10 Branding Mistakes That You Should Avoid

Friday 19th, August 2016

facepalm photo

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about great branding?

If Adidas’ three stripes, Nike’s swoosh and Audi’s four ceiling rings come to your mind, you’re right on track. These are some of the most iconic brand logos in the world.

While these are excellent examples of flawless online branding and offline branding initiatives, there is no dearth of instances when brands have gone horribly wrong.

Let’s throw some light on how such goof-ups can occur, and ways to avoid such mistakes.

1. What’s in a name?

Apparently quite a lot because once an organization christens its brand with a name that

  • Is unintelligible
  • Is terribly hard to pronounce
  • Is offensive
  • Defies logic
  • Can be interpreted in multiple unfortunate ways

Chances are that the online branding / offline branding exercise will fall flat on its face before it even takes off.

2. Logo Uh-Ohs

Rapid fire question: Name a wildly successful brand with a downright silly logo.

Can’t think of any, right? I rest my case.

3. Migraine-inducing taglines

Taglines are meant to describe your brand and reflect its personality.

It isn’t meant to leave the audience confused, conflicted or in physical pain from the sheer stupidity of it all.

4. Lack of tangibility

What your brand stands for maybe clear to the business. But for a business to be able to communicate that idea effectively to its audiences requires an adequate measure of tangibility. Unless the business is able to translate that idea well, your audience just won’t be able to relate to it – no matter how hard they try!

5. Piggybacking a successful brand

When businesses try to act like 4th graders trying to copy their ‘cooler’ counterparts, target audiences treat their brands exactly like that – like silly childish behavior.

Unless a business can bring out its individuality through the branding initiative, there’s little hope for it to be able to stand out from competition.

6. Imagination that runs amok

Sometimes existing brands are so giddy with their success that they decide to be brave and foray into a place where no brand has gone before (without realizing there’s probably a reason for it!).

Case in point, Harley Davidson’s unfortunate decision to try their hand at perfumes and colognes. Providence was kind, however. Those shall not be spoken of anymore.

Trying to force your brand into being something other than its natural identity is bound to fail.

7. Socially Inept

Instances of brands having earned public ire from unintentionally inappropriate communication on social media websites are aplenty.

Social media’s exponential reach is a blessing and a bane. One small slip can leave businesses and their online branding activities tumbling down a seemingly endless abyss of mass hatred.

8. Unfulfilled promises

What a brand promises should be delivered. It’s that easy to satisfy customers and gain their loyalty.

On the other hand if a brand promises nirvana from using its deodorant you know what will follow.

9. Websites with identity crises

When it comes to online branding, websites, more often than not, drive brand identities.

Ignoring this aspect, some businesses treat the conceptualization and design as if it were an online version of their brochures or pamphlets.

This compromises the potential of the websites subjecting them to be mere wallflowers.

10. Lack of audience alignment

Unless the branding is aligned to audience requirements, prospects will find it impossible to relate to or be interested in what the brand has to say.

Organizations certainly shouldn’t go with the flow when it comes to branding.

Careful deliberation is required. Without that businesses may just feel like Victor Frankenstein who created a monster that finally killed them both.

Image by stevelyon 


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