I love branding, it’s how a business tells its unique story to clients. Now more than ever, a strong brand is what conveys trust and separates a business from competitors. But rebranding can be overwhelming because there are so many aspects to consider. While there’s no secret recipe to update your brand, be aware of these top mistakes that business owners routinely make so you can achieve a more dynamic and original brand.
1. Thinking Your Logo Is Your Brand
Last week I met with a small business owner who said, “We just updated our logo last year, so my brand is done”. While your logo is extremely important, it’s just one component of your business identity. Your logo identifies your business in its simplest form with an icon, image or mark. While your logo is critical for attention and awareness, don’t rely on your logo to tell your entire story.
2. No Strong Value Proposition
This same business did not have a clear and simple message on what they offer and how it helps make their clients lives better. When you play it safe by saying you help everyone with all their financial needs (or another generic statement), you’re not really connecting with anyone. Throw in some industry jargon and technical terms and your marketing efforts will continually fall short. Clarify your message so people listen and see themselves in your solutions.
3. Not Paying Attention To Your Competition
It’s important to be aware of what similar businesses offer. Spend a little time researching what your direct competitors say, who they target and what makes them unique. This not only helps you differentiate but inspires you to be even better. Paying attention to your local environment always ensures you are not mistaken as a copycat but rather an industry leader.
4. Skipping Your Target Market Analysis
Many businesses talk about their strengths to stand out but what really attracts new clients is when you focus on their individual needs. Step back and identify who your ideal clients are so you can successfully talk their language, connect with them online and offer the best services to convert them into clients. A client-focused approach leads to brand ambassadors who will refer others. And it all starts with a thorough understanding of your target client personas.
5. Inconsistencies Across Your Business
Every single item that touches your clients is a part of your entire story. Think of each touchpoint as an important ingredient in your brand recipe. For example, your proposals and invoices are opportunities to reinforce your value proposition. While these items convey important information, you can maximize the effectiveness with consistent fonts and colors and along with your tagline and even photos when appropriate. Approach every client communication as a chance to have a meaningful conversation.
6. Forgetting About Your Copy
Branding is so much more than your logo, fonts and colors. Those visual elements are important since they define your brand and create your unique look. It’s equally important that the copy on your website, email, social media sites, etc. is inspirational and states exactly how you can make life better for your clients. Your copy is how you add purpose and personality to your brand and helps potential clients decide if you’re the right fit for their needs.
7. Thinking Financial Services Means Dull and Boring
Each communication channel and social media platform gives you the opportunity to show different layers of your brand story and make a deeper connection. Posting the same exact content across Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter does not work anymore. Instead, create compelling and creative content for each of these audiences. Yes, this means several compliance submissions, but it’s more important to recognize that dull and boring does not bring higher conversion and retention rates.
8. Jumping on New Trends Without Consideration
Everyday something new is trending. While it may be tempting to jump on the latest trend, these short-lived movements typically come on strong and then disappear just as fast. Before sharing the latest trend, ask yourself if it adds to your brand story or does it dilute your message? Keep in mind that what you post becomes part of your digital footprint and lives on forever.
9. Not Updating or Reviewing Your Branding
Over time your visuals and copy can shift away from the initial intentions. This can be a good thing when your business and story is evolving or, it can be bad marketing when it’s a disconnect related to staff turnover or ignored brand guidelines. Conduct an annual review to ensure you don’t have seven different fonts and erratic content in your email newsletter, etc. Review and update your brand as needed to prevent outdated marketing and more importantly, build your brand story as the business grows.
10. Lack of A Brand Strategy and Style Guide
This mistake may be listed last, but it’s truly a fundamental part of your brand story. Defining your brand strategy focuses the business with a clear understanding of your goals and identity and keeps all future decisions aligned with those goals. Creating a Style Guide brings together all the key brand elements in one place so your entire team can effectively tell your story through marketing.
Now that you know which pitfalls to avoid in your branding, I hope you are energized to enhance your business story. While you can find inspiration in the big corporate brands like Apple, Nike, McDonalds, etc., don’t let it overwhelm your journey. Your brand identity won’t happen overnight so take time to craft and fine-tune an identity that is unique to your business.
A strong brand identity makes your life easier because key marketing elements are defined and ready to use. If you get started today, over time you will transform both your brand and your business.
Diana provides marketing solutions for busy Financial and B2B Firms looking to strengthen relationships, get found online, convert leads and GROW revenue. She has 20 years of marketing expertise, including campaigns for top brands such as Johnson’s Baby and Band-Aid.
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Diana Stem is a Marketing Consultant for Financial and B2B Firms. With over 20 years of experience, we GROW Businesses with Strategy, Branding and Lead Generating Content that Converts.