5 Deadly Sins of Poor Branding – What Not To Do In Your Company Branding

10 Min Read

We often hear when and how to do branding. It’s crucial to have a unique company identity which will differ the product or service from dozens of similar ones out there.

However, we are not told of how and when NOT TO DO branding. It turns out, branding, just like surgery, is driven by a single rule: do no harm. When it comes to creating or changing a company face, you better think twice.

To avoid confusion when building a branding strategy on social media, we found six deadly errors in building company identity. Read and avoid.

Mistake #1 – Branding for branding

Before doing any action, let’s cut right to the chase: why do you need branding? Most importantly, do you need branding at all? With all the madness that has been going around creating an identity, it’s easy to get lost in the hype. If you answer to the ‘why’ question is ‘because everyone else does it,’ perhaps taking a break is a good idea.

Hate to poop in the party, but not every company needs branding that much. Of course, basic identity elements like designing a logo or creating a business are essential for any business. However, when the company page is nothing but logos and advertising materials, it kills the brand spirit instead of creating it, but once you’ve decided on your logo, consider using these cool fonts to attract your customers.

You’ve definitely seen such pages. Cold and useless, they give you nothing but ‘additional information’ about the company with all the logos and brochures. When the branding fashion was just starting, such content really helped to boost the status (not that customers ever loved it though). Now it’s not even new or pretentious. Just very very sad.

A hint: if you got stuck in finding ideas for SMM-strategy, look into narrative essay ideas. From these abstract topics, you can get actual inspiration and look at your product and company on a bigger scale.

Hence, if there is a choice whether to invest in content or in yet another rebranding, really consider the first option.

Mistake #2 – Too many changes

All successful brands do rebranding, it’s true. What happens afterward is history. Some companies become really popular, some – miserably fail. When designers and marketers advise rebranding, they usually talk about companies like Apple, design-driven innovators who put all efforts to create a compelling business identity.

They don’t talk about poor failures when rebranding almost killed the product and cost millions for business owners.

Let’s take Tropicana example.

To make their brand look more natural and modern, Tropicana turned to what first looked like a viable solution. Instead of old-fashion box design, the company went for a bright packaging that depicted a glass of an orange juice and was designed to showcase the product’s freshness and rich taste.

Nothing seemed wrong. However, branding experts started to suspect the possible failure, indicating that the new design although looking visually appealing, led to the complete loss of brand’s face. At first, it seemed like a temporary downside until Tropicana faced the size of the price they had to pay.

After rebranding, company’s sales drop for $137 million in sales between January 1st and February 22nd. And if you add to that the expenses on the failed rebranding (business owners probably called this unfortunate resource waste an investment but who could know?), the losses grow at times.

How to make sure this doesn’t happen? Rule one: don’t hurry with rebranding. Analyze target audience preferences and market specifics. Rule two: if there is no indication you need rebranding, most likely you don’t need it.

Mistake #3  – Forgetting about social media platforms’ specifics

The number of promotional channels is growing, that’s for sure. With such diversity of social media platforms, it’s easy for marketers and business owners to get lost in specifics of each service and post same content everywhere.

If you publish one post on five different platforms with no visual and text changes, you’ll just lose reach on all of them. If maintaining active accounts in 5-6 sites is challenging for your business, pick 1-2 and invest in creating original content.

Why is reposting such a bad idea?

  • Different platforms respond to different user needs. On Twitter, a publication might work out even if it has no pictures. Better use no visual that a bad one. On Instagram, however, visuals respond for 99% of success. Even if you work with a company whose specialization doesn’t seem to be design-driven (let’s say, you do essay writing for money, you can find free online help by with your essay on subjects like English, political treatise, fiction or non-fiction literature, environmental issues, biological ethics, arts, business, or social sciences), yet gather creative ideas – like inspiring quote pictures.
  • On Instagram and Twitter, hashtags work perfectly. On Facebook, they look ridiculous.
  • Different target audience. LinkedIn and Instagram have an extremely different target audience and creating a mediocre content mean losing both.
  • When working on the brand identity, take into account basic requirements like platforms’ requirements for image size and video length.

Mistake #4 – Trying too many options

The usual marketer answer ‘Try different styles and see what works best’ is prohibited. You can experiment with your team and focus group, but as soon as the identity is published, it’s a final choice. The worst thing you can do is publishing a fist made branding kit just to change it in a week.

The key to branding success is its memorability. When there are hundreds of brands out there, carrying your company’s colors and logos in mind is already difficult enough, and with regular changes, it gets totally impossible.

How to pick the best option for brand identity?

Creating a good branding kit is just the half of the road. How about choosing that one style, among five or ten cool options? Use the resources you have at hand, which means:

  • Ask all your employees, family members, friends, and most importantly – previous or current clients who essentially represent your target audience.
  • Make a map with all the options and define advantages and disadvantages of each option. Let the logical step in.
  • Go for a random option. Flip a coin, pick a random number – just choose something.

Mistake #5 – Ignoring goals

We already discussed why doing branding merely for the sake of it is a bad idea. Now let’s talk about how it really should be done.

Branding requires investments, it’s obvious. When it comes to spending any kind of resources, understand your motivations and objectives. Here is a checklist that’ll make it easier:

  1. Have you had a brand identity before?
  2. Have you heard about the necessity of creating/changing branding from clients?
  3. If you had a brand identity before, why change it?
  4. Who is your target audience? What are the traffic acquisition channels?
  5. How is your branding option connected to company’s specialization?
  6. Do you have a positioning for that particular branding? (A hint: branding should clearly represent the unique advantage of your product)
  7. Have you tested the branding kit on a focus group?
  8. What are the main social media platforms for your company?

After you answered these questions, it’s way easier for you to understand in what directions you go and what is it that you’d like to achieve.

Remember that branding is just a way to achieve a goal – not a goal itself. Whether it comes to product packaging or social media promotion, don’t expect a new identity to bring results immediately. It will work only in the mix with smart content strategy and thorough risk assessment.

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Ramon Ray, founder and editor Smart Hustle Magazine. Entrepreneur, best selling author and global keynote speaker.