September 8, 2022

10 Branding Mistakes SMEs Should Avoid - Part Two

10 Branding Mistakes SMEs Should Avoid - Part Two

10 Branding Mistakes SMEs Should Avoid - Part Two

10 Branding Mistakes SMEs Should Avoid - Part Two

Welcome to part two of our list of the top branding blunders to avoid at all costs. Knowing this stuff can really help you navigate the challenging process of building a sustainable brand for your company, so go ahead and check them out below.

We said it in part one, but it bears repeating: if you have a business, you have a brand. The question is, are you intentionally building an effective brand?

Your brand is all about how your business is perceived, which is crucial to its success. Working on your brand is directing this perception. A lack of understanding can lead to some costly mistakes! But fear not - we’re going to let you in on five more very avoidable pitfalls.

Mistake 6: Neglecting an update

We have a whole blog post detailing some telltale signs that your brand is ready for an update. All successful companies go through a brand refresh at certain stages of growth. If your SME is currently evolving, your visual identity needs to keep up.

That being said, we don’t want you rushing in to changing the company’s branding elements willy nilly! Proceed with caution on any brand changes and hire a professional. Even if cash flow isn’t a problem, it would be smart to update your branding elements selectively rather than in one sweeping blow, as your staff and customers may have formed an attachment to your old comforting look, and the shock and awe approach is not going to win you any fans.

Remember: consistency is key. Work your branding updates into your overall business strategy to avoid a visual identity that is at odds with the company it represents.

Mistake 7: Undertaking a poorly timed and executed rebrand

Ah, now we find ourselves on the flip side of mistake number 6 with the poorly timed and executed rebrand. 

To illustrate this one we have here a cautionary tale: the Tropicana Rebrand failure of 2009. Remember what we said about shock and awe? Not only did Tropicana redesign their logo - they also opted to redesign the packaging of their hero product at the same time for their North American market. Consumers lost their familiar reference elements of the original logo, the orange with a straw, and the wording. As a result not only did they not buy the product, they rejected and publicly criticised the redesign.

Tropicana failed to maintain recognisability and saw a severe drop in sales. They took a great risk in changing too many brand elements at once, and it didn’t pay off. The juice company ended up reverting back to their previous branding at great cost.

All this being said, a branding overhaul at this level can absolutely work, especially for brands or products that are floundering. The key is to approach the change methodically and strategically, and with the purpose of signifying an overhaul of the brand’s goals, message and culture.

Mistake 8: Forgetting your brand values and voice

Continuing along the strain of confusing consumers: attaching the brand to irrelevant things, for example by means of odd partnerships with unrelated organisations or products, can also backfire. Again, a brand is powered by the holy grail of consistency, which increases brand value over time.

Not using accurate or unique copy, but opting instead for overextending with superlatives or jumping on cultural bandwagons that result in tone-deaf marketing blunders, does a brand way more harm than good.

A brand’s tone of voice should be accurate, representative, and grounded in reality.

Mistake 9: Failing to leverage positive history in efforts to modernise

GAP made it into the hall of fame of branding blunders in 2010 for how they lost sight of their brand perception in an out-of-the-blue redesign of their classic logo.

The retail giant took unnecessary steps to modernise the brand with the logo change, alienating their loyal customer base and inviting widespread criticism; resulting in the company reverting back to the classic logo after just one week.

This example illustrates the power of the logo as a connection point between your brand and your customer. Their emotional attachment, brand connotations and expectations must always be taken into account in any change to your wider branding and business strategy.

Mistake 10: Not defining the brand before embarking on the design

And for the final branding mistake on our list: not defining the brand. In other words – not taking time to really understand your target market, your brand message, your business goals, and even your brand personality, before embarking on the design process.

Defining the brand is a key part of your branding strategy, and will inform all other decisions and aspects of how the brand should come across visually.

It may seem smart to cast a wide net with generic appeal, but attempting to appeal to everyone is a road to nowhere. Understand and cater to your target customer, and they’ll do the work for you of promoting your brand with like-minded others.

Being prepared with a well defined brand message and personality will give your brand identity substance, and stand you in good stead for seeing the growth you’re looking for.

Closing thoughts

Branding can be time consuming and difficult to navigate without the help of professional expertise. Mistakes like these can cost time and money and set you off in an entirely undesirable direction. Thankfully, there are studios like ours who specialise in getting businesses like yours off the ground with some solid branding design that’ll stand the test of time.

Have you run into any of these branding mishaps while developing your business? We’d love to have a chat about how we can get your brand back on track. 

Need a refresher? Find part one of this article here.

Sales manager
Royal Academy of Dance
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