7 Deadly Branding Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make that Kill Profits


Guest Post by Kathy Swiderski

Mistake #1: Naming your business so that it’s meaningless to everyone else.

Time and again, I come across companies that are named something like KS Incorporated. Could a name be more meaningless? Sure, they may be your initials and you think, what’s in a name anyway? But no one else gets it.

Your potential clients are looking for a company that can help them. They are inundated with ads, messages, ideas everywhere grabbing at their attention. And, if they happen to be looking for the service or product that you offer, and see your name somewhere, you really don’t want there to be any moment of confusion about what you can do for them.

You have to grab them quickly. Use a name that tells what you do. Or, at least make sure there is a strong tagline attached always to the name to clarify what your company does.

Mistake #2: Creating written or verbal communications based on what YOU do and YOUR processes.

Hey, I know. We spend a lot of time getting it right. We go to school, take extra training, get credentialed and certified and come up with a really cool process that will knock their socks off. So you want to tell them about that, right? Of course.

But the thing is, they’re busy. And, to be honest, they don’t really care about how you got here. They expect that you’re good at what you do. What they want to know is how it will make a difference in their lives. What is the VALUE to their lives that EXCEEDS the cash value that they’re going to give to you? That’s what your message needs to be about.

Mistake #3: Choosing your colours, fonts, and designs based solely on your personal tastes, or the tastes of those closest to you.

Yes, we all have our favorites. And we certainly don’t want to have to look at colors that we hate plastered all over our expensive and new marketing materials.

But think about who you’re marketing to. They are the ones who need to react positively to it. Stay focused on pleasing the potential client.

Stay as objective as possible. Work with an experienced designer or marketing professional and let them guide you in your choices. Remember, you’re working toward functionality that persuades and sells. You’re not creating “art”.

Mistake #4: Opening your doors and selling to whoever shows up.

This is about lack of clarity on who your target market is. So many businesses think that by limiting that target they’ll be closing themselves off to some business.

The question is, who really has the cash to promote well to everyone? Most don’t. You can take a small budget and really communicate and persuade a small group well and make them your clients. Or, you can take your small marketing budget and do a poor job of marketing to “everyone” and really make no impact at all.

In the end, the targeted marketer always gathers more clients than the untargeted marketer, given the same resources.

Why not choose who you love to work for or sell to and really focus your resources on those people. Don’t make this mistake or you’ll waste a lot of time, money and energy spinning your wheels.

Mistake #5: Forgetting to build values, personality and culture into your brand.

A brand can be infused with a whole personality, have a sense of culture built around it, and be easily identified with specific positive qualities that your target market loves to emulate themselves.

Taking the time to think through these aspects of your brand and how you’re going to intentionally communicate them, strengthens the relationship with your clients and builds a lasting bond.

Alternatively, when you don’t build this emotional level into “who” you business is, you will never really create that solid client base and will have to keep finding new clients, over and over.

Mistake #6: Forgetting about the non-tangible aspects of your brand.

This is a problem because there is a ton of information that your clients and potential clients are gathering about you and assessing you on whether you realize it or not.

A Brand, in fact, is made up of all the experiences that a client has in relationship with your business and service/product. A Brand is how you make them feel. The conclusions that they draw about you.

So, even if your logo, website and other marketing materials look sophisticated and intelligent, your “brand” might really be about poor service and bad attitude if that is the key feeling and experience that clients have had about you.

The lesson is, you have to get the entire package right, and all finely tuned around a specific set of values that you want your target market and clients to associate with your company. Think big picture and whole experience.

Mistake #7: Hiring an inexperienced marketing professional or graphic designer to develop your “brand”  and thinking that the word brand = logo.

Hiring a great marketing professional will cost more. At first. In the long run it is the best shortcut to avoiding all of the first 6 mistakes because their experience and training will steer you clear of those pitfalls.

Basically, getting this right, can, potentially, mean you get it all right. However, you’re still responsible for the outcome, so know what to avoid so that you’re not totally reliant on someone else to make all your choices.

And, remember that you still have to treat your customers well and deliver on the promise made by the visual and verbal parts of your brand.

Make your Brand a great experience for your customers. Allow them to get to know it intimately and bond with it. Make sure it tells your potential customers, loud and clear, how they will benefit by giving your their cash. If you can do these things, you’ll start growing your revenues while creating a positive impact on the world.

Now… let us help you fix it!

If you’re making any of these brand mistakes,
the answer is BRAND THERAPY!

I’ve called in The Brand Therapist, Kathy Swiderski, to run me through her “brand audit” process and help me fix the mistakes I’ve been making.

So, join us free (yes, free, there is NO CHARGE to attend) this Sunday at 2pm Pacific for a fun livecast where you can listen in as Kathy asks me the right questions to help me get clear and shows me how to makeover my brand into something that expresses who I am and what I’m about in my business.

Consider it reality TV for entrepreneurial branding… 

A blend of entertainment and education that’ll help you understand how to give your own business the branding boost it needs to move into a place of clarity, ease and loving how you show up.

Just click here to save your seat:

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  1. Thanks for yet another insightful, comprehensive post! Lots to think about here.

    The livecast sounds fascinating, but the timing doesn’t work for me, unfortunately (right at supper time here in Maine) – will it be recorded and available later?

    Thanks again, Michelle – you’re such a great role model in the blogging world, as well as a successful entrepreneur! :-)
    K.Lee Banks recently posted… Balancing Our PrioritiesMy Profile

    1. Yes, the recording is available. We’ll be doing a part 2, too!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… BlogMy Profile

  2. I’m ready for a branding boost. #4 … guilty as charged. Informative post Kathy and Michelle.


    Adalia John recently posted… Will Your Start-Up Succeed?My Profile

    1. I think most entrepreneurs and small businesses are guilty of that one, Adalia. :) Hope you’ll be joining us this afternoon!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… BlogMy Profile

  3. Great post! Sorry I missed the livecast. Bet it was amazing. Looking forward to the changes here! :)
    Loralee Hutton recently posted… What I would change if I were to do this over againMy Profile

    1. Me, too! I mean, looking forward to the changes. ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… BlogMy Profile

  4. #7 reminds me of a quote:

    “if you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you’ve hired an amateur!”

    1. Great reminder, Stuart. It applies in the area of branding for sure.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… BlogMy Profile

  5. This is absolutely amazing post. Couldn’t agree more with point no 7. I’ve often seen businesses start having poor logos and visuals and they later on move to better production as they realize how it represents the brand.


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