So you’ve spent months lovingly crafting every last detail on your product. You spent sleepless nights thinking about the perfect name for your new brand. You’ve opened a store, and manage to get some people running it. Then, everyone and their uncle tell you to sell on social media, so you spent some money on advertising.
You sit back and wait for the sales to roll in. Then it trickles, very slowly. What went wrong? Could it be that you’ve made a few brand mistakes? See if you identify with any (or all) of the below.
Brand Mistake No.1: You sell to everyone
Yes, we all want everyone in the world to know our brand and buy repeatedly. But that does not mean your market is everyone. In fact, a market of ‘everyone’ is actually ‘no one’. You risk being so generic that you mean nothing to no one. And let’s face it, no brand has the budget to promote and sell to everyone.
Unless you can branch out and create specific ways to market to different groups of people, you cannot expect your brand to fit into all of the population. When you have a general strategy to market to all kinds of people, your brand would appeal to none since it is completely drowned by competitors with more strategic focus in each market segment.
Brand Mistake No.2: You play copycat with other brands
This grave mistake is a major one. We’re not talking about knock-offs or imitation products. We’re referring to brands that copy imagery and product made by bigger brands, usually market leaders, while still using their own name.
For example, there is an instant noodle brand that has so many similarities with Maggi mee, a more well-known instant noodle brand. Both are instant noodle products, both use red and yellow in their packaging and logo, and both are distributed for the same market. Which do you think wins in the long run?
While it might be a common strategy, it is definitely not sustainable because your brand would be lost among the marketing spend for the bigger brand. The market leader is a leader for a reason, if you look, feel and talk like the market leader, people might as well buy the real deal. After all, the market leader has the higher brand recall and market share. Everyone roots for the underdog, but buys the market favourite.
Brand Mistake No.3: You make your brand boring
Let’s test this. Ask around your employees and customers to come up with three adjectives to describe your company under a minute.
If they come up with identical adjectives (e.g. flexible, intelligent, daring), that means your brand has a consistent message that is well understood (or brainwashed). However, if each of them gave unique, dissimilar adjectives, it can be an indicator that your brand lacks the consistency. Your brand might have a mixed, or little, personality.
Personality makes a brand interesting and real. Without it, your brand will be bland and boring, unrelatable to your customers.
Brand Mistake No. 4: You make your people guess your brand
This is another major brand mistake on cases where businesses are mercilessly murdered. When you don’t set a perception of your brand, your customers will, and each one of them might think of your brand very differently. Fat chance that they will perceive it to your advantage.
How did BMW became known as ‘the’ car for the elites? How did Gucci became ‘the’ brand for the rich and famous? They don’t happen naturally or because people want them to be. They happen through years of effective positioning, put into effect through clever communication.
Since branding is all about communication, no matter how good your product or service is, when you don’t position yourself, your brand will not communicate well to your customers.
Brand Mistake No.5: Your branding is inconsistent
This can happen two ways. First, when what you say is not what you do. You claim your delivery service is fast but your customers experienced delayed deliveries most of the time. This inconsistency hurts the customer’s confidence in your brand. When customers are unsure of what they’ll be buying, chances are they won’t buy it at all.
Another way you can be inconsistent is when you are disorganised in presenting your brand across multiple platforms. Slapping a logo on everything and calling it a day is not enough. Print media, social media and electronic media all have different applications for effective branding. Your brand persona, brand identity and everything in between has to come across the same way whether you advertise on Facebook or printing out menus and business cards.
If you’re guilty of any or some of the brand mistakes above, be sure to take action today to get it right. Every action, no matter how small, will build up to have significant impact to your brand. Make sure your brand is consistently on the right path. To find out more about what you can do, we’ve laid out the steps in out brand strategy playbook ‘The CEO’s Strategy Playbook: The Brand Building Playbook for Business Leaders’, which is available for download here.