Branding Mistakes That Can Haunt You

October 29, 2020 by Andrew Woods

As we near the year’s most frightening holiday, Halloween, we thought it was the right time to focus on something scarier than any grotesque monster stalking the night: branding mistakes that come to haunt businesses. To help identify them and ways to avoid their consequences, we consulted with some of our more artistically-inclined Rollers.


Branding Mistake #1: Lack of Consistency

Inconsistent branding across different mediums is one of the most prevalent branding mistakes, seen in companies of all sizes. While seemingly innocuous to a business owner (“Who’s going to notice I used two different fonts on my sign and my staff uniforms?”), customers may become confused and view your company as less trustworthy. Individuals researching an entity online, for instance, use branding elements, including colors, names, and logos, to quickly identify brands in their search results.

To avoid this mistake, you will want to develop brand guidelines that address the following items. By doing so, your brand will make a great first impression, no matter where a customer finds you. Additionally, with omnichannel approaches to sales generating a 287% higher purchase rate than single-channel campaigns, business owners would be wise to address them sooner rather than later.

What Should Be Included in Your Brand Guidelines

  • Brand voice
  • Fonts
  • Logo use
  • Color palette
  • Naming conventions
  • Photo treatment
  • Communication do’s and don’ts
  • Hashtags for social media

Branding Mistake #2: Jumping on Color Trends

We live in an era of rapid consumption and disposability. The internet and social media have facilitated great things, like news traveling instantly. At the same speed that news travels, so do the latest design styles such as fonts, colors, and messaging. When creating your brand, be true to your brand’s mission and customer promise. Consider this example from Roller Chad Birenbaum:

Don’t choose colors based on your football team’s latest uniform design. As much as I love the Seattle Seahawks use of Steel Blue and Neon Green. The Steel Blue makes them look strong like a fleet of battleships, and the Neon Green makes them look as fast as lightning, but that doesn’t mean that color scheme is right for say a 100-year-old law firm or your neighborhood’s newest sandwich bistro meets cocktail bar pop-up.

Likewise, businesses can fail to examine the emotional impact of their color choices. Ever stop to think about why fast food chains use yellow and red as their brand’s color scheme and interior decor? Or why blue gets incorporated into brands like Facebook, Lowe’s, or GE? The selection of these colors is meant to communicate a specific emotion to people interacting with a brand. Forgoing careful consideration of color choices could result in people getting the wrong impression of your business and its values.

Instead of making color selection an afterthought or reactionary, take the time to research color, and realize how they can work in your favor to solidify your brand’s message and promise. There is plenty of information out there on colors and the psychology behind them. Do some research, and choose colors that best represent what your brand stands for, and who you want to buy into your brand. By doing this, you’ll be supporting your brand story, and staying true to your original vision. Below is a handy infographic to help get you started.

color emotion guide infographic
Source: Huffington Post

Branding Mistake #3: Not Considering Your Customers’ Feedback

Even with the best research and planning, your branding ultimately needs to resonate with customers. Fruit juice go-to, Tropicana, learned this lesson through the roll-out of their packaging redesign in 2009, which became a case study for many a branding industry publication. Rather than take into consideration buyers’ emotional investment in the original carton layout, the company opted for what it thought was a more modern, simplified aesthetic. Unfortunately, this blunder led to Tropicana fans criticizing the new look online and in time, “sales dropped by 20%; this spectacular decrease in sales represented a loss of 30 million dollars for Tropicana,” according to this 2015 The Branding Journal post.

Spare yourself this costly mistake by consulting with your end-user before sharing any new branding. In terms of how to do that, there are several approaches you can take depending on your business and prior efforts to connect with customers. A few include:

  • Develop a survey asking for feedback and sending it to your most engaged customers
  • Invite their feedback through a direct message or email
  • Schedule a video call to get their feedback in real-time
  • Conduct a social media poll
  • Run an A/B test through social media and Google Display ads or an email newsletter

Don't Scare Away Business with Bad BrandingLet Our Rollers Help

Don't Scare Away Business with Bad BrandingLet Our Rollers Help