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7 Common Branding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

In the ever-evolving world of branding, even the savviest business owners can stumble. To help you navigate the branding minefield, we've identified seven common mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Inconsistent Branding

Mistake: Inconsistent use of logos, colours, and messaging across different platforms confuses customers and weakens brand recognition.

Example: Away. The travel brand Away faced criticism when its CEO’s behavior was inconsistent with the brand’s inclusive and positive culture. The negative press highlighted a gap between the company’s internal culture and external branding.

How to Avoid: Develop a comprehensive brand style guide that outlines your brand’s visual elements and tone of voice. Ensure all team members and partners adhere to it.

2. Ignoring Your Audience

Mistake: Creating a brand that doesn't resonate with your target audience can lead to disengagement and lost sales.

Example: Glossier Play. Glossier launched a sub-brand, Glossier Play, that aimed to bring fun and experimental products to their lineup. However, the products didn't resonate with their core audience, leading to its discontinuation. Customers felt the products were overpriced and not as innovative as promised.

How to Avoid: Conduct thorough market research to understand your audience's preferences, needs, and behaviours. Tailor your branding efforts to meet these insights.

3. Lack of Brand Story

Mistake: Failing to tell a compelling brand story can make your brand forgettable.

Example:’s Initial Launch. Bando, initially known for fun and quirky accessories, lacked a cohesive brand story that resonated deeply with consumers. It wasn’t until they refined their story to focus on positivity and mental wellness that they saw significant brand loyalty.

How to Avoid: Craft a unique brand story that highlights your values, mission, and journey. Make sure it’s authentic and relatable to your audience.

4. Overcomplicating Your Brand

Mistake: Complex logos, taglines, and brand messages can be hard to remember and recognise.

Example: Bevel. Bevel, a grooming brand for men of colour, initially struggled with a complex messaging strategy that made it hard for new customers to understand their unique selling proposition. Simplifying their messaging helped clarify their brand identity and improve customer acquisition.

How to Avoid: Keep your branding simple and clear. Your logo should be easily recognizable, and your tagline should be memorable and succinct.

5. Neglecting Online Presence

Mistake: A weak online presence can make your brand seem outdated or untrustworthy.

Example: Outdoor Voices’ Website Issues. Outdoor Voices, an activewear brand, faced challenges with their website’s user experience. Slow load times and difficult navigation turned potential customers away.

How to Avoid: Invest in a strong website, engage on social media, and ensure your online content reflects your brand's values and voice.

6. Focusing Only on Visuals

Mistake: While visuals are important, neglecting the emotional and experiential aspects of your brand can limit its impact.

Example: Frank Body’s Initial Launch. Frank Body, a skincare brand, initially focused heavily on their Instagram-worthy visuals but lacked a strong emotional connection with their audience. Incorporating user-generated content and real customer stories helped build a more holistic brand experience.

How to Avoid: Create a holistic brand experience that includes visuals, customer service, product quality, and overall user experience.

7. Ignoring Feedback

Mistake: Dismissing customer feedback can result in missed opportunities for improvement and growth.

Example: Hubble Contacts' Safety Issues. Hubble Contacts faced severe backlash and legal issues after reports emerged that their contact lenses were causing serious eye injuries, including an incident where a customer lost vision. The company initially ignored the feedback and complaints, which exacerbated the situation and led to a significant loss of trust.

How to Avoid: Actively seek and respond to feedback from customers. Use it to refine and enhance your brand, ensuring product safety and customer satisfaction are top priorities.

By learning from these examples and implementing these strategies, you can avoid common branding mistakes and build a stronger, more effective brand identity. Remember, consistency, audience connection, a compelling brand story, simplicity, a robust online presence, a holistic approach, and valuing feedback are key to successful branding.


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