EQ Classroom

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Top 5 Things to Avoid While Building a Brand

by Mandy Pao

We’re in an age where there are multiple brands rubbing shoulders with each other in the market to grab a piece of a pie. A brand that has meaningful differentiation, strong value proposition and promise, clear identity, great storytelling and can appeal to a target audience would survive for long. Many businesses focus a lot on brand designs but fail miserably because they don't pay enough attention to where they're heading. Do you know some of the major pitfalls of brand building?

1. Targeting Everyone 🌍

The first mistake is targeting everyone. Unless your company has been around for over a hundred years (yes, Mitsubishi's grandfather was Mitsubishi), you cannot build a brand that appeals to everyone. At least not with any amount of value. This might be difficult to accept when you look at great brands like Coca-Cola, Apple and Disney, but it's important to know that those brands made it to those levels by focusing on their niche market.

2. Failing To Differentiate Your Brand ™️

Your brand shouldn't just be a set of colors or a catchy name. It needs to mean something. Your brand won't stand out like a sore thumb if you refuse to step out of the box and are predictable instead of bold. Branding your business is about playing it smart, not playing it safe. The only way to do this is to identify your USP (Unique Selling Point). By outlining what are the unique attributes you bring to the market, you create a reason for customers to buy from you. So be bold, find your USP and niche to differentiate yourself from competitors.

3. Did not spend enough time understanding the market ⏱ 

The best way to avoid mistakes is to understand your market. Everything from the tone of voice, brand personality and messaging can be influenced by the type of consumer you’re trying to appeal to. Conducting market research and asking the right questions will help you narrow down exactly where you fit in the marketplace, and create a brand that works for you, not just for everyone else out there. Put some time in to understand your competitors, what they do, what makes them tick, observe and learn.

But beyond research, there are certain exercises you can implement, like running a SWOT analysis or creating a perceptual map (mapping out how your brand could be perceived by others): these methods will allow you to get a better sense of where your brand stands within the market and how much potential there actually is.

4. Don’t have a buyer persona 🧐 

When you're building a brand, it's important to take into account the people that you're selling your product to. A buyer persona is a description of an ideal customer and includes information like demographics, psychographics and values. The clearer your buyer personas, the better you can understand what motivates them to buy from you and what they look for in a product or service. If you want to have a good understanding of the buyer persona, you need to be asking a handful of good questions, such as “where do they hangout?”, “how old are they?” , “what are their hobbies?” or “what are their main challenges?”

5. Not living up to your promise 😔

As you move to developing your brand, it is important to remember that the customer's trust and loyalty are the most important assets of any business. Not living up to your promise will turn customers away. Remember: people aren't just buying your product, they are buying the promise you make them by creating a brand. It's important that you help your customers remember why they want to buy from you, not just what makes your product different. 

Quote 🔥 

“Organizations who know who they are, and what they stand for, start the identity process from a position of strength.”

— Aline Wheeler, Author

Takeaways 📝 

🌍 Targeting everyone is a one-way ticket to effectively targeting no one.

™️ Failing to differentiate your brand will put you in a weak position in the market.

⏱ Not spending enough time understanding the market will leave you with no direction.

🧐 Lacking a buyer persona makes it difficult to have a frame of reference of your customers.

🙄 Not living up to your promise will turn away your customers and leave a bad reputation.

Stay tuned for the next EQ Clasrroom article where we go through the final 5 mistakes to avoid when building your brand.

In case you missed it, this is how you can define your brand purpose.

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