I've worked with, on and for a lot of brands over the YEARS. And over this time, I've seen a mistake or two. But there's one that always causes businesses and organisations a real headache. One that is both costly and time consuming to fix. And until it's fixed, it will cause confusion and really limit the impact you can have.
So what's this big branding mistake?
It's leaving the BRAND out of your BRANDING. Let me explain. I've explained the difference between brand and branding before. Your brand is who you are, and what you stand for. Your branding is how to bring this to life through your identity and marketing. So leaving the brand out of your branding is where you focus on the execution - your logo, your look and feel, your marketing, your social media presence - without first thinking about your brand. Without taking into account your purpose, personality, values or vision. It's where you worry about what it looks like before you've truly defined who you are, how you're different and why this matters to the world.
Why is this a mistake?
Well, Debbie Millman sums it up perfectly in her definition of branding.
"Branding = deliberate differentiation."
Deliberate means doing things on purpose.
Differentiation is about standing out.
If you don't take the time to think about your brand before you launch into your branding, how will you know what makes you stand out? How will you know what 'on purpose' looks like? Given that this is the very definition of what branding is supposed to do, not thinking about your brand first is clearly a mistake.
So how do you avoid this mistake? That's easy. Always start with your brand framework . It will help you define your brand and then you can use this to develop your branding.
And what can you do if you've already made this mistake?
Develop your brand framework. Seriously, even if you've started with the branding, you can use your brand framework to evaluate your branding against it and see if it demonstrates and lives up to who you are. Is it consistent? And if it doesn't fit, or if it's totally inconsistent, at least you know what you need to address.
Or, you can ask Brand by Me for help, because brand strategy is what we do.