What Branding Mistakes is my Small Business Making?


Whether you’ve just gotten started with your own small business, or you’ve been in the trenches for awhile now, owning a small business is a stressful and expensive venture that hinges on your company’s ability to offer something worthwhile and stand out from the crowd.

When starting out, branding your small business can be a perilous venture. Working in the business can make it equally hard to work on the business as well. Today, we dive into some common branding mistakes every small business should be careful to avoid.

First, let’s address a common question.

Why do small businesses need a brand?

Replace the word branding with “reputation.” Your business’ reputation and the impression it leaves on consumers is incredibly important, no business owner would argue against that. Your business might leave a good impression with some people without ever giving it a second thought. But, imagine if your business did that all the time for every person your business encountered. That’s what consistent branding does for you.

From top-notch logo design that conveys a sense of trust to a message and tone that is universal throughout all materials and interactions, branding is about reputation and impression management. Starting out you may not know what to watch out for. These are the mistakes we see brands, both new and old, make.


The vague branding pitfall.

It’s a balancing act between overcomplicating your brand’s messaging (see below) and being too vague. Walking that line properly is tough without proper research and measurement, but avoiding generic catch-all phrasing like “the premier source…” and “best-selling” isn’t doing your brand any favors. Most puffery of that nature goes unheard by most consumers.

Instead, knowing your unique selling point (called a USP) and what sets your business a part and communicating those points in an effective manner (i.e.: using your brand’s voice) is critical to avoiding this misstep.


Undervaluing the power of a brand.

Branding sets the bar for how people can find you. Google is certainly more interested in brands when it comes to ranking your business online, and setting up the type of consistency across the spectrum of media your brand utilizes is the very nature of marketing at its core. Like the old adage goes, “you get what you put in.”

Likewise, be honest with yourself about your business and brand. People can tell when you’re disingenuous. Infuse your brand with your unique style and energy. Brands are a bundle of feelings and emotions, so giving your business a brand that means something and comes from the heart is integral.


Not establishing, or following, brand guidelines.

Setting up standards and uses for your brand is essential to ensuring that it is used correctly. Knowing what type of voice your brand uses on social media, its brand colors, taglines, fonts and typefaces are all facets of your brand identity that need to be standardized.

Not following these rules and guidelines is where many brands fail to follow through on their own brand promise. Diminishing the strength of your brand by defying its own elements does you absolutely no good and dilutes its strength in the eye of a consumer.


Overcomplicating your brand identity.

As mentioned above, being too complicated in your branding efforts and being too vague is a difficult line to walk. No brand needs six colors and/or six graphical elements to differentiate itself. Rather, clear and concise imagery that is congruent with your voice, style, and efforts is what captures the eye (and dollars) of a potential customer. Driving that association between your brand and quality is at the heart of any branding effort, and muddying that effort with too many concepts or ideas can ruin it instantly.

Does your business fall victim to any of these? Or have you let branding fall by the wayside in your business altogether? Innovations Branding House has the knowledge and tools to build, or re-build, your brand with you.