Fresh eyes

Five pitfalls to avoid when developing a brand

five pitfalls to avoid when making a brand
Samit Nayi Freshfield Head of Design headshot

Published by Samit Nayi,
Lead Designer at Freshfield

Brand development is about much more than picking a corporate logo, typeface and colour palette.

It’s about projecting the personality, tone of voice, and aspirations of your business, while understanding how they will impact on your corporate identity, office design and marketing collateral.

So it’s important that you take on board a number of key ideas when developing or refreshing your brand. All too often though, mistakes happen along the way, including:

Ignoring the customer perspective

Brand development is about aspiration, but to move forwards you need an objective appraisal of where you’re at as a business. Don’t kid yourself that you ‘instinctively’ know what your customers want. If you want a realistic perspective on your strengths and weaknesses, ask them for their honest views.

Not bringing staff along with you

You need your people to ‘live’ and project the brand in their day-to-day activities. This is particularly relevant to sectors such as professional and financial services. To fully engage your people you should involve them in the process of developing and signing off the brand identity – because only your staff can deliver it on the ground.

Not ‘comparing the market’

In sectors with a lot of competitors it’s even more critical that your brand stands out from the crowd. But there’s a fine balance between allowing your business to be confused with a competitor, and being so ‘off the wall’ that it isn’t clear what market you’re in. Ultimately it’s your call, although ‘recognisable but distinctive’ are helpful watchwords.

Ignoring the digital brand

Given the ever-growing importance of digital marketing, it is vital that your brand identity works through both your online and offline communications. For example, foil-printed logos don’t work online. Just as importantly, while you may pride yourself on being ‘friendly and approachable’ you will give a rather different impression if your website doesn’t clearly set out how to get in touch with you.

Design by committee

Inevitably, many people will have an input into the brand development process. But, while this is necessary and desirable, you must keep in mind that you can’t be all things to all people. Design is incredibly subjective and it is easy to become bland or miss the point altogether by trying to get to a visual identity that everyone is comfortable with. So remember that leadership is about taking input, then making a decision that works best for the business.

To find out how our specialists can help you to develop an effective brand strategy, contact us on 01772 888400 or

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