Every business starts out with the hope of a bright future, but some companies just can’t build a solid reputation or overcome obstacles as they climb the ladder.
Building your company’s image, or branding, is as essential as the products or services you actually provide, and you’ll want to steer clear of these common mistakes.
Common Pitfalls of Branding
Crass humor, stereotyping and patronizing customers is rarely an effective branding method, but accidental offense is also avoidable. A diverse company and marketing team is one way to make sure you won’t step on any toes. In fact, if you can locate the consumers that the competition offends, you might find yourself a profitable niche.
Being Too Rigid
CEO of GoDaddy, the Web hosting and domain company, Bob Parsons, is a creative leader. Not only is he the one who came up with the idea of GoDaddy girls, but businessman Bob Parsonsexplained his advertising strategy in an interview with Inc Magazine, in which he said there was no real advertising budget. Bob Parsons simply open to opportunities, even ones that pop up at the last minute. Allowing yourself to roll with the punches is necessary. Others will want to work with you when you develop a reputation as flexible.
Poor Name Choice
Choosing the right name for your company comes before Web sites, marketing campaigns and printed materials. For many, their own name also represents the business. You may play on words or use industry ideals. Whatever your name, it must represent your company. Changing names at a later date is confusing and costly. Because you’ll use your company name in so many places, consider the following:
- Is it too long or short?
- Is it difficult to spell?
- Is it overly common like “John Smith”?
- Can you use it as a domain name? Who Represents might be a good business name but “whorepresents.com” is slightly less than ideal.
Test out your company name with friends, family and associates before you print it on your business cards.
While your company might not be running to become President of the United States, you can learn something from the oversized branding that presidential hopefuls, and even winners, participate in. Political campaigns like Obama’s in 2008 involved a lot of big ideas, promises and hope. It was certainly the idea of “Yes we can” that helped to get Obama into the Oval Office, but then reality hit. Obama wasn’t able to make every promise into a reality. Partisan arguing has led to a less effective socialized medicine law, for example, that still has some conservatives upset. Even when you do make good on your word, people will have something negative to say, so it’s best to only make promises that you can fulfill from the start.
Lack of Passion
What is causing your customers’ unhappiness? What issue can you solve for them? Once you answer those questions, advertising and branding falls right in place. The things that worry consumers and pull at their heart strings often encourage them to open their wallets, but if you lack emotion, you’ll miss this opportunity instead of empowering consumers. Furthermore, everyone wants to feel as though they’re talking to a real, live human being and not a computer. This is where showing emotion helps you stand out from the crowd.