The first step to a strong brand is understanding exactly what branding is. It’s is so much more than a marketing campaign. Branding involves not only the message you want to send out about your company as a whole but also how customers see you. At times, branding may even be what drives the emotional connection you have with your customers.
Nearly 90 percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers cite brand awareness as their No. 1 goal. However, to make others aware of your brand, you must know what it stands for and who you are as a company. There are also some specific branding mistakes you may be making that hurt your business. Avoid these pitfalls and watch your brand reputation soar:
Mistake 1: Not Having a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a fictional character based on your typical customer. The persona allows you to think through every aspect of marketing, such as where the person typically hangs out online or what type of questions they might have about a new product. In a survey of marketing professionals, 56 percent said using buyer personas translated into higher-quality leads.
A buyer persona allows you to run everything you do through the filter of who you’re trying to reach. If you start a new marketing campaign, you can align it with the needs of your buyer persona. If you need to update your landing page, put yourself in the mindset of the persona. Anything you do should consider the buyer persona in the equation.
Mistake 2: Lacking a Brand Message
If you’re going to share your core values as a company, you have to know what those are and communicate them with your users. Ask yourself some hard-hitting questions. Why did you start the company in the first place? What impact does your brand have on the world? How can you best communicate this to the general public?
Knowing who your audience is and what they care about is a great start, but you have to begin a conversation with that audience if you want them to remember your brand. If your core values are that you want to help other small-business owners succeed beyond their wildest imagination, then you should respond immediately when they start a conversation with you. About 48 percent of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that responds quickly to them. Know your message and values and respond accordingly.
Mistake 3: Images Don’t Match Brand Personality
Have you ever been impressed with a brand, but then went to its website or social media page and felt let down? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but if the image isn’t relevant to the brand message, you’re missing out on a significant branding opportunity.
Brand identity appears through many different elements, including logos, taglines, and images. Even your color scheme reflects your overall identity. The images you use should be instantly recognizable as your brand.
Mistake 4: Ignoring Honesty and Transparency
It might not be intentional on your part, but if consumers don’t see your brand as honest or transparent, they may be less likely to do business with you. In one study, 39 percent of consumers said they’d switch to a new brand in search of transparency. Consumers want as much information as possible, and 94 percent in the study said they’re more likely to remain loyal to a brand that is fully transparent.
There are many levels to become more transparent. Some of the things you need to include are detailed information about who you are as a company and the team that leads your operations. In addition, you have to provide complete information about your products or services, outline your return policies and share detailed contact information.
If you make a mistake or there is an issue with your products, address the concern immediately. Be honest and upfront with your customers. Tell them what the problem is and what you’re doing to fix it and make things right. Build a lifelong relationship with your customers where they trust you to have their best interests at heart.
Mistake 5: Inconsistent Content
Content is one of the most important assets your business has. About 78 percent of people feel companies that create custom content are more trustworthy and care about their time.
However, companies sometimes produce inconsistent content and the problem worsens over time. For example, perhaps you started a blog that shared information related to your industry. Over time, other topics crept in that were only slightly related. A mish-mash of topics isn’t the brand message you want to put out there. Creating quality content is as important as regularly producing it.
The type of content you share on social media should be recognizable and similar to what you offer on your website or in your newsletter. For example, don’t start posting a bunch of nonrelated jokes or images simply because you like them. Every single thing you post on your social media accounts should have a purpose and tie into your overall marketing plan.
Avoid Branding Mistakes
It’s impossible to avoid every branding mistake. The longer you’re in business, the more mistakes you’ll make. However, be aware of the main issues companies run into, check that you’re not making the mistakes above and own up to any errors immediately. The key to smart branding is having goals and knowing who you are as a brand. Everything else is fixable.