gomindstorm series - brand pitfalls

Don’t make these branding mistakes!

Branding can be a tough process, especially if you may not even be sure what a brand is to begin with.  We know. We work with entrepreneurs and established clients every day who are trying to improve or reinforce their brands. We’re experienced in what it takes to have a strong brand and we’re with our clients every step of the way.



Take a moment to describe your brand in five adjectives or less.

If you had to stop and think about it, then you aren’t as familiar with it as you should be. How would others describe your brand? One of the most effective methods of resonating the true meaning of your brand with anyone is to tell an engaging narrative. How can you incorporate your foundation, elements, pillars, and brand box?  Which point of difference can you sell off of? Which attribute is going to resonate with the buyer?

If your own employees don’t understand the brand, how can you expect anyone else to? It is essential to integrate your brand into your company’s core. Not educating all people associated with the components, so everyone is on the same page when it comes to representation, can be a fatal flaw.



We’ve either witnessed have been on the receiving end of an impossible expectation. The results of this exchange are usually less than satisfactory for both parties. Stay away from temptations of being inauthentic, overeager, or promising what you don’t have the capabilities to deliver. Build promises you can keep and obtain. Focus (flaunt!) on your strengths and FOLLOW THROUGH EVERY TIME. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a genuinely trusting relationship.



A failure to support the brand concept consistently across all marketing and advertising avenues is just asking for a flop. Having an intentional purpose with all actions will reinforce the brand image across the board. Thoroughly research your market and put together a strategic plan before launching. Intentionally do something on a daily basis to build or reinforce your brand. Prioritize your budget limitations. This process can sometimes be too much for small brands to accomplish quickly. Something as seemingly trivial such as setting aside time to update the sign outside your building can go a long way in terms of committing fully to the brand. Make a plan.



Wouldn’t life be wonderful if we just instantly knew where we wanted to go with our brand from the get-go? It might take a million tweaks, alterations, or modifications before feeling confident and loving it. It is absolutely crucial to set up a means to measure what success looks like to you at a certain point in time or a specific need for improvement. Is it better to just a pick a lane and go down it rather than not picking one at all?

Branding and marketing take time and money. Let your brand get out and start to resonate with customers. Give it time to grow and don’t kill it too early on – again, Rome wasn’t built in a day (see 2. False Promises).



We’ve discussed focusing on your strengths, but build on your weaknesses, too. Stay up with the times, ahead of your competition and any other potential threats by setting time aside every day to research what is going on in your industry. State your opinions when it comes to issues and trends. How did you feel about Google’s logo change? Your audience actually wants to know! Have a voice behind your brand, while making sure it’s constant and steady. Stay consistent with your logo, colors, and fonts across all marketing efforts. This will help avoid any potential inappropriate logo modifications or skewed branding. The same brand tone, voice, and personality should be clearly heard each time.



Rarely do “one size fits all” options work for everyone, so marketing approaches should change based on audience needs by employing a full range of marketing communications. Adobe Marketing Cloud recently came out with a video featuring a new social media platform called “Woo Woo” where a marketing agency got wind of this trend and immediately tried to capitalize all of their resources on the new social media. Of course, as soon as they achieve this, the “Woo Woo” users had moved on to the next trend. There are always new apps and technologies popping up now, it’s lucrative for any business to be one step ahead of the curve. Discover hidden marketing (affordable) opportunities plus hit the basics. Be adventurous and curious. Never forget your basic marketing strategies, though. You never know when you will need them.

Beware of adapting to your competitor: We have seen numerous clients copy a competitor’s tactic simply because the competitor is doing it. Who is to say the competitor actually knows what they are doing?



Have you ever been to a conference when the speaker talks about twenty different topics in a one-hour keynote? It’s almost impossible to retain all of the information being presented. Overwhelming your audience with lots of information decreases the speaker’s perceptions of competence and credibility as a source of authority. Make your messages simple, direct, and clear – not only for your consumers but also internal and external employees. The number one priority is to make it memorable.

While frequency is important, an emphasis should also be quality over quantity. Example: The Cheesecake Factory menu. There are so many choices and words on their “40-page” menu that it might possibly put added pressure on the end-user to make a decision when ordering.  You want to make people curious enough about your brand so they want to learn more, but not misunderstand it at first glance.



Burger King and McDonald’s sell almost the same products: burgers, french fries, and good ol’ chicken nuggets. Why has McDonald’s consistently surpassed Burger King in sales and profits? Their branding team starts the emotional attachments to McDonald’s beginning in childhood. It’s brilliant. Nostalgia will far outweigh most anything. If people remember the positive feelings about receiving a McDonald’s happy meal and eating the pure delicious treat with their families as a child, they will be more apt to stay loyal to the brand in the long run to maintain the sentimental association.

Consumers tend to allow the negative press more so than the positive to influence their purchasing decisions. Think about it. Even if a company comes out with a stance on a differing political opinion, their stock with a consumer goes way down.  They will carry that stigma for the rest of their longevity- it takes a lifetime to build up a good reputation and only a second to ruin it.


Don’t let these brand pitfalls hold you back.
Visit www.gomindstorm.com/brandpitfalls to learn more of our branding wisdom. We love feedback!