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  • February 2, 2023
  • admin
  • 7 min read

Branding can make or break your business. That said, start-ups and smaller businesses are often so caught up in the technicalities of the business that branding is often put on the back burner. So, whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for decades, here are some crucial branding mistakes you should avoid:  

1. Not grasping the meaning of branding

Branding is a blueprint for how you want the world to see your business. An easy mistake to make is not actually understanding what branding really is. So, take some time to really understand the concept and find an explanation that suits you. You need to really grasp it to apply it to your business – more on this in the next point!

2. Getting your marketing mixed up with your branding

Make sure you don’t confuse marketing with branding. Let’s separate this out quickly. Branding is defining who, or what, your brand is. Marketing is making other people aware of it. Whilst they are closely related and there’s a lot of crossover, being unclear on the differences means you can’t do either effectively. Here’s a tip: take care of branding first, then tackle marketing second.

3. Seeing branding as just a logo

Branding is much bigger than one or two brand assets, like business cards or a logo. Branding is in fact the conceptual act of defining your business, not just making some pretty designs in the company colours.

4. Trying too hard to stand out

Unfortunately, trying too hard looks desperate. Instead, aim to let your brand develop naturally and organically, avoiding try to shoehorn it into a trend. The public can smell inauthenticity a mile away, and it never turns out well.

5. Thinking you know best

Let’s be realistic, you’re no doubt excellent at what you do, but not every entrepreneur has a solid understanding of psychology, graphic design and copywriting. This is why we think you should always hire a professional.

6. Playing it too safe

By the same token, there are business that play it too safe when it comes to branding. If there’s nothing unusual or unique about your brand, it’s going to be tough to carve out market share. You can combat this with lots of research into you competitors – it will help you find a niche and root out gaps in your competitor’s offering that perhaps you can fill.

7. Being too edgy

Some businesses try very hard to differentiate themselves from the competition. This is a good thing, but more than one company has crossed a line in their quest for uniqueness and it’s ended badly. Interesting is good but keep it in the realms of respectable.

8. Forgetting brand guidelines

Don’t forget about brand guidelines. These are vital for success, because as well as helping ensure consistency and authenticity in-house, they’ll be a huge help to any 3rd party professionals you employ to help with marketing, content, graphic design, product design.

9. Lacking consistency across channels

Once you’ve got branding in place, you must ensure it’s represented similarly across all the channels your business is present on. Being inconsistent sends a mixed message to the public. Keeping your brand guidelines at the forefront will help with this.

10. Lacking consistency across collateral

It can be easy to ensure consistency in the obvious places and forget about areas that don’t spring to top of mind. Make sure anything that is issued by your business, from letters to compliment slips to invoices, is as on-brand as your Instagram account.

11. Refusing to admit mistakes

Even the most experienced brands make mistakes sometimes and everyone makes mistakes. If this happens, the only way to recover is by owning up to the error. Admit your mistake early and you’ll hopefully be in with a chance to remedy it.

12. Attaching your brand to the wrong things

By the same token, there are business that play it too safe when it comes to branding. If there’s nothing unusual or unique about your brand, it’s going to be tough to carve out market share. You can combat this with lots of research into you competitors – it will help you find a niche and root out gaps in your competitor’s offering that perhaps you can fill.

Be really careful about what you allow your brand name to be attached too. For every association that brings in new business and extra revenue, there are 10 more that just leave customers scratching their heads, which is never a good sign for business.

13. Neglecting the update

If you’ve already got your branding done and dusted, set a reminder to look at it on an annual or bi-annual basis. Whilst you don’t want your brand to be moulded by every passing trend, you want to avoid it looking tired and irrelevant. You just need to work on getting the balance right.

14. Attempting to appeal to everyone

You can’t be all things to all people. Instead, embrace your brand and walk the walk – this clarity will help your people find you.

15. Being too trend driven

Every year brings in new design trends and while it’s ok to use them for inspiration, copying them can look desperate. Jumping from trend to trend is also not advisable, as it’s a type of inconsistency.

16. Forgetting about written content

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about the text when you concentrate on graphic design. Copywriting may play a lesser role in your branding, but it’s hugely important and worth examining professionally. Great copywriting not only increases sales and conversions, but it also has a major impact on how people view your brand in terms of authenticity. Core messages, mission statement and tag lines are all essential brand elements and they all rest on the written word.

17. Thinking too small

Don’t think too small. Whilst some online businesses are very local, an increasing number have a global reach, even without trying. Make sure your branding doesn’t offend any of your international clients.

18. Stripping all personality

Consistency is key but never varying from the strictest confines of your brand guidelines can make for a very boring brand. Don’t be afraid to inject a little personality and character into your brand actions.

19. Overlooking the brand deadline

Solid branding takes effort and isn’t something you can finish in a couple of days. That said, always set yourself an end goal and a deadline to wrap everything up. Some companies are never happy and continue poking their brand to “get it just right”. A brand that’s always in motion can never grow roots, and it’s those roots that are key to your brand being the foundation your business is built on.

20. Alienating your origins

It can often be hard to get the balance between old and new right, but if your brand has been around for a while, it’s worth remembering that you may have fans and customers who love you for your traditional brand. Updates that stray too far from origins like this can sometimes fall flat, so tread carefully and do lots of research before you refresh your classic brand.


The above are 20 common, but avoidable, ways that businesses make mistakes with their branding. That said, the biggest branding mistake of all is doing nothing! So, if you’re trying hard, then hopefully these tips will help you to avoid the various branding pitfalls.

Luckily, when you employ a branding professional, the person or agency will be the ones looking out for these possible pitfalls. At Creative Fire, we’ll work together on your branding, taking the task off your hands whilst you focus on other areas of your business and helping you to avoid these common mistakes. For consistency, professional designs and high-level expertise, contact the Creative Fire team today.