It takes an enormous amount of time, effort, perseverance, determination, consistency, and action to build a strong and powerful brand … But it only takes one negative brand experience to undermine your credibility and sabotage your success in the eyes of your ideal clients and customers.
Here are 8 branding tips to help you avoid the most common brand mistakes small business make:
Branding Tip 1: Stick to Your Brand Fonts
Don’t use gimmicky, cheesy fonts to be “different” and stand out from the crowd. Using fonts with “wow” and “pop” aren’t going help your brand, neither is changing your fonts in each piece of marketing material! Too many fonts, cheesy fonts, or constantly changing fonts will give your brand an amateur and unprofessional feel. Stick to your official brand fonts to build credibility and promote your professionalism, and maybe every once is a while add in one unique font for a special use case. (NOTE: The same rule applies to your brand colors!)
Branding Tip 2: Hire Experts Who Will Take Care of You
Don’t try to cut corners and save a few bucks right now, only to wish you had made a different decision later. When it comes to something as important as your website — the center of your entire online existence — invest in a true expert who will take care of you, teach you, and train you. You wouldn’t hire a gardener to pour your concrete, or a bricklayer to refinish your floors, so don’t hire a virtual assistant or your neighbor’s son to build your website.
Branding Tip 3: Use a Branded Email Template
Don’t cheap out and use one of the free templates provided by your email marketing provider — because everyone knows they are free! Demonstrate your professionalism, expertise, and commitment to brand excellence by investing in a custom designed email newsletter template that coordinates with your website and all other marketing materials to reinforce your brand.
Branding Tip 4: The Standard is Standard For a Reason
Don’t sacrifice usability for uniqueness. An odd-shaped business card will get thrown away if it doesn’t fit in a standard business card holder. The standards, whether it is print materials specifications, book dimensions, website specifications, or coding practices, the standards are there to provide you with a baseline of quality and flexibility, as well as long term usage.
Branding Tip 5: Stay Positive
People want to do business with positive people. They want to be around happy people who make them feel good and lift them up. Never tear others down or speak ill of clients in public — or your prospects make never convert to clients out of fear you’ll talk about them too! Also, never engage in a destructive public battle with a troll. Instead, honor their opinion, make your statement and move on. If they persist, block them.
Branding Tip 6: Take Responsibility and Own Your Stuff
Many business owners just brush problems under the rug and think that if they ignore them, they will go away. Unfortunately, no matter what it is, you can never simply ignore a problem. You as a business owner, need to own your stuff, admit your mistakes, fess up when you screw up, take responsibility for your actions, and always put the customer first — if you can do this, you’ll create tons of happy clients and customers.
Branding Tip 7: Watch What You Automate
Automation is the key to small business success, especially for entrepreneurs and independent service professionals. But be careful and watch what you automate! Stay up to date on current events, major news stories, and changes in your business, and be ready to adjust anything you have automated quickly and efficiently. Several brands have had to clean up PR nightmares from automating happy tweets and social media posts during major disasters.
Branding Tip 8: Always Put Your Brand First
I see it happen over and over — business owners invest in an incredible brand and website and they build a powerful, personal, profitable platform to support them in their business growth. It’s an amazing process to be a part of, and the hardest part is watching business owners’ actions quietly erode their reputation and the public perception of their brand with mediocre design of their supporting marketing materials — like investing in a fabulous new website and using Microsoft Word to “make a brochure” yourself to promote it … or having a virtual assistant who sort of knows Photoshop create something as important as your speaker one sheet.
Before you create anything that will be representing your brand in public, think about the reputation you are building, and what choice is in the best interest of your brand for the long term, not what is best for your wallet at this moment.
Have you noticed any other brand mistakes? Have you made one of these branding mistakes? I’d love to hear about your thoughts below!