Have you ever wondered how businesses end up in branding hell? These tips will help answer your questions.
When it comes to establishing a distinct identity for any business, the concept of branding stands front and center as the primary solution. No matter which area your business operates in, its name, logo, select color schemes, and related visual elements all play a very crucial role in setting it apart from your competitors. Branding doesn’t stop there, however. It goes on to help your business establish its identity, form a connection with your customers, and motivate the audience to buy your products or services.
To summarize, the benefits of effective branding go beyond a distinguished image. But while the benefits make branding a very sought after aspect for any business, it is not easy to achieve by any means. That’s why small businesses fail at branding even before they have found their footing.
Even when it is quite clear why big brand names are unable to achieve their true potential in branding with some of their most sought after products, it is not as easy when it comes to small businesses. All of it gets especially difficult when you are following branding strategies for your own business. This little difference makes it hard to identify between decisions that are beneficial for your business and ones that are detrimental to it. To summarize, it gets quite complex to learn the reasons behind small business branding fails and what you can do to steer clear from that path.
Keeping these nuances in mind, we are here to outline the top 4 reasons why small businesses fail at branding and how you can save your business from making the same mistakes. This way, you aren’t only able to know a bad branding decision when you see one but are also able to stay away from going down that road yourself.
1. Lack of Planning
It should not come as a surprise that one of the most glaring reasons for small business branding fails is a lack of planning behind them. If a business moves forward with branding strategies that are created on the fly, then it is driving itself towards inevitable failure.
When it comes to branding, your strategies have to be well-planned and creatively thought-out. From your logo’s design to your overall branding message, everything demands the utmost attention to work in the long run. If you don’t give these elements the time that they deserve, then they are bound to turn on you.
In most cases, this happens sooner than later in the form of names and logos that are similar to other businesses. Also, branding messages that lack proper definition, color schemes that crash together, packaging designs that don’t make sense, and physical spaces that project a feeling of disconnection to your customers. To summarize, a lack of planning can lead you right into the reasons why small businesses fail at branding.
That is why you should take your time in cultivating branding strategies that handle each element with the utmost care and attention to detail. This makes sure that your branding image isn’t put together haphazardly and doesn’t end up on the side of small business branding fails. Instead, this leads your business to deliver a holistic branding strategy where each piece comes together seamlessly.
For your customers, this harmony projects the image of memorable branding identity. To your employees, this creates a culture of assurance and long term planning. For your business, this translates into consistent and tangible success.
In other words, taking your time strategizing saves you from the hassles of putting out fires of branding failures. Time spent in proper planning can provide you with more benefits as compared to the time you temporarily save by avoiding this crucial activity.
2. Generic Branding
Raise your hand if you have seen statements such as “New York’s Best Pizza” or “LA’s Best Boba” too many times to count. While you are at it, make a vow to yourself not to repeat these mistakes for your own small business.
Out of the many marketing sins that a small business can commit, making use of generic branding practices is perhaps the worst one. As opposed to limited marketing that makes your business known to only a handful of people at once, generic marketing with its run-of-the-mill approach could do worse. It makes your business indistinguishable among your competitors, even with more extensive outreach to your audience. As far as small business branding fails to go, this often stands out as the deadliest faux pas for any venture.
This isn’t just limited to your business’s name or its slogan. This generic approach could very easily seep into aspects such as your logo, your branding design, your website’s appearance, and your branding material.
For some business owners, it starts as a slippery slope. You might start your branding by choosing from already established marketing devices such as premade logos, other business’ taglines, website templates, or overall branding kits. But as you follow this practice more and more, you steadily go down the road where your business is bound to lose its identity faster than you may think.
As a result, your business fails to make its desired impact on the market. It is unable to form a message of its own. It never develops a connection with your audience. Also, it cannot establish a rapport with your customers. As a result, the branding efforts do not come to fruition, presenting a prime example of why small businesses fail at branding.
Keeping this in mind, make sure that you are always making an effort to use customized marketing devices and bespoke material. It might cost you a little more, and it may take a bit more time. But in the long run, it will provide your business with a definitive brand identity that helps you stand apart from your competitors and reach out to your customers as a credible entity.
3. Shortage of Staff
Lack of planning isn’t limited to tangible and visual elements. It also fires back in instances where a business is short on relevant personnel to fulfill its marketing, design, or promotional requirements.
Working with limited resources could be suitable for your budget on a short term basis. But that’s the only advantage that you get out of this strategy. When you start facing issues in terms of hiring expensive experts at a moment’s notice, getting subpar work due to shortage of time and defining your company’s branding to external resources, again and again, effectively reverses that short term advantage of less expenditure. At that point, it just seems like a common factor that you share with small business branding fails.
It’s because small businesses often fail when they can’t fulfill design or branding requirements according to market demands, or when they have to pay increased costs to perform what is otherwise termed as a pretty standard form of work. In the long run, this shortage of staff can cost them more than their money and affects their business’ image with shoddy work or late delivery of products and services.
You can save your business from the harmful effects of understaffing by making sure that you are fulfilling the basic employee requirements from the very start. This would keep you from walking down the road that defines why small businesses fail at branding.
A piece of straightforward advice here is to hire internal design and marketing staff for your small business. But seeing that it is not that affordable when you are running a small business in a financially difficult market, this is not always a practical suggestion to follow. That’s where you can reach out to external marketing and advertising agencies to fulfill the staffing demands without being too heavy on your pockets.
4. Not having Relevant Expertise
Another reason why small businesses fail at branding is a lack of overall expertise in the medium. No matter how proficient a business’ team is at performing their job, they might sport only a limited skillset in branding and marketing – and that’s fine considering that it’s not their primary line of work. What’s not okay is their intent to run their marketing campaign in spite of this fact.
Running your marketing campaign without having any expert on board could be quite detrimental to your business. Instead of making informed decisions that are devised after analytical insights, you may end up going with your gut most of the time. It might work a single time. It may even work twice. But eventually, working without relevant expertise will not only hinder your branding’s progress, but it will also have it meet its demise while leaving you with quite a financial loss to cover.
That is why it is essential to hire experts in the field who could help you with your branding needs. As defined above, they can very well be hired as full-time employees. But an even better course of action is to make use of their expertise in the form of a marketing or advertising agency.
Having your small business hire an external marketing agency from the very start also helps you prevent the problems of understaffing. Since you always have someone available to reach out to in times of need, it also saves you from paying higher costs for urgent work. Working with a marketing agency also allows you access to an array of advertising mediums and ideas that you otherwise could not have thought of alone. All in all, it is a very effective way to save yourself from small business branding fails.
The decision of whether to hire an internal marketing team or retaining the services of an external advertising agency entirely depends upon you. But choosing one of these options is crucial to achieving the long term goals of your business’ branding.
Remember, establishing your business’ branding is not an optional requirement. It is an imperative and mandatory aspect that helps you form a connection with your audience, gives your business its own identity, and lets you achieve your desired level of success. That’s why deeming it with a certain intensity is the only way to go about this crucial segment.