A 2-Year-Old Child Says My Toys This Statement Best Reflects The Top 10 Branding Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

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The Top 10 Branding Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Every mistake you make means money in your pocket as you grow your business, so why learn the hard and expensive way? Why not learn ahead of time the pitfalls to avoid?

As a corporate brander and entrepreneur for the past 25 years, I’ve seen a lot of branding and marketing mistakes. Not only have I made some branding mistakes myself, but in my work as an executive coach and marketing trainer to other entrepreneurs, I have a list of the most common branding mistakes as well as many great branding successes.

Here are the top 10 most expensive branding mistakes I’ve seen entrepreneurs make.

1. Get creative with your business name. Coming up with a clever name can be fun, but if your target market can’t tell who you are and what you stand for from your business name, customers may just pass you by. Potential customers don’t take the time to learn about your business. So make it easier for people to “understand” what you do. Would you rather spend marketing dollars explaining the purpose of your business, or let your business name do it for you? Why not use your marketing dollars to dig deeper into how you can make a difference in your customers’ lives? A well-known business can simply make your job easier.

2. Forget that you are your brand. No matter what you sell—whether you like it or not—as an entrepreneur, you will be the masthead of your business. Everything you do represents your company’s brand. I know a business owner who lost a multi-country contract because he showed up to a meeting with alcohol while out in town the night before. His potential partner’s concern that he might have a drinking problem was enough to break the deal. But you don’t have to do something extreme to ruin your company’s brand. Keep a character that matches your brand, I guarantee it will be good for your company and you.

3. Failing to confirm that a demand for your product or service actually exists. Many small entrepreneurs throw their products to market like darts. They say they don’t have the money to do market research, so they’re just waiting to find out what works in the market and what doesn’t. What they don’t realize is that they spend a lot more money creating products and services that don’t sell than they spend just a little money doing some targeted market research. So get creative — you don’t have to do fancy, expensive market research. For example, if you’re selling new toys, go to the nearest daycare center and watch their children play with them. If you’re offering a new service, invite people who match your demographic to try it out, and ask them what they think. If you have a viable product, find out ahead of time. It will save you a lot of money and time in the long run and will leave your brand image intact.

4. Not making the hard choices your marketing really needs to target. The bigger your target market, the bigger your business, right? Well, that’s not necessarily true. You can’t be everything to everyone. Unless you can provide a meaningful point of differentiation, your brand or business will not truly reach your target market. If you’re targeting all women 18 and older, you’re not going to be able to show an entire age group how your product will help them because let’s face it, 18 year olds have different needs than 50 year olds. So segment and separate your target market. more specific. Find out what will appeal to your target market and advertise your product or service with that in mind.

5. Be unrealistic about your competition. Some businesses mistakenly believe that their products have no competition. This is far from true! Even if there is no product or service that directly competes with yours, there are always other products or services in the market that your customers can choose to fill their needs from you. So, get to know your direct and indirect competition well and be realistic about them. What will differentiate your product or service from competitors and meet your market needs? Then, focus your brand on those differences.

6. Inconsistent communication. If the DNA in your hair is different from the DNA in your nails, you are a mutant. The same goes for the way you communicate your brand. A strong positioning means you identify who you are and then communicate it consistently in everything you do. If your positioning stands for one thing but your website or the brochure you make communicates another, your brand changes and you never stand for anything. Your target market will only understand your brand well if all of your materials align with what you want your brand to represent.

7. Not choosing the right team members to reflect your brand. Because of the small size of their companies, early-stage entrepreneurs sometimes think that they should be “grateful” as long as they have people working for them. wrong! Just as you represent your brand, so do each of your employees. Make sure you hire people who have the same personality as the people you want your business to communicate in the marketplace. That means finding the best people on your team and paying a little extra to attract them. Hard work will pay off tenfold.

8. Forget that your brand image extends to your employees, not just your customers. Do you treat your employees like your customers? If you treat your team poorly, word will get out and it will damage your brand. Always be kind to your team and eventually the best candidates will want to work for you. Word will spread that your company is on the rise. This is the brand image you want.

9. Not making hard choices about a brand’s product/benefit. Just as you can’t target your product to everyone in the market, you also have to make tough choices about what your brand stands for. Don’t fall victim to “brand interest scope creep”! Example: My first week on the job, I was very nervous. I left a very successful 6-figure job at a large company, and – as any first-time entrepreneur – I was worried about finding enough work. Immediately I got two calls – one from one of the largest companies in Thailand asking me to do HR training; the other, from a great connection, asking me to do some sales work. Here’s the thing: Given my more general management background, I could have done both, and done it well. I love the idea of ​​landing two big clients in my first week of running my own business! But I know I have to stand my ground. Branding and marketing is my passion – what I know best and what I want to represent. So, I picked up the phone, took a deep breath, and said no to both offers. Talk about scary! But in the end, it was the right decision. Luckily, the next week the phone rang with some branding and marketing and I took it. I’ve been able to successfully maintain that focus ever since.

10. Not making your business what you love to do. As an entrepreneur, you will be eating, sleeping and breathing your business for a long, long time. If you don’t fully enjoy it, you’ll burn out quickly. So, don’t choose to do something just because it’s something you’ve been doing. You will have too many unhappy moments in your life without your heart being in them. A few years ago, I mentored a woman who was trying to create a new business brand based on past experience rather than passion. When I asked what she really enjoyed doing, she said “working with horses”. Through our work together, she eventually realized that she could combine her love of horses with the skills she had acquired in past jobs. So she created a training program that brings company executives to her ranch to learn leadership skills by working with the horses. Follow her example and find a way to live out your passion. You will be much happier for it.

Don’t be too hard on yourself! Every entrepreneur makes a branding or marketing blunder from time to time. If you have made any of these mistakes, take heart and do whatever is necessary to correct them. Then, keep these top 10 branding mistakes in mind. The more you avoid these mistakes, the sooner you can build a strong brand for your business and enjoy the success you deserve.

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