Almost everyone has had a bad food experience where the packaging or branding package didn’t match the quality or quantity of food inside (looking at you bags of chips). Branding done poorly can have the same effect. Tina Walczak our Chief Brand Officer and Jake MacLaren, one of our content strategists, discusses branding mistakes and how when it comes to creating a complete branding package it’s important to avoid major pitfalls so your company (and brand) is received well.
Jake MacLaren: What is bad branding in a branding package?
Tina Walczak: Firstly, it can be difficult to identify bad branding because what someone likes, someone else might not. Branding is subjective and you really need to know the people you’re targeting with your product or service to understand what they might or might not like.
An easy way to get lost in the branding process and ending up with a bad brand will come from missing out on the crucial branding process. This involves:
- Building a product or service
- Testing it
- Getting feedback on it
- Iterating on it
- Relaunching it
Companies that either skip or miss any of the above steps often have a challenging time coming out with a good brand.
Another case of a bad branding package is getting too political. Let’s say you sell shoes. You provide your product to moms on the go, and your audience is diverse with different beliefs. If you get political because other companies are, you have the very real possibility of really hurting your brand.
It’s also about mindset. Your brand should focus on how you’re serving others through your product or service and adapting to the current state of the world. A big part of branding is adapting and knowing when to adapt.
Jake MacLaren: What is brand confusion and why does it matter?
Tina Walczak: I would say that brand confusion is mostly being inauthentic. You’re not being true to what your brand stands for and means. It also means you’re trying too hard to be something you’re not or trying to be another brand.
A good way to tell if a brand or branding package is confused is if the messaging and language varies from ad to ad or if a brand seems overly complicated.
Sometimes this takes years to simplify and distill a brand down to what the core of what you want people to notice. Nike is a great example of this. A lot of people don’t know it, but it took them years to come up with the classic “swoosh” and “just do it” branding and multiple iterations.
Jake MacLaren: Why is brand consistency important?
Tina Walczak: Great question. Consistency ties back into the previous question and brand confusion. People are going to have a better understanding of your brand if it’s consistent across every type of media.
Also, if you don’t have a clear plan or vision for your business’s future your brand consistency will run into issues. It will be easy for your brand to get muddled because if you don’t know where you want your business to go, that will trickle down through your branding and all other aspects of your business.
A good example of a consistent brand is Coca-Cola. They’ve kept the exact same colours, and have become easily recognizable on shelves. It’s also reliable in terms of quality—you know exactly what you’re going to get every time you open a can or bottle. That’s a big part of consistency too, being reliable with your brand so people build trust with what they can expect from you.
In general, branding done poorly would be when a lot of money is spent on new branding and either nothing changes or you start to lose money. You want your branding to be impactful and drive leads or purchases for your services or products respectively.
Jake MacLaren: What makes a bad logo?
Tina Walczak: A logo is essential to any business, and it’s important to do it right. I would say a bad logo is one that doesn’t have a story behind it. What I mean by that is exists purely because it looks good or cool. A bad logo doesn’t involve a story where parts of your business, goals, and vision are worked into the design or have subtle nods to your industry.
Often when companies first start it’s just the name of the person who owns the business which gets turned into a logo, but that sets up future problems. Not only is a brand and branding package more than one person, what if that person leaves the company, or someone new takes over? If I name a company after myself it only attracts people who like me who want to work there too.
A bad logo is also one that looks illegible full size or shrunk down. Obviously, comic sans is known for being an unattractive font, but there are many others that can contribute to a bad logo as well.
It’s best to create a logo that matches the quality of your product or service as well. If you’re dealing with clients worth thousands of dollars your logo should match your high-quality services or products. Speaking of clients, you should consider your target audience when creating a logo—don’t make it just for one person or group of people.