Branding is how your organization tells a story that connects and holds value with your customer. Unfortunately, most of us associate branding with only designing the logo, tagline, or a website. However, branding is more than that – it is utilizing every single opportunity to showcase why a customer should choose your brand over another.  

According to TSL Marketing, successful branding yields benefits such as increased customer loyalty, improved image, and relatable identity.

Branding also shares your organization’s values and goals with customers, and visuals lay the groundwork for this. First impressions matter, and therefore the design process behind building your brand has to be consistent, audience specific, and relevant to the message you want to deliver. This blog highlights some common branding mistakes you might still be making and actionable insights on how to fix them, now!

An In-appropriate or Controversial Logo

Here is some fun trivia – did you know the Amazon logo actually has a smile and the arrow that goes underneath from A to Z represents the company’s promise that they can deliver anything you could ask for?  It is a deceptively simple design, yet a brilliant example of bringing home the point of creating a memorable, impactful, and appropriate brand logo.

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A common mistake brands make is not having the logo aligned to the values they want to deliver. One of the most famous examples of getting a logo design wrong was the London Olympics fiasco in 2012. Remember? Well, here’s a refresher. The London Olympic committee spent a whopping £4,00,000 on a new logo that immediately got countries including Iran and India protesting it’s controversial design. Furthermore, the brand’s logo design did not do any justice in delivering the spirit of the Olympic games.

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Here’s how to fix it – Spend time and money on designing a logo that is tied to a specific goal or message that you want to convey. The logo should be impactful and eye-catching without overpowering everything else like website or other marketing collateral. It also makes sense to make sure any new logo done on the basis of a new campaign is well-aligned with the original logo of your brand and is not completely out of nowhere, not even London!

Using Generic Stock Photos and Layouts

Here is another piece of trivia – our brains process images 60,000 times faster than we process words. While there is nothing wrong in using stock photos when one is starting out, using custom photos helps create a more cohesive branding experience. Having invested in working with a professional photographer and designer for layouts and photos enables you to tie all the different elements of brand designing and marketing together. You will be able to tell the same, consistent story across the website, newsletter, email, and social media campaigns. Furthermore, a striking and unique image leaves a lasting impact on a customer.

How to fix this? Simple! Next time you are shuffling through stock pictures, ask yourself – Will this image add anything to the story or experience I want to tell the customer? Is this consistent with the branding across other mediums?

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Above is an example of a Spanish brand of online accessories, Quim Marin, who worked with a designer using custom pictures to generate consistency amongst mediums and stand out from the crowd.

Not Selecting the Right Color

According to Forbes, selecting the right color improves brand recognition by 80% (wow!).

One of the most common mistakes brands commit to stand out amongst competition is to pick an inappropriate color that doesn’t project the company’s values and objectives. Humans are emotional, and these colors need to generate feelings or some kind of emotional trigger in them.

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During Christmas, Starbucks switches to the infamous red and green cup with a snowflake or Christmas related design as it elicits the desired emotional response of being kind, cheerful and festive from customers, and also demonstrates their values of embracing diversity and being customer-centric. This is a classic example of how having the right color pulls in the audience. Be honest, you do wait for those cups, don’t you?

Here’s how to fix this – When it comes to infusing brand strategy & design, pick a color palette that is consistent with the messaging you want your brand to project. Pastel hues and lighter shades give a sense of being fresh, modern, and chic, while brighter colors connotate with being more energetic. Use colors that are in sync with the brand itself.

Relying Too Heavily on Current Design Trends

While it is great to stay up to date on design trends to keep your brand relevant, it is important not to go overboard and end up designing something that is trendy but takes far away from what made you successful in the first place. A classic example of this is the GAP logo. While the new logo paid ode to the minimalist and modern design trend, the black-lash was so much that they eventually went back to their first logo.

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Here’s how to fix this: When considering new design trends, always come back to the central question – what is the purpose behind this re-design? What is the messaging we want to send across to our customers? Having a solid strategy behind branding will help you avoid making this error. Remember, constantly re-designing your brand does not allow for the customer to internalize and trust the brand.

Mimicking Competitors

The purpose of branding is to make yourself stand out from competitors. Unfortunately, it is very easy to fall into the pitfall of keeping up the Joneses. If the competitor designed a new logo, it is very easy to fall into the trap of doing something similar. But “if your brand shares a similar visual language to other brands in the category, customers will likely become confused.”

One example of this was the initial design of basketball teams Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. Luckily, the Clippers were soon to realize their mistake and updated their design.

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How to fix it? Don’t try to be something that you are not. If customers are not able to distinguish the brand, then why would they choose you? Having a solid brand strategy again comes into play here as it allows you to really assess what makes you stand out and how you can leverage that.

Mary Stribey of Canva suggests, “do not rush into following competitors, plan out a strategy, seek feedback, seek opinions.”  

In a Nutshell

According to Lucidpress, “The average increase in revenue attributed to presenting a brand consistently and uniquely is 23%.” Focusing on important elements of design allows you to improve your overall branding and deliver a cohesive set of expectations and experiences to your customers. Above are a few small but significant branding mistakes that, if paid attention to, can really change the course of your brand.

Have you noticed any mistakes that your brand had been making? How did you rectify those? Let us know in the comments below.