There is far more to branding than colours, design, headlines and logos, and Dr Fern Kazlow (aka Dr K), New York City Psychotherapist, speaker, author, and business and branding consultant helps explain some of the most common branding mistakes.
Branding can make or break your business, but when you get it right, everything else you do falls into place. Your marketing, advertising, offers and everything else becomes so much easier and faster to implement.
Marketing without good branding is like building a house on poor foundations. If your branding is wrong your marketing will be wrong.
There Are Ten Branding Mistakes
Number One: Letting Others Define You
If you don't brand yourself consciously and correctly, your brand will be determined for you by your customers and competition. More often than not, they will also interpret and manipulate your unconscious brand to suit themselves.
Branding is to business what location is to real estate. It never gets overplayed.
Branding is not about jumping on the next hot item. It's about building a connection, relationship and a point of communication.
Personal & Business Brands: There is a strong connection between your personal and business brand and they must share the same values. Even as an employee, you have your brand, and this brand must fit with your employers brand.
Rebranding & Core Values: Every business can rebrand, but you cannot rebrand core values. A company providing a premium product will find it challenging to rebrand into the world of discounting, and visa vera. There must be alignment and connection between the brand and your core values.
You Need Brand Clarity: Someone can always beat you on price. Therefore your brand needs to be very clear so that it either attracts people or repels people. Clear messages give your customers confidence and build trust.
Branding should quickly let people know whether you're a good fit for them or not. The quicker you can do this, the better.
Endless Possibilities: As previously mentioned, if you do not define your brand, someone else will do it for you, and this could limit your real possibilities.
Survey people: To find out what people think about you, you need to survey them and evaluate what they say. Your clients may see something you cannot see yourself.
BUT, don't let their feedback constrict or limit you. Remember, it's only a perception of you and your business.
If you create a void someone will fill that void.
Advice & Criticism: Remember advice for others, including survey results, could be GOOD ADVICE FOR THEM, but BAD ADVICE FOR YOU. Or, it could be bad advice for them as well.
Some people will try to pass on their fears about business and life onto you, and try and pass it off as good advice. Therefore be careful who you're asking.
Never ask unsuccessfully people about how to be successful.
Value Alignment: Also make sure the person your getting advice from has similar values to yourself. If time with your family is one of your core values and you're receiving advice from someone who values money over family, their opinion may not sit well with you. Selecting a business coach or mentor with aligned values is extremely important.
Number Two: Not Backing Up Your Brand
Branding is a promise: If you break the promises, you break the trust, and it's hard to earn trust back once it is gone. But if you make many trust deposits with clients, you can make an error, and your trust bank account will permit you to fix it.
Recovery Paradox: If you make an error, and you're honest and prepared to fix it fast, it can be beneficial and leave a lasting positive result.
Social Media: Social media can work for you or against you, which is why you need to handle problems fast. If you have a business with an online presence and social media pages, someone must be keeping an eye on it at all times.
When an error occurs, own it and fix it inline with your brand.
Question: Will It Strengthen Or Weaken My Brand?
Ask this question with everything you're planning to do. "Is this going to strengthen or weaken my brand"?
All your marketing ideas, business collaborations and relationships, expansions and renovations, deciding which book to write next, should I start a podcast or not, etc. can all be answered by asking this simple question - "will it strengthen or weaken my brand"?
If your answer to the question is neutral, then the answer is still NO. Your actions must strengthen your brand, and if it doesn't do this, don't do it.
If it doesn't strength your brand, it's weakening it.
Be Aware of Your Actions: You don't know where you are being seen and heard, so be careful with what you say and the actions you take in certain situations.
If you're not happy with the service at a restaurant, you can handle your concerns discretely, or you could get into a heated argument. We've all seen this happen and usually, we feel sorry for the waiter or waitress, so if you did this would you say it's positive or negative for your brand.
It's Not About Being Perfect: Promise what you can and want to deliver, don't promise what you think you should be promising.
Promise what you are willing to stand behind and committed to delivering. If for some reason you cannot deliver the promised you can apologise and MEAN IT.
Branding Mistakes three to ten will be discussed in PART TWO in the next few weeks - stay tuned.
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