These Branding Mistakes Could Be Costing You Money

by | Aug 28, 2017 | Branding | 22 comments

Learn how to avoid the 7 most common branding mistakes that could be costing you money. Plus a free brand identity checklist.

Today I am going to go over the top branding mistakes you may be making that could be costing you some serious bank. I know this because I’ve made just about every mistake on this list.

Let me tell you, one of the reasons I am so passionate about branding and design is because I have made mistakes along the way. BIG mistakes! But in business and life, the best I could hope for was to learn from those mistakes. And now the best thing I can do is pass that knowledge on to you in the hopes that you can learn from my mistakes (and maybe your own) and start to see your brand really take off and your bank account grow.

So let’s jump into the biggest branding mistakes that I see most often.

Branding Mistake #1: The Less Than Stellar Logo

 

I get it, I really do. Sometimes you start your business on a shoestring budget and branding may be the last thing you want to spend money or time on. But believe me when I say this… it’s worth the investment of both.

Your logo is usually the first impression anyone has of your business. It needs to represent your business in every way. It needs to stand out and draw attention. It needs to be as unique as you are.

Have you ever been on a job interview? Of course, you have so you know that the first impression is the most important one you can make. If you show up in dirty wrinkled clothes chances are your interviewer will form the impression that you’re lazy. It may be the furthest thing from the truth. Maybe you just got off work from another job and didn’t have time to change, but once that impression is made… it’s made. Not that you can’t overcome that obstacle but you just made things 10 times harder than they should be.

The Same thing can be said for your businesses logo. If it’s difficult to read, the wrong file size, or doesn’t suit your business then chances are you’re not making the best first impression. And you can never get that moment back.

Oh, and don’t go out and purchase a pre-made logo for $50. Chances are if you like the logo so do a thousand other businesses and you’ll just end up replacing it down the road. So my best advice, when it comes to logos, is hiring a designer to help you out. Let us help you make a great first impression. Think of us as your stylist, we are here to dress your business.

Branding Mistake #2: DIY-ing Everything

 

I know enough about graphic design to get by with the bulk of my branding, but even I have limitations. For instance… I am not a photographer and very rarely do I take my own photos. I know how to point and shoot but I don’t the science behind aperture and ISO (those may be the same things… I’m just not sure). So for me letting someone else handle my photos is whats best for my brand.

Same thing goes for you, my handy dandy DIY-er. There are probably parts of your branding that you can handle on your own but chances are there are areas it would be best to leave to a professional who specializes in that area.

Besides not knowing it all most of us just aren’t physically capable of doing it all. Don’t add more stress when you don’t have to. “But hiring a designer is expensive!” Trust me when I say this… there are plenty of designers out there to suit any budget. Just ask around for references and you might find one who is willing to work with you and your budget.

Branding Mistake #3: Copying The Competition

 

I have seen more and more of this in recent years. I call it “me too” branding. You are out on social media or surfing the interwebs and see your competition is knocking it out of the park. I mean a grand slam Insta-feed and blog. So you may be tempted to try and emulate what they’re doing in the hopes that it will bring some of those followers or clients your way. Don’t do it! Just don’t do it!

It could have been so easy for me to copy the competition and create one more pastel and feminine design blog, but that’s not what my business is. That’s not what I want my clients to see when they look at my brand. I want them to see a home town design studio (even if I’m half a world away). I want them to read my profile and see that I am a veteran so the values I possess are ingrained in my DNA. You should want your clients to feel the same way.

If you have a pastel feminine bog or brand I’m not knocking you by any means. If it suits your brand and message then go for it. But remember you want to stand out so check out the competition and make sure you are different enough that when people see you they really see you. Stay true to your business and its mission and values. Those things are what make you different and if done right those things are what will move clients in your direction.

 

Branding Mistake #4: Too Many Fonts

 

I have a complete addiction to and very large collection of fonts. I think most designers collect fonts like lost puppies. We like a font, we buy it, we may never use it, but at least it won’t be suffering all alone out there in cyberspace.

You may be the same way, but that doesn’t mean use every font you’ve ever liked in your branding. Using too many fonts looks disjointed and can be really off-putting in design. A good rule of thumb is to pick 2-3 great fonts and stick with them. Just make sure they work together and have enough contrast to draw the readers eye.

And for the love of all things sacred in design don’t use Comic Sans on anything. I mean it, just stay away from this font. Oh, and try to not use generic fonts on the important stuff, like your logo and headings in your copy.

Branding Mistake #5: Rebranding Way Too Often

 

I’m one to talk about this. In my first three months, I had already rebranded once. I mean complete redo. Start over, do not pass go! But it was in my first few weeks of launching and I just didn’t love the message I was sending with my brand. It wasn’t bad… it just wasn’t fully representing my business.

Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you should never rebrand your business. There are certain instances when it’s necessary to rebrand. If your business changes directions or niche you might want to consider rebranding. Just don’t switch up your brand every other week. Otherwise, your audience will get confused. Besides, every brand takes time to fully develop and grow so if you switch it up too often you’re never giving your brand a chance to catch fire, go viral or whatever it is you want it to do.

If you do happen to get the urge to change things don’t go full on rebrand. Make some minor changes and see if it makes you fall in love with your brand again. Switch up your home page layout, redesign your business cards… those types of things don’t cost you an arm and a leg to change. So start there and if you really want to rebrand after that… give your audience a heads up so they don’t abandon ship.

Branding Mistake #6: Mixed Up Message

 

You know what your business’ mission is right? If not, I think it’s time to define your mission because this is very important to running a small business. Your mission is what your business is hoping to accomplish for your audience. If your business was a superhero what would it’s super power be?

To know why having a clear message is important let’s do a little exercise:

Let’s look at Bill’s Auto Repair (I totally just made this up off the top of my head so if this is your business name I’m not referring to you… unless you do these things. Then I’m totally calling you out). Bill’s Auto Repair offers their customers competitive pricing and fast service on all standard car maintenance. Bill has decided that he wants to start an Instagram account for his business. So Bill starts posting photos of his adorable Shih Tzu puppy named Zeke, his new lawn mower, and occasionally he will drop in an Instagram only offer of $5 off an oil change. Bill also decided to start a blog. He writes post after post about little Zeke and his puppy potty training adventures. Do you see a problem with this?

If Bill takes his brand mission seriously then so will his clients. I’m not saying don’t post photos of your dog, lawn mower or write about said dog. What I’m saying is make sure that what ever you post, write or create is designed to get your businesses message to your audience. If your new lawn mower breaks after you run over a tree root link it to your business. If you can’t don’t post it.

Branding Mistake #7: Inconsistency

 

This is hands down, bar none, the biggest mistake you can make with your branding. Inconsistency can and probably will kill your business. I’m not being dramatic on this. If this is the only thing you get out of this post then I will have done my job and passed on the key ingredient to branding success.

So why is consistency so darn important?

Consistency is what is going to make your brand a household name. Consistency in visuals and message is what’s going bring in new leads and generate more revenue. If any mistake can cost you money… this is the one.

It’s important to know your business from the inside out. And once you have that knowledge then everything you do, say, or create should fit your brand.

How Not To Make These Mistakes

 

Okay, so that’s the list of mistakes I see most often is branding, and I’ve made most of them. So how can you fix these mistakes or keep yourself from making them in the first place? I’m so glad you asked because I just so happened to have made, just for you, a handy little checklist (?)… cheat sheet (?)… tool to help you along the way to branding success.

This little tool makes a great desktop companion so you always have a list of the branding items you need to include in every campaign but also exactly where you can use them to make the greatest impact. Oh, and it’s free!!

If you still need more help avoiding these mistakes you can always hire a professional, like me, to help you along the way. Yes, this was a shameless plug but your brand is one of the most important tangible things your business has and I love helping small businesses craft a winning brand.

Not sure when to use your main logo versus your submark? Check out my post on getting the most from your brand style guide to find out.

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22 Comments

  1. Emily

    Love this! I really struggle with branding so these tips are really useful! I definitely want to invest in a logo I love- that’s next on my list 🙂
    Emily xoxo

    Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      I am so glad you found it helpful. I have made most of these mistakes and I don’t want to see anyone suffer through them like I did.

      Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      I am so glad you found it insightful Patricia. I wish I had this about 10 years ago. It could have saved me a lot of frustration.

      Reply
  2. Jordyn

    I need to become more consistent when I post. I’m very sporadic

    Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      Consistency can be difficult for most of us. Daily distraction and just life, in general, can derail the best-laid plans. The key is to pick back up or reassess your schedule. I’ve been trying to post two posts a week but I’m coming to realize that if I focus on one post a week I am able to make it more helpful and epic. So I’m going to be cutting back to one post because it will be better for you, my audience, in the long run.

      Reply
  3. Robin

    The “too many fonts” mistake kills me! It’s the first thing I noticed – I’ve been a nerd about fonts since I was in elementary school, clogging up my parents’ computer with fonts that I downloaded! It’s crazy how much information about your brand your font choice can convey.

    Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      Amen! I have a major problem with downloading new fonts. My logic is “But one day this may be perfect for a client!” When I started Anderson Creative I tried every font combination known to mankind. I think my husband got tired of me asking “what do you think of these together?” But yes fonts can say a lot about a brand and too many can be really offputting.

      Reply
  4. Heather

    These are great tips. I’ll admit I really struggle with some of these.

    Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      We all do!! I still struggle with a few from time to time. It’s all a part of being a solopreneur sometimes. But When I catch it I fix it as fast as I can.

      Reply
  5. Katie

    I love the advice against DIY-ing your whole business. I originally thought I needed to take all my own photos, and so I spent a day around my apartment with my Nikon taking as many “stock” photos as I could out of random things in my home. The problem was, there wasn’t much I could take pictures of that would be relevant to my content, so I wouldn’t be able to use 85% of the pictures! When I realized that free stock photos were bountiful on the internet, I stuck my camera bag back in its corner and saved myself days of headache trying to create my own stock library and edit each image to suit my needs. Great article!

    Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      This is a big mistake I see when someone is just starting out in the biz world. Most are afraid to ask for help and end up running themselves ragged trying to do everything themselves. I am so glad you found a way to take the photography portion off your plate. Now you can spend the time you would have been photographing and editing doing what you do best… growing your business.

      Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      I am so glad you enjoyed it. A good logo is an essential to a great brand identity. When you go to create one make sure you really dig deep into your business. Think about your mission, purpose, and values and use those as the foundation to your brand identity design.

      Reply
  6. Bailey

    It is so important to seek professional help with branding. DIY can be helpful but there is a limit, especially if you want to look professional.

    Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      We all have limits to our abilities, plus there are only 24c hours in a day. No business owner should attempt to do all of their brandings on their own. If you cannot afford a professional designer you could always ask friends for help or trade services with someone who’s skilled in an area you need help with. But yes professional design is extremely important in branding.

      Reply
  7. April Kitchens

    Very helpful tips. I’m am really looking into having a logo made, so I can feel official! Pinning to re-read later.

    Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      It’s a great investment for any business. Thank’s for pinning!

      Reply
  8. Becca

    Oh my gosh thanks so much for this post! Branding has been my main struggle thus far and you have some awesome advice!! I think tomorrow I’ll be putting your tips into action! 🙂

    Reply
    • AndersonCreativeCo

      I’m glad it helped you! I know a lot of people struggle with their branding. It’s one of those things that takes time to build and perfect. I have made just about every single one of these mistakes in my time as a brand designer and if my advice can keep you from having to spend a bunch of money or worse time fixing these mistakes then my job had been done.

      Reply
  9. Chantal

    Great tips ! I’ll be using these!

    Reply

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