Watch This Episode of MwahTV About Common Branding Mistakes You Should Avoid
Now, I've been taking a little look around here on the Tube, and I've noticed that there's a lot of people out there who are giving really light-touch advice around common branding mistakes that you should avoid, so I'm not going to follow suit.
Instead, I'm going to do a deep dive with you today, and every episode that I make in this vein I'm going to add to a new playlist of mine called Branding Mistakes You Should Avoid.
Mistakes No.1: Skipping the Strategy of your Brand
Let's begin with the first one, then, and that is all around the mistake of rushing ahead before doing the work on some proper brand strategy.
Let's get into this.
The Lure of the Touchpoint
It is so easy to rush ahead with looking at the touchpoint part of branding work, so I'm talking about things like:
- graphic design or
- planning out a photo shoot,
because they feel really exciting when we're all thinking about doing our branding for our businesses.
A Red Flag (For us in the biz)
Coming up with your own creative of how you think you want your logo to look like and feel like is a huge sign that a business is skipping ahead and missing out on the integral strategic work that needs to be done to inform this part of your brand.
Hang Fire! Do this First to Avoid this Common Branding Mistake
Here's what you need to think of first, before the touchpoint stuff, and I'm also going to explain to you why I want you to do it in this order as we work through what I've got for you today.
STEP 1: Discovery of Your Brand
The first step is the discovery of your brand.
Even if you're not a fully developed business yet, there is still plenty of 'stuff' you need to discover about the development or formation of your brand.
Uncovering everything we know about your business is the name of the game at this stage, and this is where we uncover what your overall business model looks like to you.
It's at this point you might want to include interviewing some stakeholders of your brand to see how they get a read on the way that your brand is working for you right now, or how they see your business developing.
I also love to uncover all of the secrets behind a business brand by running a full audit, and all of the information gathered doing each of those different things informs the next step.
Let's Determine if You Need A Brand Audit Right Now
STEP 2: Mapping & Positionning Your Brand
The next step is mapping and positioning.
So after we have taken a look within, it's important to take a look outside.
- What else is going on?
And when I talk about what else is going on, what I mean is the rest of your marketplace, and this is always the bit that everyone gets afraid of doing. Understanding how they show up, who they're trying to serve, and how they want to serve their ideal customer is really important strategic information for the way that you want to develop your brand.
By laying everyone out on a marketplace grid, we want to determine,
- Where are the gaps in the market?
- Why is nobody serving this type of customer with this type of demand?
- Is that actually a viable place?
- Do we want to put our stake in that part of the market and claim it as our own?
- Or do we want to try and knock a competitor off from where they're operating at the moment?
STEP 3: Your Essence & Your Values
And this leads me to the essence of your brand, your mission and your values.
So now we've gathered the information to understand what's going on in our brand, what's going on out there in the marketplace, now it's time to really dial into what we stand for as a business.
- What is our overall quest as a business?
It's really good working with a business owner at this point because they can explain what drove them to set up a business, or you might want to dial into something that is timely or just genuinely, true to your heart as a group of business owners.
- What is it that's driving you?
- What is it that gets you out of bed every day?
A good question to ask at this point is,
- What is our unifying principle as a brand?
And this can help us to determine a unique way of standing out when we do put our stake in the ground and set up stall in the marketplace.
- What is going to make us stand out?
- And is that something that is genuinely authentic to us?
Okay, so question time, be honest with me and tell me on Instagram...
Which of these areas have you skipped when it comes to the development of your brand?
STEP 4: Your Customer
The next point of a good strategy is thinking about your customer.
We know how we look right now, we've probably got a really good idea at this stage exactly which bit is broken in our brand, or which bit we want to modify or change in some way, and we have a good understanding or a solid idea of exactly where we want to sit in the marketplace.
It's at this point we want to correlate our customers into all of that thinking.
- What drives the customer that we want to serve?
And by that I mean,
- What is going on in their life right now?
- How do we play a role as a brand in their life or lifestyle?
- What sort of thing do they like?
- And is the essence and overall quest of our business something that they can feel a kinship with?
- And what is the very best way to speak to them in a way that they can start to know, like, trust and love our brand?
STEP 5: Your Role & Personality
When we've understood exactly what drives your ideal customer, we can start to explore all of the information we've gathered from a new angle. We want to determine here,
- What is the role and personality that we play inside our customers' minds when they think about us in comparison to our competitors?
It's always fun at this point to determine a role or a character. If you can imagine your marketplace is not a marketplace, instead it's, like, a musical or theatrical production, we want to know,
- What is your role in that production?
- Are you heroic?
- Are you the rebel?
- And as we play this role in the production that is the marketplace, how does that make our customers feel?
And another good thing to consider at this point is,
- how is that going to affect our competitors' perception of us?
- Does it create a fun rivalry?
- Does it create a romance?
- How does that affect the storyline of the production of the marketplace?
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STEP 6: Creative Anchors
So it is at this point in the strategic process where creative can start to happen, and this is one of my most favourite parts of any brand strategy project.
When we anchor we are essentially running a deep clean on all of the loose ideas and rough directions that we've brainstormed when we've thought about doing a rebrand or "sorting the brand out". Taking a really methodical approach and sorting through all of these loose ideas, and holding them up next to the strategic work and information that we've gleaned so far in this project, will help us to determine which ideas and which creative is a good direction for us to go in, and a way that anchors down the unifying principle of our brand.
So this is a great warning sign if you're at the point where you're drowning in ideas, you've got, inspiration overload, and you're not sure which idea is better than another idea, it's probably because you're lacking that framework and you haven't got anything to hold each idea up next to, to figure out which is the right way to go.
The output of this phase usually looks like a collection of mood boards, debriefing documents, and all of the things a good creative supplier is going to need from you before they start creating for your brand.
STEP 7: You Made It! NOW It's Touchpoint Time!
It's finally time for the strategic design and touchpoints, we finally made it!
Now you're ready to start working on touchpoints like
- graphic design,
All of that stuff can happen now, and the beauty of doing it this way is that every single creative supplier that you might want to hire-in to get help on each of those touchpoints is going to be working from the exact same framework, and this means that all of their work should end up being coherent and as part of the idea that you had in your mind, and not the idea or tangent that they've run off with.
What you stand for as a business and the overall unifying principle of your brand should be really clear when someone considers each of those different touchpoints.
Is It Time We Had a Conversation About Your Brand?
You may have just gotten done on reading this blog and have recognised that you have fallen foul of this Common Branding Mistake.
All of the 7 steps I just laid out might be giving you slight shortness of breath and a sense of overwhelm about "all the things" you now need to plan into your already jam-packed business schedule.
Fear not! This is what I'm here for.
I can absolutely help you get your brand back on track and take away those feelings of dread and disappointment that your brand is letting you down and is affecting your bottom line.
The easiest way for us to get started is to simply start a conversation with me. When you complete this below I will get an email to let me know that you want to begin a conversation about your branding with me.
I'll get in touch and we can begin this process together around your schedule.