October 19, 2016
Your brand is the most valuable aspect of your business, and unfortunately, it’s also the most fragile. With every business in the world possess an online presence, a single click can ruin your reputation faster than any negative review.
Fortunately, major branding mistakes that can easily be avoided. Years of hard work on a brand can be wiped out in a single day, so be cautious of these top branding mistakes that can result in major setbacks or even brand death.
Forgetting to Trademark
Countless brand owners never register their trademark, and many often fail to defend their trademarked brand. As soon as you create a brand, file a record of the trademark itself under your name with the right government offices.
Deal with every single infraction of your brand use guidelines and any possible violation of your trademark. If you don’t, you may lose the chance to take any action at all. The point of your trademark is to protect your brand reputation, and keep the competition from copying your work or diluting your brand value. Make sure it does that by addressing infractions.
Not Searching Google
Careful research helps you choose the kind of name, look, voice, logo and website that will appeal to your ideal customer. It also offers you the best protection against infringing on the intellectual property rights of others, like choosing a logo that infringes on an existing trademark or copyright).
Use Google for your research, and when it comes to choosing names, domains, and other branding elements, also search visitcopyright.gov before you make permanent branding decisions.
Choosing a Bad Domain Name
Coming up with a good domain name is half the battle of running an online company. Hundreds of hours have been spent picking domain names for thousands of companies and clients.
First, make sure you get a good domain name extension. The most popular right now are “.com” and “.co” for general business. But there are many new options out there. There is nothing wrong with picking an industry-specific or even country-specific domain. In general, avoid dashes or numbers in your domain name, and make sure it’s easy to spell. You can also check for similar social media profile URLs.
Picking an Already Popular Name
This is a sign of major research and preparation failure. You need to know what came before your brand that could possibly hurt it. Don’t risk naming your brand only to find out later that the name has some seriously negative online history (even if it’s totally unrelated).
Don’t forget, a name that’s too close for comfort may be infringing. Imagine building up your business for 10 years only to find out that you are no longer able to use that name.
Randomly Choosing Style Features
Know the meaning of the colors before selecting them. The graphics and visuals that represent your brand evoke an emotional response in clients and potential customers.
Choosing colors, images and other visuals that just don’t work with what you’re doing can dead-end your branding strategy. For example, pink may be your favorite color, but it may work against your new software brand.
Not Checking Cultural Significance of the Name
Your name dictates a lot about your company. And if you don’t check for every reiteration, reference, stigma, or foreign swear word that could be associated with your name, you could end up in hot water with more than your home country.
Content can go viral in hours, so don’t set yourself up for an embarrassing failure in the cultural awareness department. Make sure to review how your name is interpreted in all the major countries you will be doing business in.
This article is courtesy of BusinessCollective, featuring thought leadership content by ambitious young entrepreneurs, executives & small business owners.
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