11 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

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What’s one branding mistake you see enterprises make most often, and how can it be avoided?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Making Your Brand Too Similar to a Well-Known One

Many businesses will try to create a brand that’s familiar with another name brand thinking that they can ride the coattails of that business’s popularity. The problem is that you may find yourself standing in the shadow of that business and get completely ignored. Be as original as possible and then hire a social media expert to optimize your online visibility. – Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

2. Hiring Too Quickly

When you hire fast, details slip. Emphasizing priorities for highly visible branding decisions will prevent you from frustrating clients and customers with mixed messages. Additionally, a strong value of the chain of command will help you maintain brand consistency and strength. – Zev Herman, Superior Lighting

3. Not Trademarking Your Brand

Everyone may like to think they are being original when it comes to branding, but you’ll be surprised at how many entrepreneurs share the same idea. The best way to avoid someone reaping the benefits of a business plan that’s similar to yours is to protect the idea or brand by copywriting and/or trademarking it. – Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC deguns.net

4. Assuming That You Know Your Audience’s Values

The brand has to have values that resonate with the audience or it will mean nothing. All too often, companies think they know what their audiences value and focus on one perspective, but they have missed the point and fall flat. Find out what matters to customers and the audience first and then build the brand attributes around that. – Angela Ruth, Calendar

5. Not Focusing On Your Brand’s Value to the Customer

Your product or service solves a problem. Too often, brands invest 100% of their time and resources telling, instead of showing, how they do that. Don’t worry about proving that your brand is hip. Instead, ground your messaging in what you have to offer the person considering becoming a customer. What do they want to know or learn? Prioritize adding value and the audience will follow. – Ryan Wilson, FiveFifty

6. Being ‘Too Perfect’

Being too perfect makes it hard for people to engage and emotionally respond to your brand. We’re all human and our strongest responses are actually to others emotions. If you are not showing something real in your brand, then you’ll lose that human quality that people want to engage with. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

7. Being Unable to Evaluate Your Brand Objectively

Brand building is about how the world sees your brand, not how you or your employees see the brand. It’s difficult to remove the context you already have and step back to evaluate a brand objectively as if you’re seeing it for the first time, each time. The best brands are ones that are able to regularly refresh for their audiences, not for the personal preferences of a marketing department. – Roger Lee, Captain401

8. Having Inconsistent Visual Branding

Between digital and traditional channels, companies aren’t consistent with their branding, which confuses the audience. Corporate identity used to be a highly regarded science, but when digital branding arrived, it fell out of favor and was seen as old school. The discipline with visual presentations of a brand found in corporate identity manuals is just as relevant now they ever were. – Andrew O’Connor, American Addiction Centers

9. Using Borrowed Images or Messaging

With the rise of social media, consumers are more adept than ever at identifying if a company’s voice is authentic. You will see it on Instagram all the time. When you follow a company that produced canned images and messages, it stands out glaringly. Instead, companies have to be more transparent and authentic than ever. Stock images are a big mistake as are borrowing quotes. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

10. Straying Too Far From Your Core Identity

A brand is built on consistency, whether it’s service, price or quality. Don’t follow shiny objects into the ditch because they sound good at the time. If you’ve gone to the trouble to define who you are and what you do, stay in your lane and be committed to your core values and strategies. – Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors

11. Leaving Your Branding Up to Resellers

One of the biggest branding mistakes is when brands do not have control of their product detail pages on Amazon and other marketplaces. Instead, they allow their resellers to contribute product content which does not always portray the brand message. Every brand should have 100% control of their product content on marketplaces. – Will Land, Accessory Export, LLC

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