When Branding Goes Wrong


Brand identity is one of the most important facets of a successful company. When brand identity is done well, companies are recognized and trusted in ways that lead to increased revenue and customer base.

Making a mistake in your website design, product marketing, sales force training, or on social media can have a debilitating impact on your brand. The good news is that most companies are aware of this and understand the importance of a strong company branding campaign to deliver a cohesive message across media channels.

But let’s face it.  As a brand you are only as good as the last interaction your customer has with you.  And that means setting expectations, satisfying customers when they purchase from you and giving them opportunities to do so in the future. 

Here are five reasons why branding can go wrong: 

  1. You concentrate on your logo but disregard other important aspects of branding.
  • Your brand is a strong, inseparable element of your business. Your logo and corporate identity are crucial, because they allow a consumer to instantly associate an image with your business. When successfully done, this alone can often mean the difference between extreme success and failure.
  1. You try to create a unified brand that works for every kind of customer, rather than customizing each facet of your image.
  • One of the most important aspects of brand creation is the ability to make it consistent no matter what type of customer you come across. It’s easy to see a good example of a unified brand when looking at Starbucks for example. Their name may not jump out to you, but it’s not hard to recognize when their logo appears before your eyes.
  1. Your brand doesn’t reflect your company’s values.
  • If your company’s values do not align with the way your brand looks and feels, you can have a hard time maintaining any true brand loyalty. Your target audience will feel as if you haven’t helped them understand who you are as a company and what your brand is all about.
  1. You forget that you’re not one brand – you’re an ecosystem. 
  • You’re not just a brand. You’re an ecosystem of brands. It goes deeper than products and services. It goes to the service experience. It goes to the way in which you are communicating with your customers. It goes to the way in which you respond to their needs and desires. Because, really, brands aren’t about “you” – they’re about your audience!
  1. You view social media marketing only as a promotion tool.
  • Yes, social media is a great place to promote your company or a particular product. However, it’s also the ideal place for you to build an image of your company or brand that you want customers to see.

When done right, branding can provide a major competitive advantage for businesses of all sizes. Clearly defining your brand helps give you a unique identity and position in the marketplace. But what happens when things go wrong? When branding goes bad it can quickly turn into a PR nightmare.

It’s time to talk about brand blunders. We will look at some embarrassing branding mistakes to avoid, and how these can reflect on your business’s success: 

Think About Your Product, Not Just Yourself

When it comes to brand audiences, some may say you can never have too much of a good thing. More product, more service, more quality, and more of whatever it is you’re providing. In theory, this sounds like it makes sense; but when it comes to marketing your brand in today’s Internet world, self-promotion might be one area where less is actually more. Self-promotion can be a effective way to gain customers or followers, but when brands go too far with it, they damage their reputation and alienate their current consumers.

Who doesn’t like to see themselves featured in an article that shows how much of an expert they are? It’s important to put yourself out there, but don’t go over the top when promoting your content or business. It is okay to promote yourself. However, there are times when that’s just not the right thing to do. Of course, you can promote your business on Twitter or Facebook as long as you don’t take it too far or do it too often.

Poorly Initiated Content

It’s important to pay attention and be careful about what you publish. If you make too many mistakes, it could damage your reputation and credibility for a long time. But as a marketer, how do you know what to publish and what to ignore? In other words, how do you build a narrative that is strategically coherent while ensuring that you publish content that is meaningful and actionable for your audience? You need to keep branding in mind. 

Creating an irresistible piece of content is to understand what problems your audience faces. That means knowing the wants and needs of your customer. Your customer doesn’t care about what time your website went live or the number of employees you have. But they do care when their website is crashing and support for it is hard to reach.

Unprofessional Brand Design

While most businesses invest heavily in improving their brand design, some companies end up getting away with cutting corners on brand design. Taking the easy way out on branding is not a righteous strategy for designers in any industry. By taking shortcuts and making deals, many design firms are forced to work with what they can get, when they can get it.

Just because you have a business card doesn’t mean your branding is strong. Take these four steps to create a brand that draws in more clients and generates more revenue.

  1. Start by thinking about your brand’s purpose
  • Examining your brand as if you were a stranger. A meaningful brand starts with an intentional focus and a strategy that’s a reflection of that focus. Without one, it’s likely your communications are scattered and ineffective. Why? Because you can’t communicate meaningfully without meaning.
  1. Communicate the right message to your target market, that is, professionals and businesses
  • Make a list of what makes up the way your brand looks and sounds. Branding is an art form when done right, but it can also be a nightmare when you don’t think your branding through. The reason I stress the phrase communicating to the right target market is because brands are ultimately spending money to attract consumers. If your brand isn’t getting the response that you want from consumers then it will cost you more marketing dollars and ultimately could hurt your business.
  1. Design a memorable logo
  • Logo design is no easy feat. Customers form opinions of companies and products based on a host of intangible qualities, but one of the strongest is visual identity. A successful logo should be iconic enough to make an immediate impression, convey the essence of the brand’s character, and cause a spontaneous emotional response.
  1. Be consistent with all your branding elements 
  • Your website is like your main form of communication and you should have branding elements consistent throughout your visuals, logo and written content. If you’re a small business owner or someone interested in starting a small business, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “first impression is everything”. Are you trying to stay consistent across all your branding elements? It’s best if you do. If not, customers will be confused about who you are. Creating a consistent brand identity helps build a strong presence in the marketplace while it builds loyalty from customers. Even if you have been inconsistent with your branding elements in the past, it’s never too late to fix that.

Stop wasting money on crummy and expensive branding. A well-executed branding strategy will catch clients’ attention, build trust, and create an identity for your business.

Many Logos but No Brand

Marketers, designers, and companies in general will face the issue of poor branding consistency. There are many types of branding consistency that fall under this umbrella and these include visual awareness, functional awareness, and emotional awareness. This lack of consistency can lead to all kinds of issues including a bad brand image, lower recognition in the minds of your audience, and less overall brand awareness.

One thing every company should do is have its own brand guidelines. Even if you’re a startup, start working on creating a brand now because it will help you build your credibility and trust with your customers. You don’t want to wait until you’re ready to go global to start thinking about branding – I know of startups who didn’t put thought into branding until it was already too late.

Make it Personal

How can you use branding to influence the customer’s perception? How important is it for the executive management team to be a part of this process? Sometimes, the best way to execute a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy is to do the exact opposite of what you’d assume. 

The way you motivate your clientele is in a great way but the issue here is people think they see you everywhere and it’s become distracting which might end up ruining your branding as a big entity. Branding goes wrong when most people start it up and just the name is already enough, literally people look at it and already think you are great!” 

Yes, that’s right. Now you might not be able to laugh this one out because it’s one of the most serious problems you face when branding. Of course, usually new businesses do that but it manifests in different ways in different instances and at the end of all things, you just get used to saying no to your own people.

There are many Crowds, Beware of Following

The thing is, although there are thousands of brands out there that are doing their job right, many of them however fall in the “branding gone wrong” category simply because they tried to do the same as everybody else, and did not follow their own path. Now I am not saying that you should just ignore all your followers and try to pull off something you don’t know will work or won’t, but rather do things like a true leader would. Do things in a way that makes sense for your brand, nothing more, nothing less. And please never ever try to mimic or clone another company’s brand and logo if you just.

Every brand that has been around for quite a while has gone through an identity crisis at some point or another. Some have successfully overcome the tyranny of bad branding, but there are several that have not. If you’re one of the owners of a business, it is essential that you ensure your identity is well designed and thought out.

You must be very careful about the kinds of messages you are giving out when it comes to your brand. Once a brand starts to get composed of negative judgments, it will only contribute to your own failure as a brand in the future.

with love,