Creating a consistent brand for an online business is a highly effective way to (1) get more customers and clients, (2) increase awareness of your organization, and (3) generally propel yourself to new heights. Having a strong brand will create many more opportunities for you and will mean that every aspect of your business helps to strengthen every other aspect.
But creating a brand isn't easy and that's why there are so few online businesses that have the strong presence and identity needed to be considered an industry leader. Here are four of the most common branding mistakes that companies and Solopreneurs will make when creating their brand…
Lack of Consistency
This applies both to your visual consistency – in terms of the way your brand looks across various channels and your consistency in terms of the topic, industry, and values you put out.
The point of a consistent brand is to represent a certain degree of quality and a certain predictability in terms of what users get. People should know that something with your logo on it will be something that they enjoy.
If your website is talking about puppy dogs one week and computer programming the next, you're going to lose people – FAST. Likewise, if you put out a brilliant product one month and the next thing you release is garbage, people won't be able to trust you in the future.
Remain consistent and true to your vision. To do this, you must first have the vision to stay true. Take time out (now is a great time especially if you don't have a vision) and review your vision to see if you need to revise it. Seeing it in writing or typing will help you give credence to it and acknowledge it. It is hard to ignore what is in front of you.
Aesthetics are an important aspect of your branding. If you don't have a strong logo and strong visuals throughout your advertising and web design, then your brand isn't going to be memorable to your customers and audience. You want to leave an amazingly excellent impression on everyone who comes across your brand. If your logo is a grainy JPG that looks like something you made with no passion or care, then it might be time to hire a professional or at least have a redesign it for a new purpose. Places such as Fiverr, 99 Designs, and Bklyn Custom Designs will be able to help you create a logo that can represent your brand, and you'll be proud to show.
Every business card, social media account, invoice, and email is a chance to strengthen your brand. Make sure you include your logo everywhere and don't miss an opportunity to show it off. However, this should be done effectively. There is no sense in poorly promoting your brand. If you're going to do it, do it right! Wherever you promote, make sure that you display the best image every time.
Vector logos are vital because they keep the consistency of your logo and help prevent them from deteriorating and retaining the integrity of the image. There have been many times when I have missed the chance to pass along my business card to a potential client or partner. However, I quickly found new ways to electronically recapture possible missed opportunities. For instance, I began using LinkedIn to quickly connect online to anyone I met who was also on the network. Being that we met for business, and I was on my phone, I was able to “get away with” sending the generic LinkedIn invitation (as the mobile app is not flexible in altering invite messages) or using the apps Inigo Cards (Electronic Business Cards) or Intro (the About.me app).
Lack of Self Awareness
When creating or revamping your brand, you want to create an experience. Shape the way that people are going to see you. To do this effectively, you need to be objective and realistic. If possible, show your efforts to people that you know will be honest and give your brand a look with a critical eye. If you're a Solopreneur, tinkering in your free time, then don't try and brand yourself as a global corporate enterprise. It will ring false, and your brand will fail as a result. If you're a Solopreneur who has a team (small to medium) then it's ok to state that, just don't try to overextend yourself or your brand by making promises you are ill-equipped to fulfill.
Now is the time for you to make a business plan. This will help you guide your brand to success if you understand what you want your brand to ultimately become. You need to share this vision throughout everything you do for your brand, from your visual design to the message you share. But first, you need to settle on what your mission and vision are.
Now that you know the four common mistakes to avoid, you can begin to plan for success. Write down the items you need to make adjustments to or completely delete from your branding roadmap.
If you already have an online business up and running, evaluate it and see where you may have missed the mark. Even the top leaders in every industry take time out to brand evaluate themselves. Why would that be different for you? It shouldn’t.