Common Branding Mistakes


You’d think that all companies treat branding as an important component in business operations. You’d also think that due diligence is practiced religiously before committing to branding programs. Well, think again! You’d be surprised at how many businesses end up making some pretty common branding mistakes.

The size of your business does not exempt you from pitfalls. Global business houses are just as vulnerable as smaller local ones. Remember the Kendall Jenner “Black Lives Matter” Pepsi commercial? How about the Heineken “Lighter is better” advertisement?

While small businesses may not see their mistakes garner international attention, they do have to consider the oversights that occur everyday, whether deliberately or unintentionally.

Listed below are some common branding mistakes.


In the absence of rules, chaos runs free. Brands require clear directives outlining what the brand is about, the promise, the position, the voice, the color palette, the fonts, logos, taglines, what’s deemed appropriate and what’s not acceptable. Businesses need formal brand guidelines.

Without a defined format for presenting the brand, interactions become confusing and the brand fails to occupy a unique space in the mind of the customer. Yet, many businesses either fail to adhere to the defined guidelines or, in extreme cases, not have any penned down.


Another common branding mistake is the failure to consistently deliver the intended message. Messages tend to be open to interpretation or dynamic and prolonged inconsistency dilutes the value of the brand and its proposition. A blunder that many businesses commit is deliver an inconsistent brand experience, failing to align their brand promise with an experience that matches.


In an effort to mitigate risks, businesses attempt to tap into a broader audience. The added segments usually aren’t a fit. The result is a wastage of resources on a segment that won’t convert and a thinner marketing spread on ones that do.

In addition, the brand fails to forge a tighter bond with the appropriate audience, diluting its position and leaving the door open to competition.


Another common branding mistake that businesses make is not offering sufficient time for the brand to establish itself.  Frequent rebranding leaves potential customers confused. As a result, businesses fail to deliver a consistent image and create meaningful connections. This applies internally and externally.


Ever heard the phrase, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”? Another common mistake made by businesses is to ape the strategies of others, especially competition. This defeats the purpose of creating a unique brand in the first place. You can’t stand out if you end up doing and saying the same thing as everyone else.

The impetus behind building a brand is to create something that’s distinctive, that has its own personality, its own unique position, especially when features and benefits can be replicated.


While advertising may deliver the intended messages, the true ambassadors of your brand are your employees, sales staff, merchandisers, delivery personnel and all stakeholders responsible for bringing the product to the market. Businesses forget to or fail to give stakeholders an appropriate orientation into the brand.

Helping members see the overarching goal of the brand and the role they play in it can go a long way in creating brand evangelism. These resources often go untapped.


It is important not to get too caught up in fads. Thinking in terms of the long-term interest of the brand is vital to good branding. Use only what benefits or elevates the brand and ignore the rest. Many businesses make the mistake of misinterpreting a fad for a trend and eventually place too much stock in them. The result is disappointed and wastage or resources.


Failure to evaluate where the brand stands, internally and externally, can be a grave mistake.  Any misalignment needs to be corrected quickly. Delaying a response could lead to further manifestation of incorrect perceptions. It is important to audit all marketing collateral, product and service delivery systems including after sales support to ensure that the overall brand experience in on point.


No business or brand is perfect. After all, they are led by people, and people by nature, aren’t perfect too. But, what is important it that they do their best to avoid the common branding mistakes discussed above. Branding is an ongoing initiative and should never be held in isolation. It’s a commitment to delivering the best possible version of your business and brand.

For help with your branding efforts, read – “Define: Brand” and “The Concept Of Positioning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *