You’re Killing Your Brand and You Don’t Even Realise It

Your brand, while intangible, is one of the most important assets your business holds. The reputation of your business, and how widely this reputation can be spread amongst your target audience, will have a massive impact on your long-term profits, and certainly isn’t something you can afford to ignore.

Unfortunately, many businesses carry on struggling forward with a brand that’s much weaker than it could be. Like many things, this is almost always the business’s own fault! If you’re concerned about the strength of your brand, here are some of the ways you could be killing it.

Believing Your Work Speaks for Itself

Wouldn’t it be nice if all businesses were judged on the merits of their work, rather than anything else? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There are a couple of issues with this belief.

First of all, the bulk of your customers aren’t going to be experts in your industry, and won’t be able to make a fair judgment on the quality and integrity of the work you do. You don’t see consumers critiquing a given business in the same way that another business owner does.

Secondly, even if they take an active interest in everything your business does, this doesn’t mean that they’re going to be actively spreading the word, and stimulating visibility for your brand. This is your job, and needs to be achieved through well thought-out marketing campaigns. The quality of your work alone unfortunately isn’t enough to build a brand on.

Read: A Lesson in Making Your Brand Better Than the “Norm”

Thinking Your Customers Are Different

It’s okay to love your existing customer base. After all, without these people, your business would have faltered in its first few months of trading, and you probably wouldn’t be reading this article!

However, believing that your customers are somehow unique for choosing your brand, and using this to justify waiving established marketing conventions, is a big mistake. Yes, we’re all unique, and our behaviors are influenced majorly by our individual backgrounds and personalities.

Having said that, the large majority of consumers have measurable behavioral trends that vary from industry to industry. Even if your product or service means you’ll be marketing to a very specific niche, there are going to be some patterns you can pick up on.

No matter what kind of values or qualities bind your customer base together, these people are always going to make emotional decisions, and back them up with hard, logical facts. If you overlook this, and treat your marketing strategy accordingly, it’s certainly going to come back to bite you.

Image Credit: Pexels

“Anyone Can Use Our Product/Service”

Just like the quality standards you apply in your business’s work, you can’t rely on the versatility of your product or service to carry your brand. This is an extremely common and damaging belief that a lot of business owners tend to adopt. Yes, it may be technically true that everyone could use your product or service.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should be marketing to everyone under the sun. Talk to anyone at a premier digital marketing agency, and they’ll affirm that if you try to sell to everyone, you can easily wind up selling to no one. This mistake is especially prevalent amongst tech start-ups and B2B (business-to-business) accounting firms.

Don’t list countless demographics and buyer personas, and try to treat all of them as your company’s specialty. This is only going to dilute your efforts to strengthen your brand, and in some cases, blot out the various strengths that your business actually does have.

Decide on just one or two target demographics that you really excel at marketing to, and then devote more of your resources to these. You can’t be everyone’s go-to brand for a certain product or service, so don’t try!

Dividing Your Marketing Budget Equally Between Your Partners

An increasing number of small and medium businesses have several owners, usually known as partners, who will hold considerable influence over many of the decisions made by the business. With different people making big decisions, all with their own varying interests, you may be afraid of any kind of conflict.

This fear can often lead to CEOs dividing their available marketing resources between all the partners equally. In many cases, this simply leads to a chaotic and confusing mixture of messages, and ultimately, dilution of your brand.

Some firms will even find themselves in a position where they have more than one logo, more than one website, and no kind of consistent positioning or brand identity.

As you can imagine, this will drag a brand through the mud faster than any other blunder, especially with a business’s online presence counting for so much these days.

Image Credit: Pexels

Modelling Your Marketing Strategy on Your Closest Competitor’s

Isn’t the reassurance of running with the pack nice? It seems that more and more business owners are allowing their branding materials to be dictated by their closest competitor’s. This is why you see so many websites that follow the same design sensibilities, and why so many brands try to use differentiators that are horribly ineffective.

There may be a certain comfort and reassurance in taking cues from your competitors, but you need to be wary of this. Fitting in with the other players in your niche can be an exceedingly risky marketing strategy.

If you do a little digging, you’ll find that it’s the businesses that use strong and clearly communicated differentiators are the ones that grow efficiently, and are able to maintain a strong, unique brand in the long run.

If you don’t make a point to separate all your branding materials from your closest competitor’s, you’ll quickly become one more drop in a vast ocean.

All business owners think about the strength of their brand, but it’s only the ones who really understand it that win. If you’ve been making any of these branding blunders, or you’re starting to see them on the horizon when you look at your marketing team’s work, it’s time to turn things around.

Build a strong brand, and you’ll be amazed at where it can take you!

The 6 Small Business Blunders to Avoid

Many new entrepreneurs build successful companies and achieve their dreams. However, there are increasing numbers of people who make the same mistakes over and over again. You’d almost want to believe some of those individuals haven’t bothered to research before launching their companies.

The sensible approach would be to search online for articles that explain the most common errors in an effort to avoid them. With that in mind, this post will go over some of the things you want to watch out for to avoid any missteps. Nothing is wrong with jogging memories and ensuring everyone understands the risks they face.

Making mistakes when your operation is creating profit isn’t the worst thing in the world. You will have enough money to put them right. However, the same isn’t true during the early stages when you have a tight budget.

Publishing An Amateur Website

The last thing any entrepreneur wants to do is opt for a cheap and cheerful website. Sure, there are lots of ways you can get online without breaking the bank. However, you need to create consumer confidence in your brand. That’s never going to happen if you use a free site builder.

It’s vital that anyone launching a small business in the modern world pays professional designers. That’s the only way to guarantee your site will reach the same standards as your competitors. At the end of the day, most consumers won’t place an order if they think you’re running an amateur operation.

They expect to see certain things when shopping online and expert developers will help you to get everything right. Now is the time to search and read reviews.

Not Making An Investment in Security

Online security is big business these days and that should tell you something important. It should make you see that other entrepreneurs spend a fortune every year on the process. Experts from tierpoint.com say you must implement the latest tools and strategies to protect your operation. That could mean firewalls, antivirus programs, and more.

You also need to design an IT disaster recovery plan (free template) in case the worst occurs. If hackers managed to get into your system, they could cause problems and shut it down. When that happens, you will cease to make a profit until the issue is resolved.

An IT disaster plan should ensure your company is back to normal in the fastest time possible. With that in mind, make sure you take the endeavor seriously as you move forwards with your new business.

Failing to Automate Simple Processes

Automation is everything in today’s business world. Indeed, that is why we see factory owners using robots and computers rather than human employees. Regardless of the nature of your venture, all entrepreneurs need to focus on automation.

Specialists from inc.com have said that for years. It could mean using specialist accounting packages to record your financial information. It could also mean making use of inventory and ordering software. There are programs out there that could remove all the manual work from the job.

When the system knows your stock is low, it will place orders to replenish it without any input from your team. You get the idea, right? The technology of that nature could assist you in saving a lot of time and money. It could also leave you free to concentrate on more important issues like growth.

Not Investing Enough in Marketing

Many entrepreneurs make mistakes when it comes to creating their marketing budget. They don’t spend enough money, and so they fail to attract enough customers. If that happens to your new company, it will fail miserably.

So, you need to ensure you always put enough money aside to cover your promotional costs. These days, you don’t have to pay for TV or radio ads like you did in the past.

Technology means you can now use the internet for most of your advertising efforts. Social networks are a fantastic place to start.

However, you also need to make use of banner tools like Google Adwords. Your goal is to drive as much relevant traffic to your domain as possible. You then have to work on converting those visitors into customers.

Staying Away from the Cloud

Every person reading this post right now should have a basic understanding of cloud technology. If you don’t, it’s imperative that you increase your education as soon as possible. Cloud storage can benefit small business owners in many different ways.

Firstly, it offers improved security for important documents and files. So, entrepreneurs who store their customer’s details in the cloud shouldn’t have any concerns. However, it also offers another significant advantage that most writers fail to highlight.

Business owners who store information in the cloud can access it from anywhere in the world. All they need is the correct username and password. Let’s presume you’re traveling to a meeting and you’ve forgotten some crucial figures.

Well, that isn’t an issue if you can retrieve them from your cloud account. You just require a WiFi connection and your smartphone or laptop.

Failing to Perform Competitor Research

The last thing you want is to discover you have a competitor offering the same products or services at a lower price. You can’t stop that from happening once your company begins to trade. However, you should need to make sure you perform a lot of research before you reach that stages.

It might turn out that your business model is flawed and you can’t make a profit because someone else has already cornered the market. So, make sure you spend at least a couple of weeks checking out the competition before you launch your brand.

If you discover some issues, it could mean you have to go back to the drawing board. Still, most entrepreneurs would prefer to do that during the early stages before they’ve invested all their time and money.  

If everyone reading this post avoids those mistakes, you will stand a much better chance of success. So, do yourself a favor and make sure you go back over all those points. That should help to ensure your company benefits from a smooth launch.

It should also mean you start making the profit you predicted as quickly as possible. Almost half of all new ventures fail within the first twelve months. So, don’t feel too disheartened if something goes wrong.

You just need to dust yourself down and start again.