Four common branding mistakes to avoid

wrong way

Building a solid brand takes time, investment and discipline. And so often we see brands with a lot of potential let themselves down on the little details.

Charles Eames famously once said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.” And it’s never been more true today, where brands have to sweat the small stuff to differentiate themselves in an ever-growing market.

So, here are four of the most frequent pitfalls we see brands slipping into. And the great thing is, there are simple steps you can take to avoid them.


Trends come and go, but good, consistent brands will remain. It can be tempting to react to the latest fad or trend gracing the world at the time. But even if your competitors are jumping on the band wagon, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should too.

Shoehorning and ham-fistedly latching onto trends can ultimately be more damaging for your brand. Consumers can tell when brands are being reactive to external factors, rather than driving genuine activity from within. Don’t be tempted down routes that don’t feel true to your business.

Consistency and authenticity are key.

Cutting corners

In today’s world of instant gratification, brand teams are under pressure to act fast, which often means cutting corners. It can be tempting to go for the ‘quick wins’ but they can in fact end up costing more time and budget in the long-term.

Never has the saying ‘quality over quantity’ been more appropriate here. That doesn’t mean you can’t be responsive. You absolutely can. But everything you put out should be quality checked against your brand. A simple checklist can be enough to ensure you’re keeping your brand on track. For the more complex it may mean involving more people, and yes taking more time – in which case plan for it.

Anything that’s going to deliver you something real and lasting takes time. So take the time, invest the money. Do it properly.

Copycat branding

You need to give your customers a reason to buy from you and buy into you. Copying your competitors or other brands you admire is therefore never a great strategy.

Ultimately, it’s a failure to differentiate your brand from others, and means customers could easily switch loyalties.

There’s no longevity for your brand in copying others. Find your point of difference and communicate it clearly to your audiences.

Moving on too quickly

You’ve done all the hard work, developing your new brand, vision, mission, values, tone of voice and what you believe to be the perfect visual identity. You launch it, but don’t get the impact you expected.

So three months later, you re-evaluate, change a few things. Still nothing. Three months later, you tweak a couple of other things. Still no change.

You need to give things time to be adopted. And change won’t happen overnight. Three months, sometimes even a year, isn’t long enough to truly know if any changes you’ve made to your brand have been effective.

Monitor as much as possible following the launch of your brand or marketing campaign and ongoing. That way, when you’ve given it enough time, you’ll be able to attribute any changes directly to data and insight you’ve gathered.

You must make a valid case for change.