1 — Inconsistency
The goal is to stand out. Be memorable. If customers can’t remember your brand, you haven’t got a chance against competitors. One easy way to lose them is inconsistency. Strong brand guidelines should outline a clear brand voice. Use complementary and cohesive visual guidelines (rules for colors, fonts, imagery, spacing, etc.) and specific grammar and capitalization rules. Other elements will help guarantee a consistent representation of your brand over any channel and in any medium. You want each new experience that a customer has with your brand, no matter where it happens, to feel new, yet familiar.
2 — Ignoring Housekeeping
There are many points along a customer’s journey with your brand where small housekeeping items create those make or break moments. Think about that handout that people rarely ask for which you never took the time to update it. Look at the new webpage that you developed for your new cutting edge product that uses cool, albeit off-brand, cutting edge messaging. Review that webpage that uses that old infographic that everyone hates internally, but you left there because technically, it’s accurate. If a customer experiences these little missteps, why should they trust that your lack of attention to detail for your own brand won’t extend into a lack of attention to detail for their needs? Complete regular brand audits and stay on top of change.
3 — Skipping the Basics
Good spelling and grammar, relevant images, mobile responsiveness, the user’s experience — it’s the basics. And the basics matter. If you want a customer to take you seriously, don’t misspell anything. Take the time to review your work. Once you take the time to spell correctly and write well, make sure you’re delivering that content in a proven tested vehicle. Take the time to experience your brand from the customer’s shoes so you know what each touch point feels like from their perspective. Customers will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Digital content moves at light speed, so it’s easy to make mistakes or be a bit sloppy. Don’t let speed get in the way of basic good practices.
4 — Not Playing as a Team
Successful brand management starts inside the company walls. Every member of your team should consider themselves an ambassador for the company brand. Even if they aren’t on the marketing team delivering tweets, they or the projects they work on will interact with the public in some way eventually. Get everyone on the same page. Train your team on what it means to maintain a branded presence. They should know what their role in that looks like going forward. Provide them with the assets they need to fulfill their role in a location that’s globally accessible and well organized. The team should be able to communicate in a clear and concise manner whenever updates are made or important guidelines change.
5 — Neglecting the Core
Like the human body, a strong core brings balance and stability. The most successful brands have a very clear, simple, strong core purpose. It is well defined and understood which bringing balance and long-term stability to their brand presence over time. Establishing a strong core requires understanding why you do what you do and who you do it for. This core aligns your founding principles to your core products, services, and offerings. The key here is to revisit that core purpose over time and nurture its growth.