Because branding speaks to your target audience, it is crucial for your small business to get it right. Your branding will ultimately define your company. With 48% of consumers saying their loyalty is won after their first purchase, first impressions are definitely crucial for the small business. To achieve success with B2B sales, avoid these common, catastrophic branding mistakes.
Failing to Identify Your Target Market
While it’s tempting to continue to experiment, it’s really important to hit your target market from the beginning. It is possible to experiment too much. Until you know your target market, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to brand yourself effectively. If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll only weaken your overall brand.
Underestimating Your Employee’s Role
Allowing your employees to have input in your branding makes them a part of the team. If brand development takes place behind closed doors without your employees, you’ll be cutting out the most crucial members. So allow your employees to have a say, and give them some freedom on social media.
According to Huffington Post, “It’s just like allowing your company to build up lots of personal brands under the overall corporate umbrella.”
“Cheating” on Your Brand
After you’ve sat down and developed brand guidelines, these guidelines are then implemented across all marketing materials and online properties. But what if you want to change a few things here and there? What if you used a few colors outside the palette for a new ad? Just because you can doesn’t mean it is the best move. Each deviation, no matter how small, slowly chips away at your brand image. You need to strengthen your customer’s association with your brand – don’t dilute it.
Falling Victim to Social Media Traps
While social media can be a wonderful brand building tool, it can also ruin it in a matter of seconds. Don’t let a moment’s lapse of judgement completely destroy your brand’s reputation. The two most common mistake to avoid are: departing from your brand, and engaging in a conflict with users. It’s impossible to avoid negative users altogether, but arguing is simply not an option.
Failing to Keep Track of Your Brand’s Usage
The job doesn’t end when you’ve successful developed and implemented your brand guidelines – it’s just the beginning. Your small business will have to actively monitor your brand’s usage. How is it being used by others? Where are your branded elements being used on your behalf? It is crucial to make sure your logo is not being used in a similar way, or that it is being used elsewhere with different colors. Many instances may prove to be minor, but others may require legal action.
As you build your brand, don’t forget to consider your financial needs. As a startup, securing funding can be a really big obstacle to overcome. Traditional lending sources will likely categorize your business as “high risk” and close their doors to you. If you’re in need of working capital to get the ball rolling, consider what alternative lenders – like First American Merchant – can offer you.
A merchant cash advance, for example, is a quick and painless way to secure the funding you need. The application process is known for being simple, fast and hassle-free. Taking the time to build detailed branding guidelines and secure business funding now will quickly put you on the path to long-term growth and success.