5 Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Their Branding

​Focusing on your brand building could lead to unexpected website traffic and ultimately a return on your investment. People are always asking me what am i doing wrong when it comes to my brand? “Why can’t i seem to really grow and establish myself as a leader,” you ask? First, brand building takes time...Lots of it. But it is fundamental to your business success. The two words are synonymous, branding and success. You can’t have one without the other. I thought i would take a few minutes and outline the 5 mistakes businesses make with their branding. Take a look and tell me what your branding concerns are in the comments.


Don't Understand the power of a branding.

Do you really understand the power of a brand? Many don't and that's why their business never really becomes what they imagine. When someone thinks of Potterybarn they think high-end furniture and expensive candlesticks. At least that's what I think of. Well, what Potterybarn has done is create a definitive relationship with their customers. Now I don't really buy Potterybarn, just saying, but I do like to buy nice furniture and unique candlesticks. I am a stickler for handmade as many of you know. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that a business has to understand that their customer relationship is important.

From an SEO perspective defining your brand is hugely favorable. Google likes to  in its organic search results because customers are more likely to click on them. Google likes it when clients are happy, and more clicks = happy clients for them. Focusing on brand building could lead to unexpected website traffic and more awareness of your brand.


Establishing a professional visual identity?

So you know that your company is in need of developing a brand but what exactly does that mean? Well not only do you need to think about the under clothes of your business like your target market, competition, brand purpose, etc. you also need a visual brand. Establishing a set of brand guidelines will help you create a consistent visual look for your business. This list is just the basics but will help you get started in the right direction when creating a brand identity. You will want to establish defined guidelines that cover all of the following elements (plus others that might fit your industry).

Here are a few that you might want to consider:

Logo (both an overarching logo and any secondary logos your company uses for individual product lines)
Brand colors
Tag lines
Fonts and typography
The “voice” used in your branded materials
Imagery & photography styles


Just Keep it simple my friends.

Don't let it get to you...keep it simple and you can't go wrong. Meaning you don't need multiple iterations of your logo, hundreds of colors or multiple font styles. Keep it simple is always my motto. Here is an example:Although my husband is a die hard Dodge fan (sorry babe) I love the history behind . Being from Michigan myself I often think about Ford and their iconic branding. They have been around more than 100 years and have pretty much stuck with one simple logo. The last logo update for Ford was in 2003 and is called the Centennial Blue Oval for the company's 100th anniversary.



Too vague or obscure.

Don't let your customers down by not revealing what your company is and what your brand propositioning is. You have to establish a set of brand guidelines that reveal who and what you are. The less known your company is, the better value proposition you need. I am sure you have seen this in generic logos or in what I like to call the "blah Blah's." You know the language I am talking about. For example, "Best-Selling" books, "award-winning" chef, "New", "Natural" Ingredients, and "FREE!" Gosh, there are millions but they don't really mean anything. Be sure to have a logo and visual brand guidelines that say something about who and what your company is.


Cheating yourself.

Why go to the lengths of figuring out your brand position, establish a brand guide and make yourself known by sabotaging your business. Every time you create a new ad or brand touchpoint and use a different color or font you are lessening your brand value. It would be great if we could use a new font or color every time we created a new ad but when you do that, when you deviate from your stated brand guidelines you dilute the power of your brand. Now I'm not saying it's not ok to do this sometimes, but so long as the benefit outweighs the risk of diluting your brand.

About The Author

Heather Bunker works with makers and artisan entrepreneurs who want to build a professional and profitable brand. She provides brand strategy, design, and marketing services along with a friendly disposition and a bit of encouragement. She has been a designer and art lover for over 15 years and is an active member of the AIGA, the professional association for design. "Heather’s design trademark is her unique perspective and originality. For clients she delivers designs that capture both a unique brand image and the audience's attention. Spunky, bright, creative, and her blog is a joy to read." You can learn more about how her services can help grow your business by subscribing or connecting on Instagram.