Competition is tight and you’re not sure where to start. It feels like you’ll never be able to charge more for your products and services. If winning the hearts of your customers is your most painful challenge, then it’s time to focus on your branding. So what are the common pitfalls when it comes to building a memorable brand?
Here are the top 3 things that are keeping you from your branding success and how you can overcome them.
1. Focusing on the tangibles
A brand is not a logo, a custom font, or a color palette. These are only visual cues. One of the biggest misconceptions about building a brand is that you just commission a logo and that’s it.
Nope, you can’t build a memorable brand as if you’re just ordering cookies from a cupcake store. It’s all about how people experience your business and what you communicate with them in each step of their buyer’s journey.
How to do it right: A memorable brand starts with asking the right questions. This helps you become inspired to think about your organized strategy. As a new (or expanding business) get to know your core values and beliefs first.
Look within yourself and your organization, guided by these questions:
- What makes you different?
- What promise do you make to your stakeholders?
- What motivates you to keep your feet on the ground?
- What does your organization believe in?
- What difference do you want to make?
Once you’ve figured out what inspires your business, you can then create or design experiences that revolve around the core of your brand. What people see – logos, colors, and design – is just one touch point for your brand experiece. How you communicate with your buyers, the words you choose, and the voice you exhibit are all components of your brand.
2. Copying your competition
It is smart to know about your competition. It helps you with marketing analysis and strategy. But if all you’re thinking about is how to become the next Apple or Nike, you’re doing it wrong. The easiest way to start a brand is to follow a proven template and blueprint. But what’s easy isn’t the same as what’s successful or groundbreaking. Take note, great things are great because they’re hard to accomplish.
How to do it right: If you want to make a difference, enter the competition with a vision for innovation. Don’t just blindly follow – master the conventions and old practices, but make sure that you turn things around by the end of the day. Be bold enough to make a difference. Disturb the status quo and become the next leader by breaking established conventions.
Don’t just become a player; learn to make the game your game. Use knowledge of your competitors to your own advantage. Instead of copying how they look and how they do things, ask yourself why this works for them. What’s the principle behind their best practices?
Once you’ve uncovered the essentials of their brand strategy, adapt this to your own business practice and add your own flair – what makes you unique. Want a tip? Take a close look to see what gaps and weaknesses your competitors have. If you can turn some of their weaknesses into your strengths, you already have an advantage over your competition – without necessarily mirroring them.
3. Lack of investment
For new businesses, the cost of branding and marketing can be overwhelming. This is especially true for small businesses that focus on short term gains over long term gains. But did you know that branding is forever, and can be the easiest way to jumpstart your business?
We all know that building authority takes time, even years. But it takes only seconds for a visitor to realize that you have a cheap, unsophisticated, and lousy brand. And I’m sure they won’t give you a second chance to earn their attention ever again.
How to do it right: Invest in a brand and business that you are passionate about. When you truly love and respect what you’re working on, you will naturally develop good taste and see to it that you’re not getting anything sub-standard for your business’ brand.
It’s a myth that good brands must be expensive. With so many independent consultants, creatives, and freelance workers making themselves available, you can build a solid brand without spending your life’s savings at a marketing agency. You can even take it step-by-step and find individuals for each step of the way: brainstorming, strategy planning, designing, writing, and execution.
At all costs, beware of packages and workers who sell $5 logos and $10 website pages. What you put in is what you’ll also get, and it will definitely show if you’re underpaying your workers. Your customers and clients will feel it.
When building a memorable brand, you can’t afford to take shortcuts. You must embed your brand message and identity into every aspect of your business if you want it to become strong and memorable. This will make your business stand the test of time. It’s what people will remember about you when you’ve been in business for years.
It’s how you make a legacy. Your marketing tactics, products, and company size may change, but your brand is forever. So start today by asking yourself: “Why is my business even here?” Then you can look within yourself and know exactly why you were made for success.