3 Signs Of

Bad Branding

Is your current branding costing you sales?

Before you invest in a rebrand though, you should consider whether it's completely necessary for your business' current goals. At its worst, ineffective branding isn't just forgettable, it can damage your reputation and sales for the long term.

In contrast, successful branding makes marketing decisions easier and your message more compelling.

Why?

It attracts more of your best customers and inspires fierce loyalty.

It also informs company culture, both captivating and retaining the best talent.

Effective branding goes far beyond just a logo or other visual identity assets. A sound brand strategy can cement your brand as a viable business asset that directly increases your value to investors.

Do you think your current branding is holding your business back from reaching the next level?

It can be difficult to determine from the inside, but if you consider these next three points and you can’t emphatically say …

No, we've definitely got that nailed!

Then you may need to consider investing in developing your brand.

Sign #1

Inconsistency

What usually comes to mind is inconsistency in your visual identity.

Let's say you're in the education sector, focusing on disrupting traditional education for children by creating access to virtual reality experiences.

Your logo, colors and typefaces communicate an attitude that is bright, young and forward-thinking. But your photography primarily features children sitting at desks, learning in a standard classroom.

This subtle misalignment actually diminishes the impact of your marketing significantly.

Having a clearly defined message and creating standards that take into account all the ways your brand will be visually communicated ensures that you will avoid the cardinal sin of confusing your customer.

However, visual inconsistency isn't even the worst or most damaging.

The worst thing your brand can do is set expectations with your promised values and fail to follow through with significant action.

When you promise a creative and forward thinking outlook but your employees work in a dark and dated office, it’s a non-starter.

Instead of making that value tangible

It comes across as empty words

Consider this same dynamic as if your brand and your customer go on a first date. Imagine your brand promises in their online dating profile that they’re light hearted and fun, but over dinner never even cracks a smile? Would you be surprised to see that customer decline a second date?

3 Signs of Bad Branding

If you fail at consistency and follow-through you risk being seen as yet another business that makes promises backed by nothing but hot air and dust bunnies.

Sign #2

Lack of Personality

Let's say you've got consistency nailed. Congratulations, this is a significant step in creating a brand that actually adds to your bottom line.

But if you blend into the crowd and no one could pick you out of a lineup of your competitors you've got a serious problem.

Having a personality does not mean you have to be the life of the party.

A sage and friendly teacher is still memorable. A wise and attentive teacher that guides their students through those particularly murky seasons of life can leave an impression on them that lasts a lifetime.

Having a remarkable personality is more about how you make people feel at the end of the day. Quirky might inspire joy, but friendly and thoughtful might inspire peace, or strong and action-oriented might inspire confidence and a can-do attitude.

3 Signs of Bad Branding

The popular weight loss app, Noom, comes across as both knowledgeable and empathetic.

Their focus on mindset and making small changes over time has built appeal with their core demographic of busy millennial women. Most independent reviews of the app’s paid coaching program state that, as a user, they finally felt empowered to develop healthy long term habits compared to competitor programs.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

3 Signs of Bad Branding

If your customers are only going to remember how you made them feel, what feeling do you want them to remember you for?

Now, what actions are you going to take that, all combined, are going to make that feeling a reality of every interaction any person- customer, vendor or employee, has with your business?

Sign #3

No Strategy

The strategy behind your brand is the thing that no one sees but it informs everything they actually do, see, and hear about your business.

A lot of decisions around branding are made based off the founder’s personal preferences, or what a marketing team suggests will stand out amongst competitors’ advertisements.

But, when there is no strategy actually tying all the decisions together ...

You risk marketing, sales, human resources, customer service all becoming so disjointed from one another that there is no chance to establish consistency.

When considering crafting a strategy that informs how your brand will interact in every facet of your business, you must first clearly define the goals you’re trying to reach.

3 Signs of Bad Branding Worksheet

Your brand strategy should outline ...

1

How the actions that are taken

2

The feeling you want to be remembered for

3

The types of customers you seek to acquire

… are all directly contributing to accomplishing those business goals.

Too often businesses see their brand as a necessary tool for marketing and advertising but fail to capitalize on building it up as the operational foundation that it should be.

3 Signs of Bad Branding Good Example

For five years running, the outdoor lifestyle brand REI, has opted to close all its stores on Black Friday, giving all employees a paid day off to spend outdoors.

This is a big action they take to follow through on their tagline:

"A life outdoors is a life well lived".

This decision to close on the biggest shopping day of the year in favor of standing behind their values has inspired strong loyalty in their core customer base. And that loyalty has elevated positive awareness of their brand as well as their sales over the rest of the year.

This is a perfect example of how standing behind your values with big, decisive actions is a true application of brand strategy.

What is your core purpose, and how do you take measurable action to back up your claims?

Can you state exactly how your brand is supporting your business goals and connecting with your customers?

If not, you need to take a step back and remember why you started this all in the first place, build a strategy off of that why that informs every facet of your business and your brand will be all the more valuable for it.

If your brand lacks true consistency, memorability and a sound strategy, you will find it rather useless.

But, if you take the time to build a strong brand foundation it will significantly magnify your business' future sale value.

Want to dive a little deeper?

We’ve created a brand strategy blueprint worksheet to help you get a head start with your brand.

If you would find that useful, download our the presentation and worksheet through the form on this page.

3 Signs of Bad Branding Deck & Worksheet
Download the deck and worksheet

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