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4 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

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DIY is all the rage, and for good reason. (It's so deeply satisfying to look at your creations and know that you did it!) But the realm of design is more complex than it appears at first glance. And while making these branding mistakes isn't the end of the world, it will result in missing opportunities to connect and streamline your operations and marketing.

Don't worry, though! It's completely avoidable. Read on for my advice on how to maximize what you're doing and avoid the branding mistakes that kill your momentum.

Branding Mistake #1: Designing visuals without a framework.

What do I mean by framework? Well, it's all the stuff that informs your strategy.

It's like you're heading out on a road trip. How do you know what to pack, or which direction to head, if you haven't yet decided where you want to go, or what you want to do when you get there?

It's the same thing with brand design and strategy. How do you know what your strategy should be, if you've never identified your goals, values, etc.?

So this includes things like your brand values, as well as your brand's vibe and voice. It should also take into account your target audience, what they need to see and hear, what they most need help with, and how you can deliver that so it reaches them most effectively.

No framework, no mission = no brand and frankly, no idea what you're doing. (I love you, but it must be said. This is one of the most basic branding mistakes I see!)

> > > If you want to do some more work on identifying your brands values, I created this post here to help get you started!

Branding Mistake #2: Choosing your visuals based on what you like.

Your business is not actually about you. This is one of the most common (and easily preventable) branding mistakes!

You do know that, right? Your business does not exist to make you feel good, or to be the baby upon which you can project all of your own dreams and wishes.

It's a vehicle for expression, yes, and you should feel good about it. But it really exists to serve others and to contribute something to the collective.

And if you can't reach the collective, you can't serve them and make the impact you're supposed to.

So you need to take into account what kinds of visuals speak to them, help make the connection, and most of all, reinforce visually all of the things your brand stands for.

All of this should inform the colors you choose, the overall style and aesthetic you aim for, the typefaces you choose, and the design elements you use on your website, your graphics, social marketing materials, and online content.

You should like it, too, of course. But it's less about you and your feelings. It's more about what is going to communicate the right things to the right people. (That's all branding really is! It's communication.)

Branding Mistake #3: Deciding to "rebrand" every time you make a change in your business.

When most people think of rebranding, they think it means making changes to their brand's visuals alone.

That's definitely part of it, but it's really an oversimplification.

Your brand should be evolving over time and as the needs of your clients shift and expand along the way. Your strategies may evolve, and you may start taking your brand's visuals in a slightly different direction than what you'd originally established.

That's all totally fine! But it's not necessarily a rebrand. At least, not in the "tear it all down and rebuild" sense that the word "rebrand" implies.

I think of a rebrand as a hard reset, where you're revisiting your entire mission, purpose, deliverables, and maybe even your business model.

That is not something to take lightly! We're talking the equivalent of a total demolition of the old, and construction of something new. It's not something you do when you're bored with your visuals or wondering why your social media posts aren't converting.

The alternatives here include a brand refresh, where you're updating elements, especially visual pieces, but the feel and identity remain largely the same. Especially if your strategies have since changed. Any time your strategies shift, there's a chance you may need to revisit the visual expression to make sure they're all still connecting and communicating the same things.

And the other option is to leave it alone, which still isn't really doing nothing, exactly. (Because, as I've stated, your brand should always be evolving anyway!) But with the choice to hold steady with your brand, you're allowing things to evolve and change more naturally over a longer period of time. The changes you make are smaller things that still align with your original goals and strategies.

The last option, obviously, is least likely to confuse your audience, assuming that you have decent strategies and visuals in place to begin with.

I think we often underestimate the power of just being in our own energy, owning it entirely, and holding the standard and the vision for ourselves and our brand.

That kind of stability and consistency is key when establishing expectations and brand recognition. You never know who's silently admiring what you do and trying to figure out how they can work with you.

If you get restless or frustrated and abandon it too early because you can't yet see the payoff, you may end up sacrificing things you actually really wanted. This is probably the most killer of all the branding mistakes one could make. In other words, that shift could end up attracting some people who are drawn in by the superficial, all while losing those A+ potential clients that were completely on board with you and your brand to begin with.

A lot of faith and a little patience goes a long way, is all I'm saying.

Branding Mistake #4: Winging it!

Even if it looks "pretty good" to you, without intentional design that prioritizes the right messages (and to the right people), I guarantee you are missing opportunities to find your people, connect with them, and entice them to buy from you (at the price points you set).

Branding based on a comprehensive vision keeps you focused on your own goals. It keeps you ahead of things and doesn't put you in a place of having to be reactive.

Your brand vision should truly be your own, not just a response to everything around you.

Branding allows you to set the energy for the whole experience--which is exactly what your job is, as the leader and visionary for the entire thing.

So set it intentionally, and maximize your impact--and the happiness you feel, working in your own soul-led brand.

xo Elizabeth

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