5 Costly Branding Mistakes Most Startups Make

In business today, branding is one of the essential aspects all organizations need to consider, no matter how big or small they might be – it is no longer a necessity just for big companies and enterprises. This is because there are now so many companies operating in all kinds of markets. Simply put, the competition is very high and in order to succeed, you need to snatch your place on the market.

In order to differentiate your business from all the competition and rise above them, you need to brand your organization to the best of your abilities. Furthermore, you need to start doing this as soon as possible, even in the startup phase of your business. First impressions are very important in branding, and if you start on the right foot, you can build on it and make your business recognizable.

To be able to achieve this, you need to avoid making costly mistakes that can set you back for a long time.

1. Not defining their brand

This might seem as an obvious thing to do, but you would be surprised how many people forget to do this. A lot of startups don’t understand their own brand and they end up sending mixed messages to their audience, which conflict with their supposed “core values”.

Analyze your organizations and try to be objective. This is how you can determine what your strengths are, what characterizes your organization and how all of these things affect your customers and potential ones. Your efforts need to align with the brand message you are trying to send and if not, people will have low opinions about your business.

If you are having problems doing this, you might want to ask your customers questions to see what they think about your business and which words they would use to describe it. Knowing how you are presenting your brand at the moment and what you need to do in order to get the right message across is essential if you want your branding strategy to be effective and positively affect your business.

2. Not creating a brand story

Most people have a common misconception that branding is mostly about design and visuals. On the contrary, the story of a brand is probably the most valuable asset. People love stories and they can inspire them to dream, imagine, become engaged, and make them more open towards something. This is what people will look for in your content, so work on it thoroughly before releasing it to the public.

Visuals can further shape your story and channel the right messages effectively, but the story is at the center of it all, meaning that without it, you won’t be able to deliver a strong message. The story can engage your audience and help people learn about what motivates your business, what your goals are, what your values and policies are, and so on.

A good brand story accompanied with proper designs will tap into the emotions of your potential customers, engage them and set the stage for creating a connection with them. All of this will lead to them being more open to contacting you and getting your services or products.

3. Being inconsistent

A lot of startups work on their branding incentives one at a time, because they don’t have the resources to take care of everything at once. Although this is not inherently bad, a lot of them start thinking about every asset as an individual thing and forget that all of them together are supposed to represent a single brand.

In order for a branding strategy to be effective, all of the entities need to be aligned and coherent so that they can create a strong message that clearly states your values. With inconsistent entities, your target audience will not understand your brand and have doubts about whether or not your business, products, or services is what they need.

For example, if a person sees your posts on social media and then sees an ad that tells them a completely different story, they might think that these are, in fact, two different brands. On the other hand, your organization might come off as unprofessional or unreliable, given the fact that you cannot clearly present yourself to the public.

4. Forgetting the importance of quality design

Many startups have limited resources and when it comes to branding, a lot of them try to save on their design. They either try to do this by themselves or hire someone who is very cheap to design their brand identity. As I mentioned earlier, the brand story and design are equally important and it’s impossible to establish a good branding strategy without these two.

No matter how good your story might be, without proper designs and visuals, you will never be able to attract the attention of your target audience and make them learn more about your brand. Your startup needs to be visually appealing and recognizable to the public, drawing people into your story.

If not, nobody will spend their valuable time on your brand and be open to learning more. Designs are the screen through which people look at your brand and they can help convey the message more clearly while needing less time to make a point.

5. Forgetting how important their logo is

The most important visual aspect of a brand is the company logo. You need to invest special effort and time in creating a logo that truly represents your brand and sends the right message. In fact, the first visual asset of your brand you need to work on is your logo – it all starts from the there, as it is the face of your brand.

Organizations forget that their logo will be displayed everywhere where they are present. From ads, social media posts, articles, web pages, product images etc. On its own, a logo has great power and when combined with other brand entities, it’s even more effective.

This is why a logo has to be meaningful, flexible and memorable. If your target audience doesn’t find your logo interesting, chances are that all of your other brand assets will not be interesting to them. A logo has the power to entice people, but at the same time, it can equally be effective at pushing them away.

Starting your branding efforts early is essential. By presenting your unique aspects, values and the story behind your business, not only will you be able to grow into a respected company, but you will also attract customers, partners and stakeholders that can help you grow your startup. By avoiding these mistakes, you will greatly increase your chances of success and avoid putting your branding strategy in danger.

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