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5 Common Branding Challenges That Entrepreneurs Face –– And How To Avoid Them

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not easy to build a strong brand that stands out and cuts through the excess noise. Brand awareness and brand recognition are two of the most important aspects of creating a brand – but they don’t come without branding challenges.

And that's what you need to overcome if you really want your brand to shine.

If you’re just starting out with your brand-building process and want to maximize results, here are the 5 most common branding challenges that you need to watch out for – and how to avoid them, so the process runs smoothly from the start.

The importance of branding and creating a brand identity

Before we talk about branding problems, it’s important to understand what the term “branding” actually means, and how it relates to brand identity, awareness, and growth.

Today’s digital world is filled with information coming at consumers from every angle: there are ads, email marketing, direct mail… it’s a lot to take in, and it’s a lot to try to remember.

As an entrepreneur, you might be worried that you’re tackling more than you can handle. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case: branding and building a brand isn’t something that you need to be afraid of.

That’s why, as a business owner and entrepreneur, you must ensure that your brand is memorable.

And you do that through strong branding.

In simple terms, branding refers to the way you define your brand. Your brand voice, colors, mission, vision, values, logos, and stories all form a part of your branding strategy. They also make a difference between growing into a brand that a consumer can relate to, and a brand that they overlook in exchange for another one.

Good branding can make the difference between growing into a household name like Coca-Cola or getting lost in the sea of carbonated drink brands that never make the cut.

When it comes to generating brand awareness –– and, later on, brand recognition –– branding is the driving force that can propel your business forward and into the eyes, ears, and hands of purchase-hungry consumers who will, if all goes well, turn into a loyal customer base.

5 common brand problems you should avoid

Branding is a process –– and no process comes without its fair share of challenges or problems.

As an entrepreneur, you might be worried that you’re tackling more than you can handle. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case: branding and building a brand isn’t something that you need to be afraid of. After all, no one knows your brand better than you do –– it just takes patience, effort, and time to put that vision into words and action.

Before you dive into the branding process, here are 5 of the most common branding challenges that I see new business owners face –– and how you can avoid them in order to start out strong.

1. Rushing the process

Getting your brand’s name out there is an exciting time, but you shouldn’t let this excitement get in the way of taking things slowly.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see in branding is trying to rush things and believing that the brand-building process is complete before the final details have been ironed out.

In most cases, rushing things usually leads to confusion –– for both you and your potential customers.

That said, a common branding mistake that I see a lot of people make is refusing to update their strategy – even when it’s clear that their brand no longer matches it.

Whether your brand voice is unclear, your brand message doesn’t align with your goals, or your marketing strategy is missing key elements for it to run smoothly, rushing the process only means that you’ll sooner or later have to go back and reorganize the entire thing.

How can you avoid this? Take your time to really understand your brand and all of the different parts that make it up as a whole. If you need to, create a branding folder with all of the most important information that relates to your brand –– aka your brand guidelines –– and make sure that everyone in your team has access to it to avoid any confusion or inconsistency.

2. Focusing on trends

As a new brand trying to find its place in the world, it can be tempting to latch on to popular branding trends and techniques to stand out.

Trends change too quickly –– and following a trend simply because you hope it will make you and your brand popular will leave you scrambling for ideas when people move on to the next “big thing”.

How can you avoid this?

Instead of trying to tie your brand to whatever trend is happening at the moment, focus on the true essence of your brand. It’s OK to look for inspiration in trends, but don’t blindly follow or copy them exactly as they are.

3. Lacking consistency

At this point, it seems appropriate to mention another common branding problem that negatively affects brand building and brand exposure: a lack of consistency.

To make sure that your brand is recognizable, you need to present it similarly across all channels: on your website, social media, email marketing, events, etc.

When your brand lacks consistency, it’ll be a lot more difficult for consumers to relate to it and understand what it’s trying to say –– and they’ll be quick to move on to someone who has a clear idea of what they are, who they’re speaking to, and what they’re trying to sell.

How can you avoid this?

Create a set of clearly defined brand guidelines and stick to them. Once they’re ready, these will become your guiding principles. Use them every time you onboard a new employee, hire 3rd party help or need to create a new piece of content to showcase your brand.

4. Not asking for help

Entrepreneurs are used to going at it alone –– I know this from personal experience, too.

However, this doesn’t mean that you need to create an entire branding and brand awareness strategy on your own. Another common brand problem I see is that a lot of business owners try to do things alone and generally avoid asking for help. In most cases, this leads to overwhelm, burnout, and giving up.

Branding can be a long and arduous process, and it’s a lot better –– and easier to handle –– when the responsibility and the work are shared.

How can you avoid this?

Look for brand strategists or branding experts who can come in to give you a hand throughout the entire process. This doesn’t need to be a one-person (or one-team) job –– there are plenty of people out there who are trained to do this, and they’ll be happy to come on board and help you create something great.

5. Forgetting to refresh

People change, times change, and brands change, too!

That said, a common branding mistake that I see a lot of people make is refusing to update their strategy – even when it’s clear that their brand no longer matches it.

While you don’t need to update your brand monthly – that goes against what I mentioned about staying consistent – it’s worth taking a look at it at least once a year to make sure that everything is still aligned and working together.

How can you avoid this?

Don’t be afraid to refresh. Many very famous brands, from Apple to Kia, Starbucks, and more, have gone through the rebranding process in their lifetime. You shouldn’t let fear of change deter you from helping your brand grow and evolve.

Avoiding the most common branding challenges

When it comes to branding, a lot of the time, people make mistakes because they feel too overwhelmed or are confused by the terms and the way the process should work.

And, when mistakes happen, it’s easy to feel discouraged or disappointed about the entire thing –– which turns this into a vicious cycle of trying, slipping, and giving up.

Some of the most common branding problems that I’ve seen come when entrepreneurs and business owners try to:

  1. Rush the process

  2. Focus on trends

  3. Lack consistency

  4. Don’t ask for help

  5. Forget to refresh

Great branding doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s not something that should be taken lightly. But, if you’re set on your desire to get started and gain brand exposure, following these five tips are the best way to help you set your goals in motion.

Shaun Sunderland is Founder and CEO of BrandRoots, a brand strategy and personal guidance company. Shaun helps businesses find and nail their best offer through brand strategy, brand design and personal development. In his own words "I help bridge the gap between solopreneurship and personal development." Find out more about Shaun's work at BrandRoots' website or follow Shaun on LinkedIn.


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