Owning a Tourism Business is awesome

30 Apr 2006

Top 10 Branding Mistakes

Branding, a commonly used term throughout the business world, essentially means creating an identifiable entity that makes a promise of value. It means that you have created a consciousness, an image, an awareness of your business. It is your company's personality. Numerous businesses try, but many fail at cre ating a brand. Here are 10 of the most common mistakes.

  1. Not thinking analytically. Too many companies think of branding as marketing or as having a catch phrase or a logo. It is more than simply trying to get attention. Branding is providing something that warrants attention on a consistent basis, something your audience wants and is not getting from your competitors. For example it could be letting people know that you are providing the best customer service in your industry, not just through your tagline or logo, but by actually providing the best customer service in your industry. For more on the definition of a brand, read What Is a Brand?
  2. Not maintaining your brand. Too often, in a shaky economy, businesses are quick to change or alter their identity. Too much of this confuses your steady customers. For guidance, think of big brands — Nike, for instance, has used "Just Do It" as a logo for years. One rule of thumb is that when you have become tired of your logo, tagline, and branding efforts, that's when they are sinking in with customers.
  3. Trying to appease everyone. You will never be able to brand yourself in such a way that everyone will like you. Typically the best you can do is to focus on the niche market for your product.
  4. Not knowing who you really are. If you are not the fastest overnight delivery service in the world, do not profess to be. Too many business owners think they are providing something that they are not. Know your strengths and weaknesses through honest analysis of what you do best.
  5. Not fully committing to branding. Often business owners let the marketing and advertising department handle such things as "branding," while they work on sales and other important parts of the business. But sales and branding are tied together as integral aspects of your business. Many Fortune 500 companies are where they are today because branding made them household names.
  6. Not sharing the joke. If only the people in your office get a joke, it is not going to play to a large audience. The same holds true for branding. If your campaign is created for you and not "them," you will not succeed.
  7. Not having a dedicated marketing plan. Many companies come up with ideas to market themselves and establish a brand identity but have neither the resources nor a plan as to how they will reach their audience. You must have a well-thought out marketing plan in place before your branding strategy will work. For help putting together a marketing plan, see How to Build a Sound Marketing Plan for Your Business.
  8. Using too much jargon. Business-to-business-based companies are most guilty of piling on the jargon. From benchmark to strategic partnering to value added, jargon does not benefit branding. If anything, it muddles your message.
  9. Trying too hard to be different. Being different for the sake of being different is not branding. Yes, you will be noticed, but not necessarily in a way that increases sales.
  10. Not knowing when you have got them. Companies that have succeeded in branding need to know when to stop trying to establish a brand and when to switch to maintaining that which they have established. Monitor the results of your branding campaign. If your small business is a local household word, you can spend less time trying to become a household word and more time trying to maintain the image people have of your business.

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