Most people would say "Logo" when in reality, a logo is only a small portion of the process. "Brand" or "Branding" is one of those words that tends to be thrown around without much thought or understanding.
When done correctly, it evokes the personality and emotion behind the business which is then visually represented with the logo and identity design (Stationery, products, packaging, signage, etc.).
Unfortunately, a lot of business owners don’t see the importance of establishing a brand. Instead they choose to rush the process or cut corners, never experiencing the benefits and potential growth.
So why is having a "brand" important?
A brand not only allows your prospects to recognize you for the services you provide but it also helps potential customers understand who you are. When branding is taken seriously and done right, it shows your customer that you understand their needs and have the services/products to solve their problem. Branding helps reinforce confidence, credibility, and loyalty to your customer. People also like to feel connected to who they’re purchasing from.
So, establishing who you are as a business...sounds like a no brainer, right? Wrong. A LOT of businesses fail to recognize the importance and significance of having a brand or they go about it the wrong way.
Some common branding mistakes:Failing to establish who you are as a business
Without knowing what your business is about, how can you expect your customers to understand? Most definitely, the biggest mistake a businesses can make in the branding process is rushing or skipping over the self discovery phase. This phase of the process involves being able to answer questions such as:
- What do you stand for?
- Who is your target audience?
- How are you helping your customer with your services/products?
- If your business was a person, how would you describe it?
- What makes you different from your competition?
By answering these types of questions, you are setting brand standards and ideals for your company, ensuring that your customers and employees understand who your company is and what it represents. Understanding your brand also makes it easier for the visual aspects of the brand to work fluidly, which brings me to the next common branding mistake …
Not hiring a professional
While you may think you know your business better than anybody, chances are, you probably aren't a qualified graphic designer. When you choose to hire a designer, you're choosing to hire a professional who is trained and understands how to visually represent your brand.
The biggest branding mistake a business owner can make is attempting to create their own logo or having someone do it for them quickly and cheaply; which happens all too often. Business owners rely on competition based sites or a favor from a friend to get a quick logo. Using these methods will not end with a positive result. These concepts are typically recycled ideas that aren't unique or special.
You want to communicate professionalism and credibility to your customers, right? So choose a professional who can capture that.
Choosing trendy over timeless
As a designer, part of my job is keeping up with the latest design trends. That being said, I know that trends come and go, and in most cases aren’t best suited for a logo. When your designer conceptualizes your logo they should take your business model and industry into consideration when choosing the color palette, typography, and imagery.
You may be tempted to jump on the “trendy” bandwagon in order to look current but you’ll be thankful in 10+ years when you have a logo that has stood the test of time. Of course it is okay for a logo to evolve slightly to keep things fresh, but great evolution stays true to its original form.
A great example of this is Google who opted for a softer san serif typeface. Although they updated the look of the logo, there’s still brand recognition because of the color palette and tilted “e”.
It’s also important to trust the designer who is working with you on the project. It’s great that you have a vision for how you see your logo, but it may not match up with what your brand is. Choosing a Script font in a pink color probably isn’t going to work for your construction company. Your designer will know what is going to work for the industry and your business.
Not having brand consistency
Once a brand has been established, it is essential that you stick to it.
There is nothing more confusing and discrediting about a business than a lack of brand consistency. Every single piece of marketing should follow your brand and include your logo. A professional designer should provide you multiple versions and file formats of your logo as well as a brand manual/guide. A brand guide is essentially a document containing all visual elements of your brand such as fonts, colors, icons, and even guidelines of how to appropriately use your logo.
If your business has multiple locations or franchises, do not neglect brand consistency. You could hurt a customer’s experience and cause confusion not only for them, but for your staff.
How can branding benefit a business's online presence?
When people are in search for a particular product or service, they turn to search engines to help them decide. However, appearing on search engines isn’t guaranteed to gain the trust of viewers.
People want to know that what they’re purchasing is coming from a credible business. For that reason, branding has a much bigger impact online then we realize. With so much competition online, it’s become necessary to be memorable and connect with your customers. Thankfully, having a brand allows for better online marketing because the research has already been done and goals have already been established, and are therefore easier to achieve.
Social media platforms can elevate your brand awareness, making it easy to connect with your customers, and giving you a voice that is more personal and relatable. Through the power of a website and social media platforms, businesses are now able to create fresh and curated content that reinforces their brand, leading to more online recognition which ultimately leads to better ranking, and a bigger bottom line for your business.
Graphic designer and cold-brew coffee aficionado. Born and (kind of?) raised in Scotland but ended up in Louisiana. She is passionate about design, whether it’s web design, branding, or illustration. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, collecting posters, and being awesome. Homemade honey and cheese supplier (#organic).