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12 Most Common Mistakes in Branding

It's hard to believe but millions of Rands are wasted each year by marketing executives who are well-intentioned but have missed crucial steps in brand-building. After providing brand guidance to many companies over the past 20 years, these are the 12 most common brand mistakes:

1. Incorrect Segmentation

Without proper market segmentation, it's impossible to accurately assess a business opportunity. Many companies believe if we build it they will come. It's not true. Without understanding who the customers are and what they really want, chances are your marketing strategy will, at best, under perform or, worst case, fail.

2. Indistinguishable positioning

In its simplest form, positioning is mental sorting. Your customers are incredibly busy and have little or no time to think about your product or service. Therefore, it's your job to help them understand why your company or product is different from, and better than, the competition. The biggest brand mistake companies make when it comes to positioning is to focus on attributes that are not differentiated or are unimportant to the customer.

3. 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.

4. Premature product launch

This is more commonly called sell and repent. Software and technology companies are notorious for rushing products to market in order to gain advantage on the competition. These bug-infested, glitchy products create havoc for the customer, leading to poor customer relations and lawsuits. While they don't have to be perfect, product efficacy is more important than short-term market gains. Remember... when you're launching a product or service, you only get to be new once. It's nearly impossible to get the market to take a second look after you've blown the launch.

5. Inadequate funding

Companies will spend huge amounts of money developing new products and services and then squeeze the possibility of success out of the marketing budget. The result is inadequate funding for creative and product promotion. Starving the marketing budget is the best way to ensure that you won't get noticed. Spending a little bit on each product line, as opposed to going with the discipline and rigor of identifying the highest opportunities, is another common budgeting mistake many companies make.

6. Getting creative with your company name

Clever names may be fun to develop, but if your target market cannot tell who you are and what you stand for from your company name, customers may pass you by. Potential clients won't take the time to figure out your business. So, make it easy for people to "get" what you do. Would you rather spend your marketing Rands explaining the purpose of your business or let your company name do that for you? Why not spend your marketing funds to go deeper into how you can make a difference in the lives of your customers? A well-named business can simply make your job much easier.

7. Forgetting that you are your brand

No matter what you sell - and whether you like it or not - as an entrepreneur, you become the masthead for your business. Everything you do represents the brand of your company. Maintain a character that is in keeping with your brand and it will do your company - and you - well.

8. Not being realistic about your competition

Some businesses make the mistake of believing their product has no competition. This is never true. Even if there is no product or service that directly competes with yours, there is always something else on the market that your customers can choose to meet their needs over you. So, get to know your direct and indirect competition well, and look at them all realistically. What will differentiate your product or service from your competitors and fill your market's needs? Then, focus your brand on those differences.

9. Not being consistent in your communications

Power positioning means you take your positioning and then communicate it - consistently - across everything you do. If your positioning stands for one thing but your website or a brochure communicates something different, your brand will alter, and you'll never stand for anything. Your target market can only get to understand your brand well if all of your messaging and materials are consistent.

10. 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 community ambassadors in your marketing campaigns. Reward them when you find them doing it right.

11. Not making tough choices about your brand's offerings/benefits

just as you can't target your product to everyone in the marketplace, you must also make tough choices about what your brand will stand for. Don't fall victim to brand benefit scope creep.

12. Failure to hire a professional branding expert and designer

While it may be tempting to let your neighbour's computer savvy son build your brand, don't do it. When some people hear "professional" they automatically think they won't be able to afford it. There are reasonably priced consultants and designers like Wrappa Brand Consultants who offer a highly professional service - from the very beginning, and it will be the best decision you will make for your brand, its future and its bottom line.
Most mistakes can be rectified - with enough time an d money. Better to brand with care. The road to branding success is riddled with the wrecks of those who thought they were too smart or too casual to have to heed the warning signs. Don't find out the hard way.
Contact WRAPPA Brand Consultancy today and make your brand work for you !