7 Most Common Branding Mistakes eCommerce Businesses Should Avoid

Branding

No company has ever successfully established its brand by uploading an impressive logo and writing catchy phrases on social platforms. Building a brand identity requires an investment of a lot of time and effort. 

Of course, it doesn’t mean you won’t have your fair share of branding mistakes. That’s unavoidable. However, there are common mistakes that, as an eCommerce business, you should avoid at all costs. Here are seven eCommerce branding mistakes to avoid. 

1. Inconsistent brand identity

Your brand strategy needs to be consistent. It should reflect what the company does, resonate with your target audience, and align with your future business goals. When your brand is inconsistent, you confuse customers. That makes it difficult for your customers to establish that connection that leads to loyalty. 

There are various things you need to do to establish a consistent brand identity. First, and this is important for an established business, you need to understand audience perceptions of your brand.

Let’s take Colgate’s 1982 brand update, for example. Colgate released a line of branded entrees in the 80s called “Colgate Kitchen entrees” to expand its brand. 

Colgate
Source: Medium

Are you confused? You’re not alone.

The company thought the best way to expand was with frozen foods. But that was an epic failure, and here’s why: Colgate had a reputation as a popular toothpaste brand. 

Regardless of the brand’s good motives, moving into a new niche wasn’t consistent with perceptions of the brand. The entrees might have been delicious, but the problem was the branding inconsistency.

The customers felt the food didn’t match with the image the company had already established. 

Moral of the story? As much as possible, stay true to your niche and image.

2. Failure to establish a visual brand identity

Visual appearance means a lot in branding. This is particularly true for SaaS companies that rely heavily on visuals in addition to their SEO campaigns to stand out, which is why you might want to use a SaaS agency to support your campaigns. You want to create a clear visual brand identity. That serves two purposes:

  1. People who see content produced by your company instantly recognize associate the content with your company
  2. People have a consistent customer experience when engaging with your content across different channels—for example, going from Instagram to your website.

When creating a visual branding strategy, it’s good practice to do the following. First, you should select the types of fonts you will use across your marketing and sales materials. Most branding guidelines recommend using a maximum of two fonts.

Secondly, you should define your brand color scheme. Most branding guidelines recommend picking up to three colors to use in your branded content. Take Monday.com as an example.

Monday
Source

They’ve got three primary colors for their brand. Those colors are used on the website, in the UI of the software, and through social media.

Monday---Views

Where additional colors are used, they complement those three primary brand colors.

You’ll see most large companies with a considered visual branding strategy take this approach.

When selecting your brand colors, consider what would work best for your company.

Research shows that personal experiences, upbringings, preferences, context, and cultural differences affect the way individual colors have on us. So, the idea that colors like purple or yellow can excite some hyper-specific emotion is, well, incorrect. 

Color
Source: The Logo Company

For example, sometimes, green is used to brand environmental concerns like the Seventh Generation. Other times, too, it’s used to brand financial categories like Mint. 

Choose a primary color that feels right for your company. Then, use tools like a color wheel, for example, to select suitable colors that would work well with the one you selected. Once you’ve selected your brand colors and agreed on the brand palette, you need to use those colors consistently across your marketing and sales materials.

Putting a system in place to ensure you’re presenting a coherent visual brand to the world is vital. The larger the company, the more important it is to establish these visual guidelines. After all, if you have five different marketing teams in five countries, you want to ensure all of the content being created feels like it’s coming from the same company.

3. Failure to create a distinct brand voice

Consider how much marketing content you’re exposed to in your everyday life. I bet it’s a lot.

When you open social media, you are bombarded with marketing and sales messages. You get marketing material in your inbox, receive flyers on the street, and come across billboards as you drive around town.

It’s an awful lot of content. Unfortunately, most of the content fades into the background because it’s just not memorable. That’s a problem!

To overcome this problem, you need to establish a distinct brand tone. When you have a brand voice, your content suddenly becomes more memorable.

Let’s take AppSumo as an example. The company is operating in a niche with several established firms. Lots of companies offer discounts on software, and many also offer lifetime deals. Yet, the brand stands out for two reasons:

  1. They almost only offer lifetime deals. Many other companies also offer lifetime deals amongst other special offers.
  2. They have a distinct brand voice that makes them stand out from the indistinct corporate crowd.

Let me show you what I mean. Here’s an email marketing example that appeared in my inbox.

Plutio

The copy is humorous and informal, which follows good copywriting best practices. The woman featured in the video has lots of tattoos.

Both of these things reflect the brand voice the company is communicating to its audience. 

The approach AppSumo has taken probably won’t work for your business. That’s fine. Still, you need to figure out how to make the content you’re producing stand out from what your competitors are doing.

4. Provide insufficient training to employees

Many eCommerce businesses fail to provide sufficient employee training, and that’s quite unfortunate. Your workers are the face of your company. 

We will, of course, make mistakes. However, the chance of an untrained employee making a mistake is a lot higher. That’s a problem because a simple tweet can cause a company’s reputation to plummet. Sometimes those mistakes cost millions of dollar losses.  

A good example is the American Apparel debacle. The company posted a photo of the Challenger space shuttle that exploded in midair on the Fourth of July celebration. 

American-Apparel
Source: Mashable

The social media manager wasn’t born when the event took place. They mistook the explosion for fireworks or clouds.

Of course, the company received massive negative feedback. 

Any mistakes you make as a company will stay for a long time on the internet. But you can avoid all these with adequate training. You can mitigate those risks further by establishing standard operating plans for your business before an intern publishes a tweet, for example. 

5. Marketing materials that are out of date

Outdated marketing materials are probably one of the most common branding mistakes today. Your customers are busy, and they’ll judge a book by its cover regarding your business. 

So, if your marketing materials look old, potential customers won’t bother to learn more. It’s more likely that they’ll pick your competitor who has fresher and current branding instead. When you’re comfortable with your old marketing materials, it shows you don’t care about gaining a competitive edge. 

Things change quickly in business, and you may have to change your services to keep up with the trends. But is it worth the expense and hassle? Absolutely yes. 

Your marketing material is your brand extension, and your brand is something you’ve worked hard to grow. Who would want to lose something they’ve worked hard for, especially when it’s yielding good results? 

6. Ignoring the customer’s experience

Poor customer experience can hugely affect your business. According to Gartner, 64% of consumers think customer experience is more relevant than their brand choice. The amount of loss in terms of sales can be mind-blowing. VisionCritical estimates the total impact of bad customer experiences in the U.S. is over $537 billion. 

Therefore, you need to create conversations with your customers, unite all the departments to increase collaborations, and provide adequate customer support. Include live chat, ensure your website loads quickly, and provide a mobile-friendly experience.

7. Failing to niche down

When your customer is anyone with a pulse, your business rarely grows. Going too broad with your audience is a mistake. It’s generally a better idea in business to try and appeal to a distinct demographic.

When you know who you are targeting, you can talk in terms that matter to this customer base by addressing their pain points and concerns. That will help you create an engaged audience.

The approach requires careful positioning, though.

First, you need to define your target audience and create a customer persona. For example, if you are a SaaS marketing consultant, you might want to identify your key demographic. Position yourself as an expert and then create marketing and sales content that targets the specific pain points of your target audience- SaaS companies. 

Having a clear audience to target will always improve the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts. It will also make it easier to align your brand with a set of values.

Bottom Line

Building a real brand identity is hard. You can’t just write the first word that comes to mind, draw the first thing you think of, and say those are your business name and your logo. To create a brand identity, you need to invest time and effort.

In this article, we looked at seven branding mistakes ecommerce businesses like yours should avoid. Don’t be inconsistent, create a strong visual brand, establish and brand voice, provoide training to employees and be clear about your target market.

Avoid these common mistakes, and you’ll build a strong brand identity for your eCommerce business. When that happens, you’ll propel your business to even greater heights. 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here