You’ve probably heard all the sayings about branding your business. ‘Your brand identity is key’, ‘make your brand identity original’, ‘your brand identity needs to be consistent’. You might have even heard them from us!
We’ve identified that a lot of businesses hear these statements too often yet understand them too little. So, let’s reframe it a bit. What could really happen if you don’t pay attention to your brand strategy? The number one thing is your brand and business can lose credibility, and look unprofessional. It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that looking unprofessional as a brand is not good for your overall business, competitive advantage, or customer/ client retention.
We want to call out the mistakes that we see often and, even for the untrained brand specialist eyes, will come across as unprofessional.
Brand identity consists of many aspects that identify a brand and make it distinguished (you know this). This is how your business presents itself for others to consume. Fonts, colours, logos and a recognisable name: these formulate the visual facets of your brand identity while your message and tone of voice become the vocal facets. Together, your brand becomes a harmonious marriage between the two.
Your brand is the face of your business. It’s the first thing people see when they come into contact with your company, and it’s what they remember long after the interaction is over. As such, it’s essential that your brand be professional, trustworthy, and memorable. (be sure to add in the fireworks)
No matter the industry, we are sure you are in a competitive space. This means the room for mistakes becomes smaller. A key client or customer could get the wrong impression from you just from your brand, or just feel like the competition’s brand is more attractive, and instantly you are at the bottom of their choices.
Here are the top mistakes we have seen and want to help rectify!
Having a consistent brand is a must to show your audience the professionalism of your business. If your brand’s visual elements, messaging, and tone vary across different platforms and channels, it can confuse your audience and dilute your brand’s identity, making you look unprofessional.
Imagine on your website you use your brand’s name ‘MIMZ’ in black and white, but on your business cards and advertisements you use the name ‘MIMZ Agency’ in black and red. These could read as two completely different brands and will make potential customers or clients feel like you don’t have any organisation. Disorganised = unprofessional.
Being perceived differently across varying branded materials can give the impression that your brand is not committed or reliable. Be sure to ensure your branding is consistent across all touchpoints by having a brand strategy and, even better, a brand guide.
In a busy and competitive business race, every business is fighting for their audience’s attention and there is only so much they can consume. The way your business competes with others in the industry is your brand activity.
Your brand activity needs to be just as modern as your competitors, but it needs to be uniquely yours. An example would be that modern brands are transparent, authentic, and create a personality for their target audience to feel connected to. Your brand needs to do this but in your own way and with your specific tone of voice.
A good example: an outdated website design with outdated branding is not designed for users. Businesses that ensure their brand is targeted towards individuals rather than consumers are using modern brand activity tactics. This is a modern way of branding, whereas an outdated way of branding would be specifically to have a tone of voice and assets that are not considering how or why the user might be interested, and just assume they are and will buy.
A branded website with no nods to UI/UX would not be competing with a trend-setting and up-to-date one. It thereby becomes necessary to understand your audience and adhere your marketing efforts to them accordingly.
Social media is a great, great space to be in, it’s truly a unique way to connect with your audience and provide them with your business’s best offerings. However, too often businesses miss out on the latest news or social media developments, or at the other end of the spectrum, they try to use all social channels available. Inaccurate use of social media leads to missing the mark on a successful marketing channel, and failure of connecting with your audience.
The mistake of not using social media properly as a brand creates an atmosphere where a target audience is unable to actually feel connected to the brand. If your content is not representing your brand correctly in the right environment, it will appear as if you don’t know what you are doing. An example is through stories. Instagram and Facebook stories are a specific size, and have a more casual presence, as they are only available for 24 hours. If you use a story and post that same material to LinkedIn feeds- this will just appear like you are reusing content that doesn’t quite fit in, or connect with anyone in that space.
Another example is if you’re a B2B organisation, with a very serious topic and are targeting business owners of corporate businesses – platforms like LinkedIn prove to be more beneficial than being on Facebook or Tiktok. Understanding socials and maintaining an active online presence is key to a professional and industry-appropriate brand.
An inconsistent online presence, irregular posting schedules on social media or posting content on the incorrect social channel are all examples of misusing social media – or the biggest one of all – not using social media at all! Social media helps brands connect to their audience and create a brand personality, but this has to be done correctly.
Interested in getting some help with social media content and messaging? We can help!
With the instant availability of free content, both images and graphics, the content shared by brands can be improper. Stealing images online that are not yours, or your brand does not have permission to use, is a big way to look unprofessional and disrespectful as a brand.
Not only is it unprofessional, but brands may end up using original content made by creators and that creates a string of legal repercussions. Without obtaining the necessary rights or permissions from the copyright holder brands, if brands use copyrighted images in ways that go against the terms of the licence or agreement, or use them in a manner that infringes upon the intellectual property rights of the original creator, it endangers the brand’s reputation.
This can come from using other companies’ logos across your brand, using photography or images that you did not take or pay for, or using very obvious stock imagery regularly. Imagery is extremely engaging as content, and your brand should be using it to the max, but it should be imagery that matches your brand, and that you have the authorisation to use!
Your logo is a visual representation of your brand and serves as a first impression for potential and existing audiences. If your logo looks amateurish, outdated, or unappealing, it can create a negative perception of your brand. In some cases, it can have your audience questioning your professionalism, or rating you lower.
Think of your brand like a hairstyle – you need to get it cut to continue to look good, but sometimes you might switch up by adding in a new colour or a different styling. You don’t let it sit untouched for days and years on end, without at least thinking of doing a little upkeep.
It is important to refresh and update your brand from time to time to make sure you are staying dynamic. Not updating your brand at all will make your business look like it does not have good upkeep, which can come across as unprofessional.
An example of a modern visual identity for a brand includes using animation and motion graphics within your branded content. If you can update your visual identity, and use new trends in design and modern marketing tactics, whilst also being consistent – your business and brand will soar with success.