Sometimes a company will spend lots of time and money to get a brand established. They create a name. They come up with a catchy tag line. They even argue over the colors to make sure they are right and reinforce the name. They launch a big branding announcement with a flurry of advertising activities and soon it begins to work. The bottom line is going up. Now its time to relax, right? Far from it. The best branding is a consistent, ongoing effort.
Even the most popular brands can be killed. It can be done deliberately or by mistake. Below are the most common mistakes to avoid.
1. Inconsistent corporate identity
A company must use the same name, logo and tag line in all contact inside and outside the company. The company name on the sign out front must match what is on your business card and website. Your customer must hear and see your name, logo, tag line and colors consistently over and over before you are imprinted in your customer's memory. Do not distort your logo, this breaks consistency.
2. Poor visuals (or no visuals)
If you want your company name to pop into someone's mind be aware that pictures are more memorable than words. We think in pictures. Have a consistent, strong visual picture and logo that comes to represent your company.
3. Not training employees
Think of your employees as potentially walking, talking billboards. Pump them up about the name, logo and tag line - train them to be ambassadors in your marketing campaign. Reward them when you find them doing it right.
4. Failure to track branding efforts
Every time someone calls your company, the person on the phone should ask how they came to call your company (saw your ad on TV or heard it on the radio, attended an event, a friend, etc.). Record the answers and keep a list. This data should direct future marketing.
5. Not using existing clients for branding
The best marketing tool in your arsenal is word of mouth advertising. Ask your clients if they will join you in getting the word out — ask for their opinion about your ads; ask them what they think your greatest strength is — and ask if you can quote them.
6. Letting marketing materials get stale
Many companies make this mistake but it’s particularly true for small businesses. They decide to have a company brochure and pay for design and then order thousands of copies. They refuse to get a new brochure until all those copies have been used up. Order smaller amounts and re-do them more frequently. Don't use the same television or radio ad for three years — when your material is stale, people ignore them.
7. Failing to focus branding on the core services
If you want your branding to be successful, decide what your one core service is and target your marketing to that primarily.
8. Not having a tag line that is believable
If the tag line doesn't match the reality for your consumer, they will not believe it and they will kill your marketing efforts with negative word-of-mouth comments.
9. Failing to "grab" the public with your tag line
Good tag lines are usually three to six believable words that match your core services AND have great appeal.
10. Not knowing where successful branding starts
Successful branding starts inside your company. Only you know your core service. Only you and your staff deliver the message. Talk to your consumers often.