Avoid The Top 10 Branding Mistakes

Avoid The Top 10 Branding Mistakes

A brand’s identity is only as strong as its weakest link. This adage applies to brands just as much as it does to people. 

And just like people, some brands are just better off avoiding certain aspects of branding. 

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In fact, there are ten common mistakes many brands make that you need to avoid if you want to improve your branding. Here they are.

1. Not Testing.

You can’t expect your marketing and branding to be effective without first testing it. To start with, you need to determine the right metrics for measuring the success of your campaign. 

You need to establish a baseline to know if your campaign is working and if it is, then you can decide how to continue growing and improving your brand.

Testing is especially important because you are investing your time and money in this campaign, and you want to make sure you are making the right decision. 

To test, you must split-test different approaches to determine the most effective. For example, you may want to try the following headlines:

  • A Strong Brand Can Be Found In Any Country
  • “A Brand’s Footprint: Building A Strong Brand In Any Country”
  • “A Brand’s Local Identity: Building Local Brands Through Identity Marketing”

These headlines are all variants on the same theme of ‘build a strong brand.’

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When you look at the keywords, you’ll see that each headline targets different groups of people, leading with different strengths. 

The first headline focuses on the countryside, while the second focuses on the region.

So, testing different headlines can help you find the right fit for your audience, increasing the chances of converting browsers into buyers.

2. Hype Or Buzzwords.

The definition of buzzwords is words or phrases that are commonly used in online searches but don’t genuinely mean anything. 

The issue with using hype and buzzwords is that it can often feel forced and phony.

When you force a word or phrase into a slogan or ad tagline, it loses all meaning and can even cause harm to your brand. 

For example, ‘prestige goods’ is a phrase that was popularized in the 1970s to describe luxury brands that sell expensive clothing and accessories. 

The problem is that ‘prestige goods’ has no meaning beyond it being a trendy phrase used to describe luxury brands. 

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When someone searches to find out more about luxury brands, the results will often come up with information on BMWs, not on Panthere, a designer who creates luxury goods. 

This kind of branding does more harm than good and doesn’t reflect well on your brand.

3. Short-Lived Trends.

Nothing is worse than a brand struggling to find its identity solely about current trends.

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If your brand identity is tied to the latest trends, you limit your potential to find a more suitable identity. 

What’s more, you’re also limiting your potential to grow. The key to finding your identity is through enduring qualities such as culture, values, and personality. 

In addition, when current trends pass, so does your opportunity to find a brand identity. 

This is why many established brands can still be found today, even though they were founded generations ago. 

They created an identity that can be closely tied to neither extreme trends nor shallow fads.

4. Presenting One Face To The World.

Suppose you want to establish your brand as a reliable, quality source of goods and services.

 In that case, you need to ensure that your customers understand that your brand is distinct from your competitors, presenting only one face to the world. 

This means you should put the effort in to ensure that everyone who interacts with your brand thinks it’s an effective and consistent identity. 

For example, if you sell shoes, you might want to ensure that every pair you sell is tied to the same identity, presenting a polished, consistent image to the world. 

This consistency is what allows customers to trust your brand and ensures that they will always feel confident that what they are buying is of high quality.

5. Using Celebrities Or Popular Persons.

In a digital world, celebrities and popular persons are often associated with brands. 

Using celebrities and popular persons to brand your product can work against you, as they may lack the technical skills needed to understand how their endorsement affects the purchase of your product. 

Therefore, it is important to balance using celebrities and popular persons for brand purposes and ensuring that they fully understand the technical aspects of marketing and branding.

6. Thinking Mass Appeal Is The Key To Success.

The idea of mass appeal in branding is that your product should be useful or relevant to as many people as possible. 

However, you can’t assume that appealing to the masses will make your brand successful. 

Many successful brands didn’t draw their support from a large audience but from a small group of loyal customers who valued the quality of their products, provided they met their needs. 

They stood by the brand, although it wasn’t necessarily ‘trendy’ or ‘in.’ 

For example, Pianos have been a popular choice for over a hundred years. 

However, people still buy them today because they appreciate the quality, not because they know the piano’s trendy, modern look.

7. Relying On The ‘Cool’ Factor.

While quality is always a plus, relying solely on your product’s cool factor to establish your brand is sometimes difficult to achieve. 

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To create a cohesive identity for your brand, you must work hard to ensure that everything about your brand is tied to a singular theme or set of values. 

Combining fashion and functionality is the key to creating a brand that stands out. 

Creating a stylish and functional product increases your chances of success, especially in today’s world, where fitness and wellness are becoming increasingly important.

8. Relying On The ‘Sale’ Factors.

There are several reasons why you might want to brand your products with the help of a salesperson. 

The main reason is that, in today’s market, many of your customers will be looking for bargains. 

Therefore, offering them a special deal, whether a discount or free delivery, can help establish your brand as a valuable source. 

Furthermore, if your customers feel that your brand has value, they are more likely to value your products when there is a special offer rather than when there is no offer at all.

9. Being ‘A Friend’ On Social Media.

In today’s world, customers often search for information about your brand and will often come across your social media accounts. 

This means that the information and image you put out on social media can be used to help establish your brand. 

However, you must ensure that your content on social media is relevant and answers all your customers’ questions. 

If you don’t already have a social media presence, now is a great time to create a brand page and start sharing content.

10. Assuming Your Audience Is Made Up Of ‘Traditional’ Buyers.

When searching for information about your brand, you will often see that most of the results are focused on selling a product or service to a traditional audience, usually made up of men. 

However, unless you establish your brand as a reliable source of honest information, you risk losing the trust of those searching for unbiased opinions. 

The key to finding your brand’s identity is by expanding your horizons, appealing to as many people as possible, and being distinct from your competitors.

It’s Important To Avoid These Mistakes

When it comes to branding, many businesses make the mistake of thinking about trends instead of building a solid foundation. 

As a result, they struggle to find a niche in a world that is changing as quickly as technology is changing. Suppose you want to ensure that your branding is effective and sustainable. 

In that case, you need to approach branding from a different perspective, thinking of your customer’s needs rather than the wants of your industry.

Use the power of quality and trust to establish your brand.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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