Branding Fails: With these 6 mistakes you are sabotaging your brand

Branding Fails: With these 6 mistakes you are sabotaging your brand

Organizations are not perceived differently than people: They have a personality – the brand or brand. A lot can go wrong. We present you with six typical branding failures.

The term branding is used so often arbitrarily that it quickly appears as empty marketing speech. We want to briefly explain to you what we are talking about here. Branding means: You build up a brand as a figurehead for your company or product, with which you differentiate yourself as much as possible from your competitors. From serious to caring to fun-loving: You can define how your organization or your product comes across. You control this by associating the brand with positive messages and emotions – and of course it also wants to be cultivated.

This is where branding comes into play, i.e. the conscious design of the brand personality. If you neglect that, you leave the external perception to chance. And that’s not a good idea.

3 steps to a strong brand

When you develop a branding, you first need a clearly defined mission and vision – best formulated as short, catchy statements: What is your organization for?

Then it goes to the profile sharpening. The brand only becomes tangible through competitor analysis, the elaboration of your unique selling point and your target group. Even the storytelling should be already thought along in this step.

Only then does the design development of the brand begin. An individual corporate design makes your brand visually strong and combined with a cross-media identity you create long-term recognition value for your brand.

6 typical mistakes:

1. Everyone cooks their own soup

The person who runs the website designs new pages here and there and the social media team uses their own graphics and colors.


  • no long-term recognition value
  • no cross-media identity

The target groups perceive different personalities and are irritated.

Develop a user-friendly and as short as possible style guide in which the most important key data such as logo, colors and fonts for your brand are defined. It should be accessible to all employees.

2. Passing the target group

You want to appeal to teenagers, but the colors and design are deadly serious?

You may like your brand, but not the target group.

Tip: work
with your target group! Create personas and let them discuss various logo designs, for example. What appeals to you, what doesn’t? The most important thing is that the target group can identify with your brand.

3. “What is it about?”

The users are wondering what your project is about because they can’t figure out what the website is.

Topic, mission and vision are not yet clearly defined or are not communicated across media, not only in the logo, but also on the website and so on.

Let three to five people who correspond to the target group but are not familiar with your project look at your homepage for five to ten seconds. Then let them share their first thoughts with you. Do you understand what it’s about? If not, you should definitely sharpen your profile.

4. Your branding is not inclusive

People with disabilities cannot access, see or understand your content, or are otherwise excluded.


  • Color contrasts are too low and cannot be seen by people with visual impairments.
  • Oops! Your name or your tagline means something unwanted in another language – hopefully something good. 😉
  • Your name doesn’t work on an international level, because unfortunately nobody abroad can pronounce “Kreuzberger Getränkekombinat”. Therefore, from the start: Think big!
  • You are exclusive in your visual language or your wording, for example you do not use gender-sensitive language, photos without diversity and so on. This makes it difficult to address important target groups such as women, migrants and people with disabilities.

Make your content accessible to everyone, think differently and in this way do not inadvertently exclude anyone. To do that, of course, you need the right platforms with various stock photography. Free platforms like Pexels often only have a limited selection, but creative search queries can help!

5. Your branding is 08/15

Are you turning something into green energy and your website is green? The others do the same.

Those who stick to all conventions quickly become inconspicuous and arbitrary. You run the risk of constantly being confused with your competitors.

Create a recognition value for your brand and differentiate yourself from thematically similar projects. It is therefore helpful to do a detailed visual competitor analysis when developing your (re) branding.

6. The branding is too complex

You have a detailed logo, sophisticated storytelling and a super sophisticated corporate design – but new employees are overwhelmed by using it strictly … and the logo will not fit on the next leaflet either.


  • Too many or small-scale elements prevent recognition and limit usability. Anyone who uses many colors in the logo can prepare for expensive advertising material with four-color printing. Many details make it difficult to print on small areas, for example ballpoint pens.
  • If your corporate design manual is as thick as a dictionary, it will overwhelm your team.
  • Storytelling should always be engaging and contain certain elements such as a hero – but your story also has to be told in a few sentences.

Tip: In the
long term, think about all possible uses of the corporate design during development. Test and update your style guide regularly with the people who will use it later. Is it understandable and manageable?

Because good branding should be sustainable and, as is so often the case, here too: less is more.

Conclusion: Do your homework and ensure a good foundation!

With the development of corporate design basics, the ideas from your heads become reality: in the form of drafts of a logo, your tagline, design elements for your web project and the appropriate wording.

This gives your website, app , social media channels or print products an unmistakable look. And if you avoid the six branding failures, nobody will forget you any longer! 🙂


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