Building a brand is an ongoing challenge, whether your budget is small or large. Brands with big budgets can afford a few misses, but for small and medium businesses, wasting money is particularly damaging. Strategic errors lead to tactical mistakes, and leave your business vulnerable in the long run.
Fortunately, new R & D into brands and buyers give us robust evidence-based knowledge that we can use to create smarter brand strategies. However this knowledge is not yet widely known — which means avoidable mistakes are still common. Here are three common branding mistakes, and how to stop making them:
Mistake #1: Paying too much attention to too few customers
Think about your customers — do you focus on a special few, sending them offers, worry if they don’t buy from you for a while? This is a mistake, because while you are stalking these special few, you neglect many others who do or could buy from you. Neglected customers won’t hate you, they will just stop turning up. You won’t even know they are gone until you look at the bottom line at the end of the quarter and wonder why sales are down. Many customers stop buying from you for reasons out of your control, such as moving. If you are not looking for the next customer to acquire, your brand will slowly wither away. Don’t spend too much time on a select few customers, it’s smarter to have a broad acquisition strategy.
Mistake #2: Forgetting the fundamentals
Do you worry about how you are different from your competitors? What you can offer that they don’t? Are you constantly tweaking your products or services to offer that extra special new thing that will lure customers to your door? This is a mistake because when you focus on being different from competitors, you can easily forget that buyers want the whole chocolate sundae — not just the cherry on top. Remember every day you battle for buyer attention, when you win that battle, use that time well. Buyers have busy lives and easily forget, so remember to focus on the fundamentals — such as the range of services you offer — these help make it easier for the buyer to remember to buy from you.
Mistake #3: Getting bored too easily with the brand’s identity
When was the last time you were tempted to change your logo? When you live and breathe your brand, it’s easy to get bored and feel like a change — but your world is not your buyers’ world. Your buyers’ world is one of constant clutter, distraction and a desire to make buying as easy as possible. Your (current and potential) buyers remember things like your logo to make your brand easier to find in the future. Each time buyers use this knowledge it is reinforced, it gets stronger. Don’t ruin all their (and your) hard work by changing your brand’s identity. It’s like inviting someone to dinner and then moving house (without telling them). If you are bored, don’t change your logo, change your thinking.