7 Branding Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Business
Many brand their products or business without fully considering its implications. When done correctly, branding can be an effective marketing tool to differentiate your products from the competition. However, when misused, it can hurt your image and reputation.
Your brand image is everything. It’s what your customers see when they think about your company, products, services, and brand. It’s what they experience every time they interact with you. It’s what drives your company’s long-term success and growth. But if your brand isn’t strong enough, you could miss out on thousands of customers leaving your brand in search of something better. So what does it take to build a powerful brand?
If you’ve worked on your brand, you’re probably pretty happy with where you’ve got to. But sometimes, we get stuck and think our branding is complete. We think we’ve got everything figured out.
But we haven’t, and it can cost us money and customers.
We must look at the seven branding mistakes that can ruin your business.
Branding Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Business
1 – Not Listening to Your Customers
Customers are a great source of information. Their feedback gives you insight into what they think about your product and your company. However, the problem with listening to your customers is that you tend to believe what they say instead of looking at the data.
In other words, your customers will tell you they love your product but don’t really love it. And in reality, they might hate your product but won’t let on for fear of hurting your feelings. They don’t like your product because they simply don’t like it!
It would be best if you never relied on what your customers say. Instead, take time to look at the data. If they are saying one thing, but the data says something else, that’s when you know you need to address the problem.
Do customers lie to your face? Not necessarily. Customers are human beings. They are prone to exaggeration and over-generalisation.
But there’s a good chance that their opinion will be biased based on their experience. So, when dealing with customers, it’s essential to ask questions about their past experiences with your product. This will help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
In any case, your customers are always right. They’re always correct. And the sooner you accept this, the sooner you can adjust your product or business strategy.
2 – Marketing on the Cheap
It’s not about the product or service; it’s more about the consumer’s perception of it.
Think about the last time you received a low-cost marketing piece, whether it was a catalogue, magazine, brochure, or other marketing material.
What do you think the main selling point of this piece was? Did you notice any other information that made it a valuable marketing piece?
It may have been interesting to see, or it may have been the discount price. However, most of the time, the main selling point is the low price. The reason is simple: it makes consumers feel like they are getting a deal.
The problem with low-cost marketing is that it can create an inferior perception in consumers’ minds. It sends the message that the product is low quality or that the company is desperate to sell.
When marketers send out inexpensive marketing pieces, they send the wrong message.
3 – Poor Management
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, including healthcare, because it represents everything your company stands for. Customers who see your brand form an opinion of what your company is all about. If the customer thinks you’re a terrible brand, they’ll leave your products or services alone and won’t buy them, no matter how good they may be.
Studies show that consumers who perceive companies to be trustworthy and honest tend to spend more money.
Branding is also critical for employees to understand. Employees who aren’t convinced that your company is trustworthy and honest won’t strive to do their best work. In addition, if they don’t trust you, they won’t be happy working for you and may even leave.
So the bottom line is, if your customers don’t trust you, then you’re not going to get a loyal employee base.
Now, look at a few examples of companies that failed to manage their brand successfully.
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
In the 1990s, Kellogg’s was plagued with recalls of its corn flakes. In 1992, the FDA found that Corn Flakes were contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, which caused diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever. In 1993, a similar recall occurred and another in 1994. In all, over 400 million boxes of cereal were recalled.
The problem wasn’t just the Salmonella; it was the brand image of Corn Flakes. Kellogg’s had positioned itself as the purveyor of wholesome food, but the FDA had found the cereal tainted. The company eventually managed to get the Salmonella problem under control, but the damage had already been done. The company’s reputation suffered, and the cereal market share declined.
In the 1990s, Ralph Lauren suffered a slump in sales and profits. In 1994, the federal government sued the company for falsifying its advertising claims. In the suit, the government claimed that the company exaggerated the “health” benefits of its clothes and made exaggerated claims about the health benefits of its skin care products. The company was ordered to pay a fine and cease all misleading advertising.
In 1997, the company settled a separate class action lawsuit for $80 million. A judge ruled that the company could not advertise that it provided “the best and most flattering colours” for women. In the end, the company lost much credibility with its customers, contributing to its financial decline.
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods has always been known as a company committed to health and wholesomeness. But that reputation has recently come under attack.
In 2015, the New York Times reported that Whole Foods had given financial support to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a conservative lobbying group. The U.S. Chamber was working to stop the Affordable Care Act from passing in Congress, so it was not surprising that Whole Foods would want to help.
The company supported the Chamber’s mission to “promote free enterprise, limit government regulation, protect property rights, and ensure a fair and open competition for all businesses.” The CEO told shareholders that the company’s financial contributions to the Chamber were “completely unrelated to any pending legislation.”
It turns out that Whole Foods’ reputation as a health-conscious, eco-friendly company was just an elaborate marketing ploy. The company’s financial support of the Chamber of Commerce was a big mistake. The company had taken a strong stance against the Affordable Care Act. Supporting the Chamber risked alienating many customers who believed Whole Foods stood for health, sustainability, and other eco-friendly values.
H&M, a Swedish clothing retailer, was one of the first high-street brands to take advantage of social media. In 2013, it started posting photos of models wearing its clothing on Facebook and Instagram, which helped to popularise the brand. By 2016, it was the world’s third-largest clothing retailer, behind only Zara and Nike.
However, when a scandal broke out in September 2016, H&M was hit with negative publicity. Swedish media revealed that some of the clothes sold in Sweden were manufactured in forced labour camps in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
This isn’t the first time H&M has faced controversy over its practices in other countries. In 2015, customers in Malaysia complained that some of the jeans on sale in H&M stores were too small and that some of the pants labelled as size 28 were size 22.
The controversy was compounded by the fact that H&M’s parent company, the Karhu Group, is also a significant shareholder in the parent company of fast fashion brand Inditex. H&M said it has a strict code of conduct and had already stopped all-new production at the factory. But the issue is not simply one of corporate responsibility or labour rights.
The workers involved are primarily Muslim women from Bangladesh who have been exploited to produce cheap clothes for Western consumers. In addition, their wages are kept low to maximise profit margins. The situation has become so bad that in June, a group of Bangladeshi garment workers went on strike, demanding an end to working conditions that they say are tantamount to slavery.
4 – Not Making Changes to Improve Customer Service
Most companies think that improving customer service will automatically increase their profits. But they are wrong. In most industries, increasing customer service is usually a step in the wrong direction.
Customers want to be treated right. To get the customer experience right, a company must give its customers what they want. This means being responsive, honest, and transparent. It’s the difference between the right product and exemplary customer service.
But the opposite is true too. If you treat your customers poorly, they won’t want to come back. The most crucial thing in business is to create a long-lasting relationship with your customers.
How Can Brands Improve Customer Service?
Here are a few quick tips to improve your brand’s customer service:
- Be Honest and Transparent. It’s easy to be deceptive or withhold information from your customers. But customers want to know the truth about their problems. So be straightforward and honest, even if it hurts. You’ll build trust and loyalty in the long run.
- Have a Point of Contact. Don’t make your customers hunt for answers. Put them on a path to get the service they need. When you’re in contact with a customer, make it your goal to solve the problem. This is the secret of customer service success.
- Be Responsive. If you’re unavailable when a customer needs to reach you, that will reflect poorly on your brand. People like to know that there’s a point of contact and that they’ll receive a reply within a reasonable amount of time.
- Create a Clear Message. Be clear about your customers’ steps to get the service they need. Have a single message about how to deal with the problem and a clearly written policy.
When you improve customer service, you’ll see a significant increase in loyalty. It’s an investment in your future.
5 – Misleading or False Advertising
People want to believe that products or companies are what they claim. They believe their product has a specific purpose and can be used to solve problems.
Companies have done everything from promoting cigarettes to healthy living, but this doesn’t last long. Eventually, the truth comes out, and people realise that the company is selling a product that is detrimental to their health.
People want to believe that products or companies are what they claim. They believe their product has a specific purpose and can be used to solve problems.
This is why it is vital to consider the source of any advertising claims. It is essential to understand where the information comes from and how it can affect your health.
Do your research. Find out where the advertising claims are coming from and if the company has a history of false or misleading advertising.
Misleading Advertising Can Cause Problems
When people see a product promoted as an all-natural, organic, eco-friendly solution, they tend to buy it. After all, it is promoting itself as a great thing.
Unfortunately, not all products are created equal. While some may be beneficial, other companies will take advantage of the fact that consumers want to believe their claims.
The following are just a few ways that companies mislead consumers:
- Advertising food or beverages that have been “cleaned up” but do not tell the consumer how they cleaned it.
- Advertising a product as a “safe” alternative to another product but omitting that it is actually a cheaper, inferior product.
- Including ingredients that are harmful to your health, such as artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, or gluten.
- Advertising a product is safe for children but not disclosing that it is dangerous.
- Offering a product is the only way to get results without providing any information on the side effects of the treatment.
- Advertising a product as free but failing to disclose that you will still need to pay a subscription for the usage of the product.
It’s essential to read the ingredients and talk to others about your products to ensure they are safe for your family.
Avoiding these types of advertising can help you avoid the health risks associated with products that are not genuine alternatives.
6 – Not Being Open With Your Customers
It’s okay to have a little fun. If you don’t want to be the next “I Love Lucy,” let the audience know. Please don’t do it in a way that makes you seem like a jerk.
Being open about your brand isn’t just a nice thing to do. It’s an effective marketing strategy that can set you apart from competitors. Being open about your business makes you more relatable to your customers, which increases trust.
People are more likely to buy products from brands they like. When you share your personality with your customers, they’ll feel connected to your brand. They’ll even see your personality reflected in their interactions with you, and that connection is likely to strengthen your relationship.
Branding is about more than being a nice guy. It’s about creating a brand that reflects your company’s positive qualities and developing a message that resonates with your target audience.
How Can You Brand Without Being Self-Conscious?
Here are some ideas for sharing your personality and brand with your audience without sounding like a jerk:
- Use your name: If your company is named after your mom or dad, use it as a way to connect with customers. This is especially true if you’ve got a strong sense of humour.
- Show off your company colours: It’s no secret that blue is the most popular colour for companies. When you share your brand colour, it helps your audience associate your company with a feeling of confidence.
- Show off your product: If you’re selling something with a unique quality, you’ll want to highlight that with a tagline that shows off your product. For example, Nike uses “Just Do It” to communicate its brand values, and many athletic apparel brands use phrases such as “Born to Run.”
- Add a personal touch: People remember brands with a unique sense of humour, so when you’re open about your business, let your audience know. That way, they’ll be able to relate to your brand.
- Use real people: Companies that have an authentic sense of humour can put a human touch on their brand. Showing that you have a personality adds to your credibility, which is a great way to gain the trust of your customers.
When it comes to your branding, think about how to share your personality in a way that doesn’t come across as a jerk.
7 – Not Using Social Media
Social media has revolutionised the way people communicate. Today, there are many different social networks, each with advantages and disadvantages. However, one thing that all social media platforms have in common is that they promote online interaction. And that’s why social media is so valuable for your brand, whether you’re a business or an individual.
Social media can help you spread your message to a broad audience and reach new customers. If you’re a company or brand, you should be actively involved in online communities and engage with your audience.
On the other hand, using social media to sell your products and services is another matter. Although you can market your products online, you must avoid spamming your audience and being too pushy.
What Should You Do?
Engage with your community and give away free stuff to build relationships with your audience. When you do this, it shows that you care about your customers.
Ask your customers questions and ask them what they think about your products or services. The more active you are on social media, the more your audience will be able to see that you’re listening to them.
As for selling your products and services, you should use paid ads on social media to ensure you’re only interacting with people interested in your products and services.
Each major social network has a unique feature that makes it stand out.
Twitter is an excellent tool for businesses to communicate directly with customers, promote events, or answer customer questions and concerns.
Facebook is great for advertising, interacting, and growing your audience. If you want to create a community or a group that will keep people coming back to your page, Facebook is a great platform.
LinkedIn is perfect for connecting with potential customers and hiring new employees. People go to LinkedIn to find new jobs, so if you want to ensure your brand is always in front of people searching for job opportunities, this is your network.
Quora is an excellent platform for answering questions and sharing your knowledge. This is a great way to help your audience and share your expertise if you’re a business person.
Branding is a crucial element of any business. If you’re a new business owner, you probably think branding isn’t necessary. But I’d argue that branding can mean the difference between a successful business and one that fails.
Without a strong brand, you can lose money and customers.
There are a few common mistakes that business owners make when they first start. These are some of the most common mistakes that cause businesses to fail.
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