6 Branding mistakes you're making, and how to fix them

By now, just about everybody knows how important branding is- even if you’re just a fresh-faced, one-person operation jumping into the creative entrepreneur waters for the very first time.  Not only is your brand the first impression you make with potential clients and followers, it’s also the thread that allows them to build a relationship with you over time.  “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” Seth Godin  I see small businesses and solopreneurs making mistakes with their branding all the time- and you might be surprised to hear what some of those mistakes are.  Read on to find out more.

By now, just about everybody knows how important branding is- even if you’re just a fresh-faced, one-person operation jumping into the creative entrepreneur waters for the very first time.

Not only is your brand the first impression you make with potential clients and followers, it’s also the thread that allows them to build a relationship with you over time.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Seth Godin

I see small businesses and solopreneurs making mistakes with their branding all the time- and you might be surprised to hear what some of those mistakes are.

Read on to see if you’re committing any of these branding crimes yourself.

Mistake One:

You think you have a brand because you have a logo.

Brands are SO MUCH MORE than logos. In fact, I’ve actually encountered many outstanding brands (especially personal brands) that didn’t even have a logo. And I bet you have too.

Listen, logos are great. Of course they are. And having a well-designed logo really should be high on your priority list, but you can’t just stop there.  

If you think a logo alone is a brand, keep reading, because a few of these other branding mistakes will show you other parts and pieces that go into creating a brand people rave over.

Mistake Two:

You think branding is just for big businesses.

See above about personal brands. More and more, consumers are coming to understand that a brand doesn’t just have to be a giant company like Nike or Coca-Cola. Brands are also single person businesses like: blogger, Instagram influencer, musician, artist, health coach, yoga teacher, etc, etc. Granted, it can get a little tricky separating the person from the brand with personal brands, but that’s another blog post for another day.

Mistake Three:

Not establishing a clear brand identity.

Remember what I said above in mistake one about brands being more than a logo? Well, having a clear brand identity will help you expand your brand look and tone of voice beyond just your logo.

It should have things like: colors, fonts, patterns and/or icons (if applicable), photographic style/tone, logo variants, taglines, and tone of voice.

Once these pieces are established, it’s a snap creating all the other “stuff” that you’ll need for your business. (You know, like websites, social media posts & graphics, promos, marketing copy, email newsletters, and more.)

Mistake Four:

Not having a brand strategy

Listen, all that stuff we already mentioned is amazing. That’s all the stuff that makes your brand LOOK hot and profresh. But not having a brand strategy- even if you have all that other stuff- is kind of like owning a fully restored vintage car of your dreams...with no engine in it. Looks nice, but you can’t drive it anywhere.

So, what are the things a brand strategy covers? Glad you asked. You’ll want to figure out: who you’re speaking to; What you’re for and/or against; Who your competitors are; And what your unique value proposition is- that thing that makes you extra-special and unique from others who are doing or selling similar things.

Mistake Five:

Not being consistent across platforms.

If your social media, business card, and website all have a different look or feel, people walk away scratching their heads. They’ll drop you like a hot potato and move on.

Remember, A recognizable brand is a memorable brand. And how do you make your brand sticky? Repetition.

That’s right, by having a clear brand identity and brand strategy that can be applied across all your channels seamlessly. (see how things are coming together here??)

Mistake Six:

Designing the brand for yourself, not your ideal client/customer

This one is a real tricky widget- cause obviously you want to love your brand design as much as your customers and clients do- BUT… ultimately you want to attract and delight your ideal customer, so you should be designing everything with them in mind first. You could love your brand design to the the moon and back, but if your customers don’t love it, it’s not going to do you much good, right?

Spending time with your brand strategy BEFORE you do any brand design work is a great way to ensure you’re thinking of your customers first.

So, how’d you do? Are you making any of these branding mistakes? Or maybe there are others I’m missing- Let me know in the comments!