You have a magical online empire that you’re conquering the world with, but does your identity stack up? I can’t stress enough how much an impact a quality brand has on your business. It can literally make or break it. A brand encompasses everything from the most basic thing like a logo, to more complex graphics like photography choices, color palette and other design elements. Don’t undervalue the role that branding has in your business. So for those of you not trained in the design field, there’s a couple of branding mistakes to avoid like the plague.
1. Ignore the Benefits of a Cohesive Brand
Let me start by saying that as a brand designer myself, I have horror stories of people coming to me wanting a media kit without having branding to begin with. While I understand not investing in branding when starting your business, there is no way around it if you want to have a memorable brand that people trust. In order to create marketing materials, a website and even packaging, you need a brand first. How will you create a cohesive look that people will recognize you with if everything you have is different?
Your website, logo, photography, packaging, business card, social profiles allllll need to have the same look, feel, tone. It just doesn’t cut it anymore to slap on a logo on everything and call it a day. You need a strong brand in order to have a presence that people trust.
2. Purchase a Cheap Logo (or Have Your Cousin Do It For Free)
I cringe every time I meet someone who tells me they bought their logo on Fivver. Listen I get it, branding can sometimes be an investment, but you get what you pay for. More often than not, when you get a logo designed for free or on the cheap you will end up with a logo that does not represent your dream, values or the quality that you deserve. You have a stellar product, you deserve a stellar brand. People will trust brands that look professional, and getting a logo from that cousin who knows Photoshop will not be a smart investment (even if its free).
You are most likely going to have to replace this cheap logo down the road, so really you are spending more money by having to re-do it. You also would have lost a ton of followers, customers and clients because your logo was not reflective of your business. You deserve quality, and it is best to invest in something that reflects you and leaves a lasting impression on people.
3. Following Trends
Trends change all the time, they are not meant to last. There is always a surplus of logos that look exactly the same at any given time because of a current trend everyone wants to jump on (hello Calligraphy!). Trends will be replaced by new trends in the blink of an eye. You want to make sure that your logo will stand the test of time and not fall victim to the death of a trend.
Branding should be timeless… which is why I always try to steer my own clients away from whatever is popular in the design world. A brand has to represent YOU and your dream. You need to take into account the values and goals of your unique business, not to mention asking yourself if you’re going to like that style a year later. A trend may not represent who you are or where you want your business to go, so make sure your branding will reflect that for years to come.
4. Thinking Minimalism = Too Simple
Simple beats complex every time. You want to create a brand that is easy to read, memorable and takes away the guess work of who you are, what you do and what your vibe is. I know that a lot of people out there confuse minimalism for being too simple. I know sometimes people think “more is more” wanting everything and the kitchen sink inside their logo. Flourishes and taglines and illustrations and everything you can think of. The beauty of a brand that makes an impact and lasts, is that it is elegantly simple, AKA minimal.
Pick any big brand and you’ll see what I mean. You don’t see Apple throwing in a bunch of stuff along with their simple type logo. Minimalism isn’t bad, it just gives a little breathing room to let every single piece of your branding shine together. So let’s change that mindset shall we? Keep it simple stupid!
5. Rushing the Design Process
The design process varies from business to business and it is so important not to speed up the process. In order to create a stellar brand you need to lay down a foundation and it takes time. This is why cheap options are a no-go, because more than likely there has been no ground work that support that branding or single logo.
When you take time to invest in defining the vision behind your brand you give your designer the tools to create a solid strategy that will make for a great branding experience. What is your business purpose? Values? Why is this dream so important? These and more details help to truly reflect your business so that in the end you are left with a brand that fits you perfectly! By doing this, you are less likely to re-brand in the future, or to hate your brand.
6. Neglecting Copywriting
Copywriting is one of the most crucial parts of a cohesive brand. You not only want to look good, but you want to sound good as well. Your brand needs a voice. It will shine though your blog posts, Instagram captions, product descriptions, emails… the list is endless! Words carry magic and more often than not they are forgotten.
You need to start using your words and your voice to share your unique story and values. Beautiful photography is cool and all, but to connect with your readers, to form a bond with a customer and establish trust with a client, you need to use your voice. Pay attention to how you communicate in every aspect of your business, make sure its consistent and representative of your brand. You want the visuals and the voice to go hand in hand.
7. Changing Your Branding Frequently
I’ve been mentioning trust a whole lot, but this is because branding builds trust. Imagine that one best friend who is always there for you, who you know inside and out, who you connect with… Now imagine that same best friend suddenly becomes flakey and starts changing her whole look and personality left and right. Would you still trust her with your secrets? Your inner most thoughts?
When you build a brand, you are offering a solution to others, whether through a service or product you are there for them and they have come to trust you for giving them those solutions. If you are constantly changing your logo, style or tone and have no consistency in your brand, they are not going to trust you anymore. This is why investing in branding that reflects who you are goes a long way. It will keep you from flip flopping with your own brand because you’ll have something you love that works.
8. Forgetting to Add Yourself + Your Story
The power of branding comes from YOU. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you should hide your personality. You are your branding! You created this kickass business and you have a unique story that goes along with it. People crave authenticity. In a world full of fake moments captured by selfies, people want raw, real stories that they can connect with.
Show off your personality and tell your story with your voice. Why is it so important to you to make this business work? Why do you want to offer this product to others? What brings you joy? When you are honest and open sharing both the struggle and the wins, your brand becomes stronger. Nowadays authentic brands are more profitable, so don’t be afraid (or shy!) to share yourself. Putting a face to a brand also increases the trust factor.
Which of these are you most guilty of?