In today's busy marketplace we are subjected to more information, marketing, advertisements and offers than ever before.
It has never been so crucial to ensure that your business brand communicates not only the right message but also that the message is heard by the right target audience.
You’ll find below the 5 biggest and most common mistakes most SME's make when branding their business so that you can learn from their failures and avoid these pitfalls like the plague.
You've probably heard the phrase “Failing to plan, is planning to fail” and sadly most SME's fail before they even start because they don't have a plan.
Most SME's come up with a catchy name for their business, they get a friend to design a logo then before you know it they've started trading and then they have no time to work on the business.
Before this happens have a planning session with all your stakeholders and battle test your ideas to ensure you understand what your business objectives are, how you're going to be different/better than your competitors and who your target market is. Then and only then will you be ready to move on to creating a brand that can deliver on these ideas.
Brands need to be developed to ensure they align to your business values, mission and goals
"Failing to plan is planning to fail!" - Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States, 1706-1790
SME's focus too much on their customers and not enough on their suppliers. By suppliers I'm talking about the people you remunerate to help you succeed in your business (eg: Lawyer, Accountant, Bank Manager, Coach, IT Support, Material Suppliers, Graphic Designer etc).
You should always vet your suppliers to ensure that they understand your business and can best serve you in your conquest to greatness.
Good suppliers will generally have a really great insight in to your industry and can pass on handy information about your competitors. They may also have the ability to refer business to you.
Don't underestimate this relationship, choose them wisely as if you were making them a business partner and hold them accountable to adding value back to your company.
"Many hands make light work" - John Heywood, Writer & Poet, 1497-1580.
Most SME's assume that a logo is a brand – this is far from the truth!
A logo is merely a shape that a company uses to represent their business, like McDonald's golden arches or Nike's swoosh, whereas Branding is a more holistic perspective of how your customers experience your business.
Logos are shallow and Brands run deep and cover every single touch point your customer has with your company down to the look of your uniforms, your communication style (ie: frank, casual, professional etc), your shop fitout, the way your website navigates how your phone is answered etc.
Get a brand manual designed, this document will at least help keep all the visual elements of your brand aligned and create some rules that you can hold your suppliers to.
Remember Brands evoke emotion and feelings - until you understand the difference between a brand and a logo you're destined to fail.
"Design is so simple... that's why it is so complicated" - Paul Rand, Art Director & Graphic Designer, 1914-1996
Branding needs to be a managed process to ensure that your Brand Standards are upheld and that your marketing message is communicated consistently and effectively.
SME's usually always fail on execution because they are always time poor and generally hate to outsource. If you've failed on the above three points (Planning, Suppliers and Design) then generally there is nothing to actually execute.
To avoid this happening and to save time and money have a pre-launch party! At an early stage get all the people who are going to be involved on this project together (printer, designer, web guru, social media expert, sign writer etc) to meet so they can all work collaboratively with each other -providing you are ultra transparent around your brief, your vision and your plan these professionals working collaboratively will deliver far beyond your expectations.
"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do" - Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company, 1863-1947
As human beings we are being seduced by 4000-10000 advertisements per day. It's been proven that is now takes more impressions than ever to persuade a customer into taking notice of your marketing message. So with all this noise how are you going to stand out and be memorable?
Consistency is key and also understanding that marketing (and branding) is a long game.
The biggest mistake SME's make is by being too reactive to the market and constantly changing their message and style whilst chasing a quick win. This can lead to larger spends on marketing campaigns that still deliver very little results.
If you know who your target market is and if you've tested to see whether your communication style suits them then have a little patience. A consistent message deliberately delivered over time in the right way may not win the sprint but it will definitely win the race!
"Long term consistency trumps short term intensity" - Bruce Lee, Martial Artist, Philosopher & Movie Star, 1940-1973
BONUS TIP (just for the die hard’s that made it all the way to the end)
Don't forget about your staff – they could be a dormant Sales Team.
Teach all of your team an elevator pitch (from the cleaner to the CEO), be transparent about your business objectives, make them understand what you're trying to achieve with your branding and marketing activities, discuss your Values, Core Purpose, Mission and Goals with them – you may just be surprised with the results!
If you’d like a no hold’s barred review of your current Brand give us a call or flick us a message and we can arrange a Brand Audit just for you!