When running your own business, you know how not to make the big mistakes. You understand that things like the quality of your products, the attention to detail in your services or how well you interact with clients are big-picture items, and that you need to get these right.
You aren’t likely to send out an inferior product or be rude to a customer, because that’s just bad business. That is how you turn customers away.
You’ve got the big stuff covered – but did you know that there are lots of little ways you could be accidentally turning clients away? Through basic, small and sometimes undetectable decisions you make in your branding, you could be turning people away from your business without even knowing it.
Let’s have a look at the top 5 ways your branding could be accidentally turning clients away
Saying Too Much or Too Little
Your branding needs to walk a fine line between saying enough and not saying too much. It can be a hard balance to strike.
If you are deliberately vague in your branding you may attract more customers initially, but you may upset a lot when they come in closer and realise you were wasting their time. Or they may just decide for themselves that your vagueness isn’t worth a closer look.
You also don’t want to go the other way and say everything in your branding.
Your brand needs to focus on your core values, your core business and a connection with your core clients. Don’t list everything that you do in the hope it will attract more customers because it won’t – no one will bother to spend the time to read the whole list.
Simple visual branding is best, and you don’t want it to be complicated or easily misunderstood. But you don’t want to include anything in your branding that doesn’t directly contribute to your business identity and message.
You want to be clear, but not so simple that you are plain or forgettable. Your message should be instantly conveyed.
Your branding needs to connect with the human beings behind the computer screens. You need to be emotionally engaging but still believable. Your branding should not promise anything except what you deliver – but it should explain to your customers what makes you different and special.
If it works, it will speak to your ideal clients and tell them that you are the right business for them. But it will do this honestly. At the same time, it should tell the customers that you aren’t right for that your business isn’t right for them.
You want it to speak to your ideal customers, not attempt to appeal broadly to everybody, and not to the people who you don’t want to attract.
When you cast a wider net with your branding, you may get more fish biting, but in the end, you could be attracting fewer of the customers you really want to connect with.
It is incredibly important to have a consistent brand – and this has several meanings.
Firstly, your brand should be consistent with your business mission and manifesto, which should be consistent with your own personal values. Your branding needs to be an honest and genuine representation of the YOU in your business.
Secondly, your branding should also be consistent in that your visual brand, the feel of your website and social media and the personality you show online should all be consistent with how you do business on a day to day level.
And finally, your visual branding should be consistent across all platforms. Visually your look and feel need to be the same so that customers can build a relationship with you and learn to trust you as an expert in your field. This is how you position your business in their minds and their hearts.
Online customers may be at any stage on their buying journey – which means that they could be doing some basic research about their problem, they might be comparing options, or they might be ready to buy.
You need to speak to customers at every stage of this buying journey because rarely do people buy from a business they have just discovered. Studies show that it takes on average between 5 and 7 connections between a customer and your business before they make the decision to buy (https://www.nimble.com/blog/touchpoints-sales-funnel/).
You will need to have advertising that targets a number of mediums and a social media and online presence that provides many different kinds of content – to ensure you are found by your ideal clients wherever they are on their buying journey. And on every platform, you need to use a consistent visual brand – your colours, font, design elements, logo, and tagline all need to be exactly the same.
Trying to be Trendy
If there’s anything that a teenager will tell you – it’s that you shouldn’t try to be trendy. Either you are or you aren’t.
In business terms this means that you shouldn’t blindly follow shifting trends with your branding, for two very important reasons:
- It will date quickly, and
- It will feel forced
Your branding needs to feel fresh and contemporary, but at its core, it needs to reflect your business purpose and what you offer your core clients – and neither of these things will change with trends.
Your branding should be original and personal, but branding is about developing a relationship with your customers. They need to know who you are and what to expect from your brand.
If you change your brand to follow shifting trends you won’t establish this relationship of trust. And you might be ignoring the loyal customers that brought you here and forgetting all the things that your success has been based on so far.
Copying Anyone Else
You can get ideas and inspiration from other brands, but your branding should never copy what anyone else is doing.
This fits in with your need for your branding to be honest, real and consistent as well. Riding on any other brand’s coattails does not work in the long run, and is no way to build a relationship with customers. Your brand has to be unique.
Your visual brand identity is not all that your branding encompasses. Your branding comes through in how you do business every day.
It includes how you treat customers and employees, the quality of your services, and how your business sits in the world. If you try to emanate any other business with your visual brand, this won’t transfer over into the experience and expectations that people have of your business, because this develops organically.
You need to keep interacting with your customers both directly in real life and through emails, and also with your community through social media. Your branding is not just delivered when you see a client face to face in your consulting rooms – it is delivered every time you engage with a member of your community.
Use this opportunity to be unique and be yourself, and give your customers every opportunity to learn more about who you are.
Set and Forget
Your brand and your business are both living, breathing and evolving entities. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to spend a heap of time and money creating the perfect brand, and then just launch it and never look at it again.
Times will change, people’s attitudes will change, technology and trends will change, and your business will change too. All of this change means that your brand needs to be regularly reviewed and tweaked.
You need to work out the aspects of your branding and marketing that are working, and weed out the ones that aren’t. You need to adjust your branding, sometimes subtly, sometimes through a major overhaul, to make sure that right message is getting to the right people.
If you turn your back on your brand small mistakes may happen, and can become big ones. It is possible for missteps in marketing to completely kill a brand – so you need to keep paying attention to the perspective that people are getting of you.
The best branding is a continual work in progress.
Remember – it is a challenge, but not impossible
Getting your branding right is a big thing, and has far-reaching consequences. Don’t be turned off by the fact that developing the right brand is challenging, because it should be. Branding says so much about your business, both good and bad, and can either attract the right customers or the wrong ones (or nobody at all!).
Aim to be honest, real and unique in your brand, and then apply this message consistently everywhere you go.
It is challenging, and can take time and a few brainstorming and drafting and reviewing sessions as well, but it isn’t impossible.
When you lock onto the right visual aspects of your business, you will just know it. The right name, logo, tagline, and colours will very often just click, and you will know you have found the one.