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Often, Businesses do not fully understand what is required to successfully ‘brand’ their business. A good logo is not everything that you would use to describe your corporate identity. In fact, it is just the tip of the iceberg! In this article, we will have a look at the more common mistakes in understanding branding and topics related to in branding.

1. Name and logo are not everything.

Many entrepreneurs mistakenly think that by working in their business, they do not need to work on their business. In order to avoid mistakes, you should spend some time working on your business, which includes marketing and branding. Apple is an excellent example of marketing and branding driving the overall company. For your business to form a truly authentic corporate identity, your business will need more than just a business name and log. Without sounding too much like a classic John Lennon song, Imagine if an Apple Store was small, untidy, chaotic and resembled a shop that was hit by a tornado. Imagine if their products were packed in small blue plastic bags that you get from your local off-license, rather than elegant, white, minimalist branded boxes. No one would ever consider shopping in such a store and individuals would not have confidence in the quality of the product. However, Apple has established a brand identity that is clean and clear. Their brand is simple and highly recognizable. This is intended to reflect their products and the company mantra.

Instead of developing only a company’s name and logo, you should consider thinking about its soul and overall mission in order to stay consistent with each part of its branding.

2. Logo must be more than just “nice“.

Businesses will often go to design agencies and ask for a “nice” logo. Your logo is not supposed to be simply “nice” or “pretty”. Think of your logo as part of the consistent message that you want to put across. Your opinion is always bound to disagree with someone else’s view. The same is true with your overall vision of the business in that something you find attractive may appear ugly to others. Do not aim to create simply “nice” things. Instead, make your own things, and take ownership! There truly is no better brand than the brand that consistently conveys your true personal vision.

3. Inconsistency and unprofessionalism in branding.

Inconsistency within branding occurs regularly, even with established corporations with big marketing departments. The branding book’s guidelines should cover all aspects of branding that include communication with customers in order to stay cohesive at all times. Inconsistent branding will disconnect your customers. However, even consistent branding can still be ineffective if it lacks professionalism. In the cases of both inconsistency and unprofessionalism in branding., company-customer relations will suffer.

4. The issue when your brand is something separate from the business.

This often happens when the brand is something separate to the business as it creates a vacuum outside the business. It is inconsistent with company structure and overall mission. This does not happen just with SMEs, it even afflicts larger companies. Make sure your brand is a way to identify your product, and let it come from the core of the business. Try to shift away from a mindset of marketing as an afterthought and a mere item of necessary expenditure. Instead, move towards an embrace of marketing for the potential that it can unlock. PS. set your sights high!

5. Changing logo badly.

You might have heard about GAP’s disastrous logo re-branding… In 2010 GAP tried to refresh their brand. The attempt by GAP ranks in history as one of the shortest lived re-brands, and one of the biggest failures. Customers expressed outrage on social media and GAP quickly decided that after a mere 6 days it would need to be a case of ‘out with the new, and in with the old’ as the company reverted back to the classic, original GAP logo.

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This particular re-brand failure soon created a sustainable amount of buzz, not least evident in the many jokes about it. This subsequently led many applying the same kind of rebranding to other famous brands and called the process (http://gapify.tumblr.com/):

 

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This tale of re-branding calamity has a simple truth: established and recognised brands SHOULD NOT change without first considering customers. The issue was less in the bad logo design itself, although it was stylistically poor, and more in refreshing the brand without changing anything else. The logo should always be the last part of an overall changes process. Logo changes must not be too drastic; they should be both organic and gradual. A certain trace of consistency should always remain intact from the previous logo. That way, customers are not confused and disconnected from a brand they trust.

6. Changing logos too often.

Refreshing logos is a necessary step, from time to time. Nevertheless, re-branding too frequently is dangerous and futile. Customers become confused if the brand changes too often. This disconnects your business and customer base. Recently, companies have tried to adapt a new logo template in particular, a flat design with overall simplicity. Flat design mean removing any shadows or emboss. Adapting a logo and making it a bit more modern is something different from complete change. Pepsi is an example of a company changing logo too often:

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Source: http://www.gmdist.com/2012/12/11/pepsi-slogans-and-logos-throughout-the-years/

7. I need a logo.

What about not using a logo at all? Not everything requires a brand or logo. We are cluttered with brands. Almost everything is branded nowadays, even products worth a penny. Consider leaving some products or services unbranded if they would really still sell fine without a branded logo. Although an unconventional and controversial approach, different companies have already successfully experimented with de-branding. This is especially true of companies that are service and customer-focussed. For instance, Starbucks has opened new premises that are conspicuous by the absence of any branding.

This article was written by me and was published exclusively on InCube website.

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