biggest branding mistake

There are constantly new ways to share your brand. New apps, app features, social media strategies and new technologies. We have to adapt to new touch points with our customers all the time. A good example of this is the new reels feature on Instagram (new as of the time of writing anyway). The trouble with new ways to connect with our audience, is that we may get caught up in the hype. We will look to businesses using it well, and experts in the social media space and imitate the way they are using this new feature so that we can be early adopters. However the way those people are using that platform or feature to share their own brand, may not be the best way to use it for your brand.

Branding Needs to be Consistent

Consistency is so important in branding because it helps our audience recognise and relate to us. It helps them paint a picture of who we are and connect with us. If we are inconsistent and our brand has no clear style or voice, we confuse people and even worse can turn them off. Consistency isn't limited to just using the same fonts, colours and logo either. Consistency is about having a consistent brand style, voice, feel, vibe and message as well as ethics and values. When people have come to know and associate your brand as being something and then you do something that goes against that or strays from that is creates disconnect and confusion and can be a big turn off.

How to Approach a New Touch Point

Whenever you are trying to work out how best to use a new touch point for your brand, such as a new social media feature, you first need to take a moment to consider how your brand would use it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your visual style?
  • How does your brand feel?
  • What won’t you do?
  • What are your values and ethics?
  • What music and audio is ‘on brand’ And what is very off brand?
  • What is my brands energy and vibe?
  • How can I make this feel cohesive and consistent with everything I already put out?
  • What is my brands voice? What language do I use and not use?
  • What value do I bring?
  • What do I promote/ what methods do I stand by?

By asking yourself these questions, you can start to get clear about how you should approach any touch point and how you should show up in your brand, and what you should and shouldn't do.

It means you need to be more creative. You can’t simply look at what everyone else is doing and just adapt the same style and concept to your message. You actually have to start from scratch and consider how your brand will use it.

The Opportunity and Gain from Avoiding this Mistake

By avoiding this mistake and taking them time to consider how your brand would use the new feature, rather than just jumping in and doing it how everyone else is, there is an opportunity to stand out.

Yes there may be some content you try that falls flat and doesn’t get the response you hoped for, because you aren’t following the norm or what is working for others. bUt when you hit on something good, and you have approached it from your own brands perspective you can reap great gains from it.

By pushing yourself to get creative and think of unique relevant ideas and approaches you end up standing out and your audience loving you all the more.

Example of How this Plays Out

When reels first came out on Instagram, a lot of people who had already been using Tik Tock, brought their style and ideas to reels, and others where learning from and copying the way they used reels.

I came across a brand I knew who had a very calm, peaceful, soulful feel to their brand. They put out their first reel and it just felt off. It used an energetic pop song, they were pulling faces and being playful, all of which is fine, but it didn't align with their brand. It felt really off.

I mentioned this on Instagram and how I felt it was so important to consider how your brand uses something not just how everyone else is using it.

I spoke to other people about it, and they said they had seen the same thing, and felt it cheapens the brand, and can even look naive and negative (as some of the trends people copy can have negative associations that they aren't aware of).

It can creating a jarring experience, and could cost you loyal audience members and fans.

On the other side of things, I have seen people use reels really well. They have taken the time to think how they can approach it from their own brands style and voice.

Such as a UX designer, who instead of using music and dancing, he has a simple consistent style of 3 things. He starts every reel at his desk saying '3 things UX designers....' e.g should read, blogs they should follow, apps they should use. Then he shows each of the 3 things. It is simple but it is consistent and suits his brand.

Or a video editor who uses cuts from movies and a split screen with himself to create a dialogue message.

Don't try to be Someone Else

You might think other people are seeing success and doing well by doing things a certain way, and so you imitate. But what will bring you success is being true to yourself, be authentically you and know your brand's individual voice and style. When you are clear on that, people who love your brand and feel a connect to you will be drawn to what you out out. Find the people who resonate with your brand. Don't try to appeal to what is most popular.

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