Branding. We’ve all heard about it, we know it’s a thing, we know we should probably have it. But what is it, really? And how do we know if we’re doing it right?
Your brand identity communicates who you are, what you do, and why people should care. In other words, why we should buy from you.
Good branding helps you to attract your ideal clients and converts them into customers. Accordingly, bad branding drives your clients away before you can even attempt to make a sale. (And we don’t want that, right?)
That’s why today we’re discussing the seven biggest mistakes people make when creating their brand identity:
Outdated font choices
Outdated logo design
No call-to-action (spoiler alert: this is the BIGGEST one!)
But first, we need to go over the basics!
What is a brand identity?
Branding is about a lot more than just picking out some pretty colors, fancy fonts, and designing a logo. Especially if you’re a solopreneur because, my friend, when that’s the case: YOU are the brand.
To put it simply, branding is a marketing concept that clarifies your identity, your mission, and your reputation. (Yes, your reputation is a part of this, too!)
Branding is all about articulating your true self and being authentic. Don’t put up a front! People can see through that in a minute. You have to be true to who you are. In other words, branding should be deeply personal.
Most importantly, your brand identity is key because it can make or break whether your business is profitable.
Effective branding will build up your credibility and trust with your audience. It creates confidence in your business and demand for your offers. But on the other side of that, ineffective branding will drive people away from your offer, and probably your business altogether. So, you must get your branding right. And hopefully the first time around, too.
But before we go into the mistakes you can make…. we need to cover the basic components of a brand identity. That way you know what aspects can even be messed up.
If you recognize the Starbucks mermaid or the Nike swoosh, you’re probably already pretty familiar with this one. A logo is a graphic and/or stylized name that is used to identify a brand.
There are various kinds of logo designs, from wordmarks (like Google) to mascots (like the Kool-Aid Man), which means there are also various ways logos can go wrong.
Your font choice will change the look and feel of any block of text, and, of course, your brand itself. That’s one of the reasons why we always recommend selecting both a serif and sans serif font to balance out your brand.
The difference between a serif and sans serif font, as you might have guessed, is simply the presence or absence of a serif. But what is a serif? To put it simply, a serif is a decorative line added to the beginning and/or end of the stem of each letter.
Some popular serif fonts you might recognize are Times New Roman, Georgia, and Courier New. And some popular sans serif fonts you might recognize are Arial, Helvetica, and Calibri.
Research shows people make judgments within 90 seconds of initial viewing, and between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone. So uh...yeah, picking your color palette is pretty important to your brand identity. So we need to get much deeper than picking colors simply because you like it.
Our biological conditioning has created some strong associations between colors and our emotions. When selecting your color palette, you need to consider what emotions you want to be associated with your brand. Because while we justify our purchasing decisions with logic and facts, our primary reasoning is our emotional wants and needs.
By visuals, we mean the pictures, graphics, and videos you use on all your materials. Materials like your website, social media, and products. Everything about your visuals needs to be cohesive with your branding. Especially when it comes to the visuals of yourself!
From the color of the clothes you wear to the location of where you take your photos, your visuals need to tie in with your branding. They should always be recognizable within your brand identity, too.
Most importantly, your visuals need to communicate what you want your brand to convey.
Patterns & Textures
Patterns are just what they sound like, they’re design elements forming a pattern; whereas textures are digitized design elements that represent a surface that can be experienced through the sense of touch.
When properly incorporated into your branding, patterns and textures act as powerful identifiers of your brand. Sometimes brand patterns can be even more recognizable than a brand’s logo, such as Burberry’s tartan pattern.
If we didn’t make it clear earlier, your social media is a direct extension of your brand identity!
Your logo, fonts, color palette…. all the other components that make up your brand identity should be used in the graphics you post on social media, too. Your Instagram feed aesthetic needs to match your branding. Otherwise, you’re just going to be giving off mixed signals on what you’re all about.
Brand voice is a component so many businesses neglect, and it’s one of the most important ones, too. A consistent and distinct brand voice will make you stand out from the crowd. It's a HUGE opportunity for your unique personality to shine through, differentiating yourself from your competitors.
Imagine your brand without your visuals, your logo, and everything else. The only thing you have is your brand voice. Would you still be recognizable? (Spoiler alert: your brand voice needs to be identifiable on its own.)
No, not the Taylor Swift album. A brand reputation is how you are viewed by your dreamboat clients and the world overall.
A good brand reputation builds trust with your ideal clients, making them confident in their decision to buy from you. With positive reviews and word of mouth, your reputation can work as free advertising, too.
A great brand reputation will bring you client loyalty, more sales, and a competitive edge that can lead to endless business growth. Do not underestimate the power of reputation!
Now that we have our bases covered, let’s move on to those brand identity mistakes that you definitely can’t afford to make if you want a profitable business.
The 7 biggest brand identity mistakes.
1. Typographical Errors
Yes, this is a pretty obvious one. But no one is going to take you seriously if you have a website with a bunch of spelling mistakes on it. So pretty please run all your content through a spelling and grammar checker. (Our favorite is the Grammarly browser extension.)
2. Outdated Font Choice
Yes, we have the usual suspects like say, Curlz MT or Papyrus that we loved in elementary school….but we’re also talking about script fonts. These are the font types that resemble handwriting.
Most importantly, script fonts are best used sparingly. They can work as a beautiful visual contrast, but we definitely don’t want to use them as one of your primary font choices. And always make sure your font size is large enough so that it’s readable, too!
3. Bad Graphics
Nowadays, there are no excuses for bad graphics when there are so many free platforms out there for you to create super high-quality and professional-looking graphics. (We’re a big fan of Canva over here.) Our advice? Keep it simple. Make sure every element has a reason to be in the graphic. And don’t forget to make sure your graphics match your brand fonts and colors, too!
4. Outdated Logo Design
When someone clicks over to your website, you only have an instant to catch their attention.
If your logo design is boring and basic or doesn’t effectively communicate who you are and what you do…. you’re going to have a much harder time landing clients and opportunities. Your website visitors are going to leave your site based on that snap decision we all make on whether or not we like the website enough to bother sticking around. And we don’t want that, right?
5. Bad Photography
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words...what are the photos on your website or social media saying about your business? Remember that your photography is a visual representation of your brand. This is why having high-quality photos is so important!
Brand identity is not something that can be thrown together overnight. When you don’t have a strategy, your branding will end up being inconsistent. And inconsistency is quite costly.
Have you ever visited a website that had a totally random design, and frankly didn’t seem like it was thought out at all? We certainly have, and chances are pretty slim to none that you went back to that website, or even remember whose website it was. (Or if you do remember it, it’s likely not for a good reason lol)
Cohesion and consistency are so important in your branding because it builds trust and confidence in your offers. And we don’t want you leaving money on the table with an inconsistent brand identity!
7. No Call-To-Action
Your branding is one of your best marketing tools. So, use it wisely! Here’s an insider tip: people are way more likely to take action if you literally just ask them to take an action.
Not including a call-to-action is the absolute biggest mistake you can make not only with your branding, but in your business overall. But don’t feel bad if you’ve been neglecting this one, because it’s a mistake we see all the time, too. Especially on websites!
Just as everything you do should be infused with your brand identity, everything you put out into the world should include the next steps. Be intentional about the path you want people to take, and be clear on communicating what that path is.
Call your dream clients to action! Whether it’s a button on your website telling them to “buy now,” or a reference to your #LinkInBio in your Instagram caption, never leave people unclear on what you want them to do next.
If you’re still unclear on your brand identity and would like a professional to design it with you, click here to apply to work with us now!