As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. From managing product quality to providing the best service, it can all become overwhelming quite quickly. So it does get very stressful when you put in all this effort, but the results don’t come through. You spent so much time building your business that you forgot about your brand.
Wait, what? Aren’t they the same thing?
Well, not quite. A brand is what makes your business different from other businesses. Your logo, the way you talk, the colours you use, all add up to create your brand.
Let’s take a look at some of the common branding mistakes you may be making because of which your brand might not be working for you.
A brand is much more than just a logo. It’s more than the fonts, colours and graphics you use. These are just the tools used to communicate your brand. What your brand is really made up of is your business’s vision, mission, your ideal customers, your core values and your brand message.
It’s important to know what your brand is about before you create any visuals for it. Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. But when done right, you can really connect with your customers and grow your business.
There are so many times when our client’s say something like “our audience is anybody looking for …” or “people from age 5 to 65.” Think about it...would you talk to a 5-year-old the way you talk to a 65-year-old? Such a broad definition of your audience is a sure shot way to fail.
When you’re defining your audience, you need to think of the perfect, most amazing and ideal customer. All your content, visuals, offerings should be for this dream customer.
In today’s world of DIY, it’s tempting to cut costs and just design your logo on your own. But this logo is going to be everywhere. On your website, your business cards, T-shirts, ads etc. All of this is going to have a huge impact on how your brand is received by your audience, so you really don’t want your logo to look substandard.
A professional designer can help you translate your brand’s message into visuals. They’ll pick the right font and the right colours so that your brand looks and feels right and your customers trust you.
Think of your brand as your company’s personality. It’s how the world recognizes you and begins to trust you. If you see someone change how they look and act all the time, you won’t feel like you know who they are, and you certainly wouldn’t trust them. That’s why it’s important to define a few guidelines for your brand.
A brand guide should define logo usage, colours, fonts, icons, imagery style, design layouts, the tone of voice etc. These will help make sure that every time your brand communicates with someone, it does so with consistency.
Okay, you’ve created a brand guide, now comes the tough part: Stick to it!
Don’t just let your brand guide lie in some dusty folder on your computer; use it on a regular basis. When you’re designing a social media campaign or adding a page to your website, refer to your brand guide and use consistent fonts, colours, style etc. this is how people begin recognizing your brand when they see it, you’ll become a familiar face.
It’s tempting to change things; you may get tired of looking at the same sort of visuals again and again. But think about it, if Coca-Cola got sick of its red colour and changed the colour of its cans every few months, would you feel like you know, like and trust the brand? Probably not. Consistency will help you build a relationship with your customers, so stick to the visual story you have created.
Building a brand is an ongoing activity, creating a logo and a great website isn’t enough. Every marketing effort you make is an opportunity to build your brand. That’s why it’s important to have an action plan. What strategies are you going to implement to market your business? How are you going to align them with your brand’s mission?
This is where efforts such as content marketing and email marketing come into play, not only is it important to communicate with your customers on a regular basis but also to remain true to your brand through all your efforts.
Avoiding these mistakes is a good start to improve your branding and make it work for you.
Anuja is the Co-founder and CEO of RedAlkemi Online Pvt. Ltd., a digital marketing agency helping clients with their end to end online presence. Anuja has 30 years of work experience as a successful entrepreneur and has co-founded several ventures since 1986. She and her team are passionate about helping SMEs achieve measurable online success for their business. Anuja holds a Bachelors degree in Advertising from the Government College of Fine Arts, Chandigarh, India.