5 Common Branding Mistakes Small Businesses Make

5 Common Branding Mistakes Small Businesses Make


When you think about distinctive branding, you probably conjure up images of popular, well-known brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Adidas, and Nike. But as a small business owner, thinking about the sheer amount of investment that’s gone into making these iconic images recognized easily around the world could leave you feeling overwhelmed when it comes to your own branding. The good news is that coming up with a strong brand for your small business can be easier to do than most people imagine. To get it right, however, you’ll need to make sure that you are avoiding these common branding mistakes and pitfalls. Here are some of the most common branding mistakes to keep your eye out for.


Not Understanding a Brand’s Power

Having a strong brand is an obvious advantage when it comes to the customer relationship perspective. For example, when people think of grocery shopping, Wal-Mart probably comes to mind; you want to have that type of definitive relationship with your customers too, where they immediately think of your brand.


And, defining your brand is also hugely valuable from the perspective of SEO. Google prefers to prioritize branded listings in organic search results as customers are more likely to click on them. In turn, more clicks tend to lead to happier customers – focusing on building your brand could lead to unexpected benefits in terms of more website traffic and stronger business awareness. That’s why investing in strong branding is worthwhile – check out Cubefunder for branding funding; they provide short-term fixed cost loans to small businesses.


Failing to Establish Defined Brand Guidelines

You know that your business needs to develop a brand, but what exactly does that entail? When creating a strong brand identity, you will need to come up with clear and defined guidelines that cover the entire range of basic elements, plus any others that are relevant to your industry. For example:


  • Your brand logo and any logos that your company uses for individual product lines
  • Brand colors
  • Taglines
  • Typography and fonts
  • Imagery
  • Spokespeople
  • Mascots
  • Brand voice


This is just the basics – if there are any further branding characteristics that you feel are necessary to define your business, you should add this to your brand guidelines. It’s important to start off by creating a thorough brand guidelines documentation; without these, your branding efforts are likely going to lack the direction and consistency that you’ll need to succeed.


Overcomplicating Things

Sometimes, the simplest of brands can be the most effective – so don’t overcomplicate things. Look at Coca-Cola, for example – it’s been around since 1887, and while the fonts have varied slightly, the original look is still present. When starting out with building a brand, avoid the temptation to add more variables than you actually need. Your logo doesn’t need multiple colors and graphic elements to represent everything that your company offers. In fact, clean and simple elements are more likely to be recognized and remembered by your audience.


Being Too Vague

On the other end of the scale, it’s important to avoid developing brand guidelines and elements that reveal absolutely nothing about your company and its unique selling point. You’ve probably seen something similar to this before in generic logos, or repetitive marketing language. The solution here is to make sure that you are using clear logos, imagery, and language to make sure that the message is put across and your branding represents what your business is all about.



Finally, being as consistent as possible with your branding is key to ensuring that it is strong, recognizable and memorable. After you’ve created careful brand guidelines, there’s nothing wrong with adding colors outside of the palette to a new ad for a product line launch, for example, but bear in mind that each time you deviate from your brand guidelines, they lose some of their power. If you need to change things up, it’s important that you stick as closely to your brand guidelines as possible, otherwise you’re essentially introducing a new brand image to your customers.


When it comes to branding, avoiding common mistakes and pitfalls will ensure that you create a strong, memorable brand image.

Francis Nwokike

Francis Nwokike is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Total Entrepreneurs. A Social Entrepreneur and experienced Disaster Manager. He loves researching and discussing business trends and providing startups with valuable insights into running a profitable business. He created TTE to share ideas and tips to help entrepreneurs run and grow their businesses.

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