Good branding can be tricky, but it’s so important to get right! It’s the window into the heart and soul of your business, the thing you’ve worked so hard on. Your branding should be everything you want to communicate to your customers, and as your customers evolve over time so should your branding.
Here are a few crucial mistakes to avoid!
1. Not getting the logo right
Your logo says a lot about your brand, it may actually be the most important thing when it comes to branding. You want it to emit a good feeling to potential customers and if you don’t get it right at the beginning, it can be too hard to change later on.
We worked on a logo refresh for Robinson Grain Trading Co. They are one of the largest regionally based grain trading operations in Sydney. They had been using their old logo for years and turned to Spicy for a refresh – just take a look at the before and after!
How’s that for a makeover! We kept the element of the wheatgrass but made it more simplistic and modern. Also moved the focus of the logo to their company name using bigger and bolder typography.
2. Not communicating what makes you special
Whether it’s a tagline, mission statement or headline on your homepage, if you’re not effectively communicating what makes your brand special it will have people bouncing from your site almost instantly – talk about a bore fest!
You’ve got to talk about what you do and why it matters. Something that makes you stand out will make you look a thousand times better to your audience, tug on those heartstrings if you can!
What not to do:
- Overuse buzzwords or slang
- Use unclear terminology
- Not communicating the problems you solve
- Being too similar to what your competitors are saying – be your own self!
Steadfast Life does an amazing job of communicating what makes them special.
Spicy designed a website for them that showcases what they do, who they are and why they are experts in life insurance and features known customer happiness and testimonials. Their homepage features a promotional video of the WHY factor for Steadfast Life. “Life is… precious, inspiring, growth, fun, family, learning, achievement.” The ‘Your Stories’ section is available for users to peruse insurance options similar to their needs by reading about the ways they’ve helped their clients and the positive impact they’ve had on their lives.
3. Not complying to brand guidelines
Nothing says bad branding like inconsistency! Brand guidelines serve as exactly what they’re called – a guide. They serve to demonstrate what you represent and what differentiates you from your competitors. It starts with making sure your company visuals match across all platforms. Brands that are consistently presented are three to four times more likely to experience brand visibility.
Most of the time it’s your website and social media that customers will first see so you want to make a good first impression. How would it look if the colours on your Facebook page were the complete opposite of the colours used on your website? Pretty disjointed don’t you think?
Create a brand guideline that outlines logo usage, colour schemes, visuals and imagery, voice and messaging, fonts and typography and then stick to it! It’s a no-brainer method to keeping consistent and looking professional.
The most distinctive graphic element for Form1 is definitely the hoops. They are an important graphic element of the identity and can be used in a variety of ways to bring communications to life. The hoops can be used in the original configuration, on their own, cropped, enlarged, or part of a pattern to create a multitude of bold compositions.
The Form1 colour palette has been developed around a core set of bright fresh colours which can be used across all communication. All of this information and more is clearly explained in their brand guideline which we followed carefully when designing their website.
May we just add that Spicy launched the Form1 website in December 2017 and were awarded the 2017 Special Kudos Award by the CSS Design Awards for the website’s design!
When you look at Form1’s Facebook page you can see the hoops continue in their cover photo creating consistency across their platforms.
4. Jumping on trends
We live in an era where news, fast fashion and social media updates are always grabbing our attention. That means something is always trending and it’s important to remember that these waves come and go.
Keeping up with the latest branding and design trends is great to make sure your company is presented in a fresh, contemporary way but there’s a big difference between modernizing your brand and losing your core identity to whatever is the new hottest thing. If you commit too heavily in a trend that turns out to be a short-lived blip, you risk making your brand look outdated – fast!
It’s like buying a couch… I know that sounds absurd but stay with me… You buy a great, comfy gray, minimal couch and add bright, fun cushions. Then you swap out the cushions to muted tones and palm leaves. The cushions are easy to swap out (like staying on trend with your marketing material) if the base is neutral and timeless.
5. Thinking locally instead of globally
Even if you are a business rooted in the local community, the world is becoming more and more diverse. When crafting your brand message, make sure you take into consideration how it might be perceived around the world. The last thing you want for your brand to be associated with is ignorance or ethnocentricity.
The best way to welcome customers from a range of backgrounds is to:
- Use language everyone can understand
- Invest in reputable translation services
- Practice cultural sensitivity
- Be inclusive and respect feedback from all
- Do your research when venturing into unknown territories
In fact, according to research, 75% of consumers worldwide expect brands to contribute to their well-being and quality of life. The notion of brand purpose is especially important when marketing to millennials, 71% of whom say they prefer brands that drive social and environmental change.
Having a bigger, higher purpose is not only good for the planet and people, but it allows you to differentiate yourself and along yourself with the kind of people who you want to buy your stuff.
Your brand is like the story of your company and a promise to your customers. No brand is built overnight but you can start laying down the groundwork of what you want your brand to represent.
Need some help with branding?