Branding can be one of the most overwhelming tasks you’ll face as a business owner. While chatting with some of my small business owner friends, I realized that I was giving a lot of similar branding advice to help them avoid easy-to-make mistakes. Today, I’m going to share them with you. If you’re an email list subscriber, you’ll also have access to a special free brand positioning worksheet in our Marketing Resource Library to help you think through how you should really be appealing to your clientele.
Learn to Commit.
One of the most frequently committed branding mistakes is changing your logo too frequently. To be honest, many people don’t know that this is even detrimental to their business. So, let’s discuss why you should learn to commit.
Did you know that the Target logo has remained unchanged in its essentials since 1968 with a 96% logo recognition rate? I’m not going to stand here and say once you design your logo, you need to be married to it for 50 years. There is, however, something to be said about consistency. If you work as a wedding vendor, your target audience is refreshing every 12 to 18 months, so your logo shouldn’t change more frequently than that. You don’t want your prospective clients to come to your site, love your work, but then be utterly confused when they come back to your site because your branding and aesthetic is completely changed.
I personally recommend holding off on rebranding for at least two to three years from the launch of the initial brand. Why? Because during that time frame, there’s a higher likelihood you’ll get word of mouth referrals from previous clients. If a new client came in contact with your business card or other marketing materials in the past, and went to your website to research you for his or her own wedding, consistent logos and branded visuals will give you brand recognition, which ultimately gives you a better chance of being booked. Will that capture every possible referral you get? No, clearly not. But staying consistent for a two to three year span strikes a good balance between keeping your business recognizable and allowing you to freshen up your branding as your style and business evolve.
Think Long Term, Not Trendy.
We’ve already talked about staying married to a logo and branding system for consistency, and the best way for you to avoid the temptation to rebrand constantly is to avoid anything overly trendy. I’ve seen many typefaces suddenly explode on the design scene and, within days, a seemingly infinite number of brands are using it on everything. Not only does it do a disservice to your long-term brand recognition, you also end up looking like every other brand. Obviously, that’s not ideal when you really want to stand out. If something that makes sense for your brand is hot right now, it’s not an automatic disqualifier. However, you need to be very thoughtful of how you’re using those elements, and be honest with yourself about whether you’ll be sick of them in a six months to a year.
What You Love May Not Be Right for Your Brand.
Shiny Object Syndrome is a definite threat while developing your brand. You might see another vendor introduce a new, lovely modern calligraphy logo that you absolutely adore. But just because you like what you see, doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. If you have a very elegant and traditional aesthetic, more whimsical elements like hand-lettering could create a disconnect between what your brand is and what your brand conveys. You may even turn off some of your potential customer base because they think you work in a different style than you actually do.
Position Yourself for Success.
You need to be strategic in how you develop your brand and really get to know it. Specifically, you need to know how other people see it, not how you do. Often, I see business owners struggling to work through the disconnect between how their audience sees them and how the image the owner thinks they’re projecting to the audience. It’s hard to be objective when you’re so close to your business, so beneficial to chat with people whose opinions you trust to get some honest feedback. It’ll give you a better sense of how far, or how close, you are to your target.
We’ve developed a special brand positioning worksheet, available for free to email list subscribers through our Marketing Resource Library. It includes several questions that will get you to think critically about your brand and your audience so that you’re making more educated choices when it comes to how you market yourself and represent your business.