Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Branding Strategies 101 - Business-Killing Branding Mistakes

By now you should also have a good idea of some of the common mistakes that people make, including:

·       Not doing adequate primary research
·       Not doing adequate secondary research
·       Not pre-testing
·       Not maintaining testing
·       Not observing feedback and response
·       Not measuring results
·       Not focusing on consistency

But there are also grey areas to navigate with caution. For example, if you decide to use any object, whether fantasy-based or natural, as a branding symbol for your product or company, be very careful you are not infringing on another company’s trademark, icon or branding symbol. And this happens more often than you might think… even at top levels.

So be sure that you own the rights to all artwork, characters, logos, symbols, images and names that you create.

Be sure that all artists or writers sign contracts or release forms stipulating the work they do for you is a “work-for-hire,” releasing all rights. 

If you use stock photos, make sure you have purchased the proper licensing. The $1 or $2 fee you’ll pay for using a photo one-time-only in your blog is far different from the $250-$1,500 licensing fee you might be required to upgrade to if you wish to use the image or symbol in a large-scale commercial enterprise.

You may also find yourself with the boot on the other foot with someone stealing your branding logo or symbol. Having legal copyright is not always foolproof, especially in a case where someone blatantly steals your creations. Trademarks work much better.

However, your best protection is to watch out for and avoid those assumption. That’s where most people run into trouble. They assume that Aflac won’t mind if you use a duck that barks instead of quacks. They assume no one will notice if you use a purple gecko that speaks Pig-Latin. They assume that by using “free clipart” it’s free to commercial enterprises (they don’t bother to read the fine print stating that states it’s “only for personal use.”)

Be careful, because you never know when assumptions will bite you in the ass.

So in conclusion, branding is all about the perfect marriage between process and inspiration.

Process without inspiration results in a cold and dull campaign, guaranteed to capture only a small portion of the market.

Inspiration without process, even meticulously carried out with attention and care, is a sure-fire recipe for failure.

So be sure to combine both process and inspiration in your business, and you’ll be well on the road to business branding success, while becoming the celebrity.

Final Note

We’ve talked about some of the top branded names in the industry – AFLAC, IKEA, MADD, Coca Cola, etc. Each company, whether they use their real name or a variation of their name, is known for something specific. The collected elements for each company defines their brand.

If you choose not to brand yourself as an expert in your niche, you will just become anotherJack/Jill of all Trades, the Master/Mistress of None.

If that happens, you can be assured that people will never remember you, nor will you ever be recognized as an authority.

You’ve worked so hard to get your company up and running, so why wouldn’t you want to be known as the authority?

Keep in mind that people fail when they decide to open a business, whether it be on-line or off-line, because they have this pre-conceived notion that they can formulate a brand that is generic and incorporates everything.

Your brand needs to focus directly on your specific market, and be easily recognized.
Once you have acknowledged who you are with your brand, then, and only then should you branch out into another market.

Don’t let the “shiny objects” distract you. Stay focused on who you are and what you want to accomplish. Once you are sure of your identity make it known, clear and concisely, to the world.

Become the brand that you are proud of.

Become the Celebrity everyone wants to know and work with.

It’s your destiny.



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