The more I work with emerging designers and small independent brands, the more I get frustrated sometimes. I’m one of those people who say things as they are no matter whether they’re good or bad. I decided to write this article because I see a common pattern appearing and I want to help you avoid making these basic mistakes, which, in my opinion, are completely preventable. These three things that could be hurting your brand are not what your business needs, trust me.
I’m going to split this post into two because otherwise this post would be quite long. Today, I’m covering the things related to your business branding. Branding is what attracts people to your brand visually. It’s something that will attract and repel customers to and from your brand. Many thinks that repelling is a bad thing, but it’s not. I’m not going to go into details on having the wrong corporate identity in the first place, even though I see that a lot too. For now, let’s go with what you’ve got.
- Having poorly designed promotional materials
The first point out of the three things that could be hurting your brand is your (printed) marketing and promotional materials. The biggest mistake I see is not paying enough attention to details. What I mean by that is not having strong promotional materials, which will help your brand to get noticed and reinforce your messaging and communication with your potential customers or clients.
I recently had a conversation with a designer who invested money into producing beautiful imagery for her latest collection. She showed them to me and they were really great. In terms of branding, the images had a common colour scheme, both the theme and vibe were strong and it looked like a solid campaign. I helped her choose the right name for the campaign and assumed that she had enough material to work with to create promotional materials – catalogues, thank-you and invitation cards, business cards, small leaflets and even buyer packs.
The biggest issue for me was that each of these require a slightly different approach in terms of graphic design and layouts. You can’t design all of them like you design your website or content for your Instagram feed. Leaflet design is different to catalogue or lookbook design and so on. Each have different space capacity and purpose, and therefore it’s super important to maximise the potential. I assumed that this is something which is quite obvious but I realised that it’s not to everyone.
Hence, I guided her through each design to make sure that the campaign is effective and is not let down by poor promotional materials. So the lesson here is pay attention to details. Make sure that you create strong promotional materials, which will help rather than confuse people, or worse damage your brand by its poor design.
- Having a poorly designed website
Imagine a landscape where everyone is doing the same thing and how confusing it is to your customers. Have you ever visited your competitor’s site to only discover that it looks almost the same as yours? How can you compete on that? The only way to fight it is to invest in your own design.
Equally, did you ever come across a website, probably costing tons of money, which you absolutely love and you wish you could have something similar? Well, there is a reason why good design costs money. It’s not just about the layout, fonts and the colour scheme. It’s also about the virtual experience, which sets that website from everyone else. Because barriers to entry are so low, markets are very saturated these days and therefore the competition is very fierce. I’ve never experienced so much competition in my whole business life. Having a poorly customised template is something which can be damaging to your brand without you even noticing it.
So the lesson here is get your website up to scratch and show us what you’re about. Give us the experience and/or content we have never seen before.
- Developing low quality visual content
The final point out of the three things that could be hurting your brand is poor visual content. If you have a poor image, don’t put it up on your website or social media, and definitely don’t try to print it. It seems that poor quality images on leaflets and business cards is, surprisingly, not as uncommon. You might think it’s not that bad but imagine what your competitors are doing. Do they have better images? What can you do to compete on their level yet on your budget? Furthermore, you might not even know that but Google is now more determined to drop brands with low quality content online. Could this be damaging your ranking?
Again, this is something I discussed in one of the conversations I recently had. The designer is trying to save money by creating flatlays, which stylingwise look great, but poor lighting let them down. I advised her to invest more time in post-production, or a better camera, rather than sending out images which are clearly not up to her brand’s standards.
If you’re guilty of any of these three things that could be hurting your brand, I hope that this article will help you to correct them and you can move forward with your business. Kxx
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