to harness them will be better positioned than their competitors.


In fact, one study found that 96% of marketers believe digital marketing is crucial to their success. In other words: It's time to get on board!


But while many companies view new technology as an opportunity for growth and increased efficiency, others fear what these developments could mean for their brand identity. They don't know how they should integrate innovation into their marketing strategy or if they even need to do so at all.


The truth is, new technology is a good thing. It can help you communicate with your customers more effectively, it can make you more efficient at what you do, and it can help you be more creative in the way that you approach marketing challenges.


Don't be afraid to innovate.


This is the one mistake that I’ve personally made and it was a big one.


The first time I tried to innovate, it was really just an excuse to do something different. I wanted to be creative in order to stand out from the competition and show everyone how clever I was.


But as we all know, wanting something doesn’t make it happen! Innovation isn’t just about creating new products and services; it can also mean solving existing problems or bringing new audiences into your brand through social media platforms, events or channels like YouTube where your content may be consumed by people who don't even know what you do yet!


By being innovative and finding ways to stand out from the crowd, you can set yourself apart from everyone else in your industry. The key is knowing how much time to devote and what resources are necessary for implementing these types of changes without losing track of your goals.


If you know where you’re going but aren't sure what direction will get there most efficiently, then it might be worth asking an expert for their opinion before making any big decisions!


Don't ignore your customers' needs.


Your customers are the most important part of your business. They're the reason you exist and they'll be the reason for your success in the future. You can't ignore them; instead, you need to learn from their mistakes so that you can avoid making them yourself.


If you've ever had a bad customer service experience or read an angry review of a company online, then this lesson is obvious: customers have high expectations when it comes to brands meeting their needs.


If a brand fails at providing what customers want (or even introduces something new that causes more problems than it solves), then those angry reviews will surface faster than ever before—and they'll be more damaging because social media has amplified word-of-mouth marketing so much in recent years!


Customer needs may vary widely, but they're all important. As a business owner or marketer, you need to be aware of the customer's needs in order to provide a better experience. If you want your brand to succeed, make sure that you're meeting those needs.


Do a bit of market research, but don't rely on it exclusively.


Market research is a good starting point, but you can't rely on it exclusively. It's not perfect and can be biased by the way researchers frame questions and ask them, as well as the answers given by respondents who may have skewed views because they want to please or just don't know better.


This leaves market research open to manipulation by marketers and business owners who want to justify their ideas once they already have them. This kind of thinking leads us down an inevitable path: "We need to make sure our customers like this product/service before we invest time and money into launching it." But what if some customers don't see the value?


What if you're missing out on a whole new segment of customers who will love your offering? These are only some reasons why relying too heavily on market research could leave your company in trouble (and empty pocketbooks).


Don't focus too much on looking good.


Design is important, but it shouldn't be the only thing that matters. Yes, you need to design a brand identity that's consistent and easy-to-remember, but too much consistency can make your brand boring and predictable.


Don't get me wrong—I'm not saying you should go crazy with your branding just because it's fun to do so. But if you're trying to appeal to people who are into brands (like myself), then you'll want something unique enough that people will remember your business over time because of its interesting visual elements or style choices rather than just being good looking in general.


The key is finding that balance between consistency and creativity. You want your brand identity to be consistent enough so that people know what to expect from you, but not so repetitive that it becomes boring. Some brands focus too much on looking good, while others have failed because they didn't pay attention to the customer experience at all.


Be willing to change with the times.


By now, you’re probably beginning to see a theme. The biggest branding mistakes that companies make are the results of failing to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in their environments. If your company is willing and able to change with the times, it might even be able to take advantage of new opportunities and increase its market share.


The previous sections explored how important it is for businesses not only to understand their customers but also how those customers’ needs and wants shift over time. That kind of adaptability can mean the difference between success and failure.


Businesses that are able to grow—or even survive—through changing circumstances tend not only have clear goals but also strong leadership at their core who will guide them through any challenges they face along the way.


When it comes to branding, the most important thing is that you’re willing and able to change. In other words, don’t be afraid to shake things up if your company is experiencing a rough patch.


Make sure that your products or services are still relevant; consider rebranding if necessary (or at least updating your logo); and continue updating your marketing strategy so that it’s always in line with what consumers want right now.


Be creative and original---or at least smart enough to avoid copying someone else's ideas.


A big part of maintaining your brand is making sure you're being original. If someone can't tell what's yours and what's not, that means your brand has lost its value. If you're going to be creative, be creative in a way that makes sense for you and for your audience.

Also, don't copy other people's ideas.


There's nothing wrong with being inspired by something else and wanting to improve upon it, but if it's so similar that there are no major differences between the two products or services, then no one will see any reason why they would need yours over theirs (or anyone else’s).


This is especially important if there is a company that has something better than yours. If they see you as just another version of their product, they may come after you for copyright infringement or other legal issues.


Brands that are authentic and take risks have more success than those that play it safe and don't listen to their customers' needs.


If you're a brand, then authenticity is key to your success. You can't bring people together if you don't know who your audience is and what it wants from you.


But the importance of being authentic doesn't end there: It's also important to be open-minded, willing to listen and learn from mistakes, and ready to take risks—all of which are hallmarks of successful brands such as Apple, Amazon (which has famously never run an ad), Google, Patagonia and more.


So how can we apply these lessons? Be brave enough not only to tell customers what they want but also how they want it delivered (in other words: no matter how traditional or innovative). And if things don't go according to plan? Learn from it!


Conclusion


To sum it all up...


Brands are more than just names, logos and slogans. They’re an extension of who we are and how we want to be seen in the world. If a company wants to succeed, it needs to make sure that its brand is doing what it should: telling customers why they should buy from you, instead of from someone else.


It’s also important that brands stay consistent with their messaging—if not for themselves, then for the sake of their customers who rely on them.


And finally: Don’t forget about good customer service! Without this crucial component, even the most well-crafted branding efforts will fall short.

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