|The Coca-Cola logo, still similar after a century|
Branding is about messaging and storytelling. Presenting a clear, concise message that is not muddled with distractions or complications is the difference between a brand that works for you and an amateurish attempt that just confuses or loses your target audience. With that over-arching goal, here are the mistakes you can avoid when creating and building your company's brand.
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Excerpt: "When you think about great branding, Coca Cola’s distinctive red and white lettering, Nike’s swoosh and Adidas’s three stripes likely come to mind. But as a small business, imagining the level of investment that’s gone into these iconic images can make the thought of undertaking your own branding initiative seem overwhelming.
It’s actually easier to do than most imagine. Just make sure to avoid some common pitfalls and branding mistakes.
1. Not understanding the power of a brand. From a customer-relationship perspective, having a strong brand is obviously advantageous. For instance, when people think of online shoe purchases, they think of Zappos. You want to have that kind of immediate, definitive relationship with your buyers as well.
Defining your brand is also valuable from an SEO perspective. It’s something of an open secret that Google likes to prioritize branded listings in its organic search results, since visitors are more likely to click on them. More clicks tends to equal happier customers, which means that focusing on brand building could lead to unexpected website traffic and awareness benefits.
2. Forgetting to establish defined brand guidelines. So you know that your company may to develop a brand, but what exactly does that mean? When creating a brand identity, you’ll want to establish defined guidelines that cover all of the following elements (as well as any others that are relevant to your field). Here are a few points to consider.
- Logo (both an overarching logo and any logo lockups your company uses for individual product lines)
- Brand colors
- Fonts and typography
- The “voice” used in your branded materials
- Mascots and spokespeople
Clearly, this list isn’t comprehensive. If there’s some other branding characteristic you feel is necessary to define your business, go ahead and add it to your brand guidelines documentation. The worst thing you could do is to avoid creating these important documents altogether. Without them, your branding efforts will lack the consistency and direction needed for success.
3. Overcomplicating your brand. Take a look at how Coca Cola’s classic script logo has changed since its first usage in 1887. While the fonts used have varied slightly, the original look is still largely intact after more than 127 years of service.
Small businesses can learn a lesson from this beverage industry giant. When initiating the branding process, it can be tempting to add more variables than you truly need. But your logo doesn’t need to involve six different colors, and it doesn’t need to have six individual graphic elements to represent the different arms of your company. Clean, simple elements are more likely to be recognized and remembered by consumers, so steer clear of overcomplicating your company’s branded elements."