When you think about iconic brands, you think about iconic images. Consider Coca-Cola and Nike. If you’re a small business owner, imagining the amount of money and effort going into high-powered branding can make it challenging to consider your own branding initiatives. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, however; being aware of common branding mistakes can help clear your path. Here are a few pitfalls to recognize and avoid.

1. Underestimating the Power of a Brand 

It’s crucial for your business to have a strong brand identity. You want to have an instantly recognizable and distinct brand that both harmonizes with your particular industry yet stands out from the rest. It’s necessary from a customer-relationship perspective and in relation to your buyers as well. Branded listings are also advantageous for SEO (search engine optimization).

2. Not Defining Brand Guidelines

Clear guidelines are essential for creating a unified brand. Be sure that you create guidelines that address the following elements: brand colors, taglines, logo, imagery, brand “voice,” typography and fonts, and influencers. Making sure that you cover the basics ensures that your branding is consistent and has a defined direction.

3. Being Too Vague

Be sure that your brand guidelines are specific about your company and its value proposition. Use vivid, distinct language. You’ve probably seen marketing language and logos that are generic and repetitive. Don’t fall into that trap! Study the high-level brands in your industry. Although you’ll make different choices than they do, learn from their unambiguous, precise use of branding elements.

4. Getting Too Complicated

Keep it simple. It can be a temptation to use more variables than necessary as you develop your branding process. For example, your logo doesn’t need five contrasting colors, and you certainly don’t require a different graphic element for each department of your company. Simple, clean elements are memorable and more easily recognizable.

5. Not Monitoring Usage

Be active and proactive about monitoring where and in what manner other people use your branded elements, even on your behalf. If not, you run the risk of having a competitor make a similar-looking logo or a partner creating an ad with your logo using the wrong colors. Stay vigilant. Most of the issues will be minor, but occasionally legal intervention may be required.

Branding is a key aspect of business success but it doesn’t have to be overcomplicated. Keep these caveats in mind as you plan your strategy.