Top 10 Branding Challenges (2021 Update)

     

Published: May 10, 2021 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
Top 10 Branding Challenges

Creating a recognizable and relatable brand is an essential part of any marketing strategy. Your company’s or product’s branding is like a public image or persona, and getting it right means giving your consumers a shortcut to your company’s identity. In a single glance, your brand will communicate the values and characteristics of your products and services while nudging consumers to align themselves personally with your company.

Of course, building a brand isn’t easy. Here are the 10 most common branding challenges companies face.

1. Thinking You Don’t Need One

Small businesses often fall into the trap of thinking they don’t need to build a brand to succeed or stand out from their competitors. This idea usually comes from seeing the results of global mega-corporations and thinking that you need yours to perform on that level. Remember, the process is about giving your customers an image to identify and connect with, even if that’s a simple, friendly neighborhood ice-cream shop.

2. Seeking Short-Term Gain

Branding your business is not a short-term strategy or a quick fix, and expecting to see an immediate surge due to direct efforts will only end in frustration. Instead, think of it as a long-term engagement between your company and your customers, and the image should be a lasting impression that serves your marketing for the long term.

Think about some of the biggest brands in America: Coca-Cola, Nike, The Gap. Just mentioning these names probably calls to mind the logo, colors, and “feel” that each of these companies has worked hard to create—and keep.

3. Understanding the Brand as an Asset

An effective, established brand identity is a tremendous asset for any company, yet too many businesses see building a brand as a single activity or initiative. In other words, just another expense. The trouble with this view is that costs are constantly under scrutiny and first in line for trimming during budget planning.

There Are Many Branding Challenges, But One of the Biggest Is Understanding the Brand as an Asset.

That’s not to say that building a strong brand requires an unlimited, unchecked budget. Instead, avoid the temptation to use it to deliver short-term financial gains and focus on building this valuable asset for long-term returns.

4. Approaching Branding Proactively

In many cases, companies look to branding initiatives in reaction to an event. Sometimes, it’s a bit of negative press that needs to be overcome. In other cases, it’s in preparation for an upcoming event like a tradeshow. For it to be the most effective, it must be approached proactively and holistically to be there when you need it most and working hard behind the scenes between significant events.

5. No Brand Story

Storytelling is the heart of human existence. It enabled us to educate our children long before there were schools and how we passed down traditions from one generation to the next. Our brains are wired to process, remember, and retell stories, and we even tend to assemble facts into a story so we can remember them.

When it comes to your brand, a compelling story is a necessity. Who are you? What are your values? How do you make people’s lives better or easier? Without this story, your brand is nothing more than a logo design.

6. Keeping the Branding External

Bringing your messaging to the people who keep your company moving forward is an integral part of building a brand that lasts. Everyone who works for your company should not only know about the vision your company is creating, but also believe in it by weaving company culture and values into the messaging. The best branding will be inspirational to the people who run your company as well as those who support it with their purchasing.

One Of The Biggest Branding Challenges Is Thinking Branding Must Be Kept External.

7. Staying Relevant

Maintaining relevancy is critical to successfully build a brand. It can be tricky to stay in touch with different segments of your target audience while also maintaining a broader overall relevance to the whole group. To be effective, your branding must keep in touch with the needs of consumers, continually reinforce positive messaging while facing any negative responses, and maintain enough energy to keep customers energized.

8. Not Pushing the Brand Digitally

Publishing and posting on Facebook, Twitter, and other digital outlets is a great way to reach a diverse audience and maintain real-time contact with customers. On the other hand, if your digital channels are not supporting your branding efforts, the lack of consistency will affect your results. Make sure your online communications are in line with your overall branding strategy.

9. Maintaining Consistency

In order for branding to work, it has to be applied consistently across all of your digital and print assets. Your social media voice must match your print collateral voice, even if one is more casual and the other a bit more formal.

Think about how you may speak more formally in a meeting with clients and more casually working on a project with colleagues, for example. It also means that your visuals--color palette, fonts, logos--must be uniform across all platforms, and that your brand’s guidelines, story, and purpose are well understood by all public-facing employees.

10. Handling Negativity

No matter how hard we work to make each and every customer feel satisfied with their interactions and purchases, eventually, there will be a problem. In today’s world, those problems tend to be aired in public, often on social media or on review sites like Yelp or Google.

How your company handles complaints must be incorporated into your brand, and complaints must be handled in a way that makes the rest of your customers feel like you treated the unhappy person fairly and with respect. Never try to erase or hide any disgruntled customers--every business has them. Instead, use them as an opportunity to demonstrate your service abilities and solidify your branding as positive, even in an adverse circumstance.

Bringing it All Together

Assembling all the pieces necessary for a successful strategy can be tricky. In many cases, it can be helpful to work through the process methodically and create a brand book that contains all the elements of branding in one place. That way, everyone on the team will know exactly what to work towards to achieve the best results.

Remember, building a successful brand is a long-haul effort. It must be valued by everyone in the company and deployed consistently over time to be successful, but the results are worth the effort.


Categories: Branding
About the Author

Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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