Let's say you think you have the perfect business name, killer logo, and a product or service the world is just going to love. All that's left to do is tell the world about it. Right?
Not so much. You see, you've created the most common brand mistake - assuming the world will care about your company as much as you do. Unfortunately, it is rarely that simple and oftentimes companies miss a key step - understanding that your brand is not as simple as a business name and a logo. It will take more than a website and social media to build a true brand. When you don't understand this you end up with a large (and sometimes expensive) disconnect between who you think you are and who your customer sees. Why does this happen and how can we fix it? You're in luck because I'm feeling generous today. Keep reading and I'll share three common brand mistakes, along with corrections.
1. NO Consistency
Lack of consistency in branding is one of the most frequent and most damaging mistakes any brand can make. You start with a logo, then a website, maybe some business cards, or even a pitch deck and so far it all matches. Then the one-offs take over. Random social post, single flyer, and before you know it there's no consistency anywhere and it's evident there's no strategy in place. Think of building your brand like construction companies build houses. One missing bolt may not be a big deal, but if one bolt becomes 50 it could mean a room caves in. Branding is the same. A lack of consistency makes it nearly impossible for your customer to understand who you are, and what you do.
FIX: Be consistent. With everything! Set up guidelines and rules. Decide on a tone of voice, a messaging strategy, visual guidelines, colors, hashtags, typography… Frame it, put it on your wall and stick to it! Whether it’s your website, a flyer or an email signature. It might seem like that one little details doesn’t make a difference, but trust me, those small repeated seemingly insignificant details quickly turn into large dents that can crush your brand.
2. NO Alignment
This one hurts. The lack of alignment between internal with the external can be the success of failure of your company. Period. The external is what we tell our customers, the image we try to put out, the internal is, what happens inside the company. It’s how the restaurant or online CBD brand operates daily, or the customer service team behind an organic cosmetic line and so forth. Your brand EVERY-THING about your business. It's much bigger than your logo and website. For example, do you want your brand to be approachable, but your front-line employees seem agitated and disinterested. You can send out as many messages you like about how approachable you are, your customer’s experience of you will be completely different. Or do you want to be exclusive and customer-centric but your return policy is weak? All of these aspects of your operations play a role in the perception of your brand, and who wants to be viewed as disingenuous or dishonest? Hopefully not you. But that is exactly what you will be seen as if you tell customers one thing but then operate completely differently.
FIX: A brand is multi-faceted. Every single thing you do sends a message and you want to make sure that message is consistent by ensuring all areas of your operations are aligned. Again, set up guidelines, rules, codes for how you operate and stick to them. Be deliberate! Think about how your brand is communicated through your return policy, your automated thank you emails, your payment plans, your front desk staff and so forth. And most importantly, deliver what you say you will.
3. NO Brand Equity
Your brand is your baby, right? And you think you have a cute baby. What if you don't? What I'm saying is - not everyone is going to love your baby (your brand) like you, unless you give them a reason. The truth is, customers just don’t care as much as you do. And business owners with cute babies want to approach their customers as if they think your baby is cute. So your messages are all about you and the cuteness instead of the customer. This is a H-U-G-E miss. Do NOT do this. The customer cares about themselves, not you, not your baby, not your company. You'd be wise to keep that in the center of your mind.
FIX: Make everything about the customer, not you, not your brand. The customer. Be unbiased, examine your brand from an outsider’s perspective and ask for feedback and be a grownup by receiving it well. Approach everything you do with the mindset that your customers do not care, so how do you get their attention? It’s really a win-win situation. If they already do care, great! You’ve got them. If they don’t, it helps you to think outside the box, be creative in how you approach them and it will constantly push you to improve your customer experience.