Having a consistent, trustworthy, and strong brand for your business is a good thing; no one will argue with you about that. However, there is such a thing as being too in-your-face about your brand and what you represent. There is also such a thing as not being branded enough! It’s a delicate balance that we must all walk along as business owners, but some fail harder than others and most of the time it comes down to not having enough awareness of customers.
This, in turn, brings us to over-branding or lack thereof. While we acknowledge that we are upfront about our services, not everyone is or they really are confused as how best to say “We have a business! Come buy our stuff!” without driving away customers. It’s these business owners we’re looking to help out today. If you’re not sure if you’re over-branding your business or not branding enough, here are the biggest telltale signs of it and what you can do to change your approach.
Sign 1: No One’s Engaging with Your Content
The content you create for both your website and your marketing campaigns should allow you to engage with your audience. If no one is engaging with the content, or you have none to contribute—or even worse, your content gets a lot of negative feedback—then either you’re not promoting enough, or you’re overdoing it.
Here are some other serious signs of overdoing the branding in your content, according to Killer Infographics:
- Your brand name appears too many times in an article, case study, etc.
- You use stats without using credible sources or any sources at all
- Your content isn’t being made with the customer in mind
- Your content isn’t being responded to or engaging with your customers
- Your brand name could be switched out for another name too easily (more on that later)
Going back to the balance aspect of branding, the content you create should align with your brand also. That means if you’re more B2B and professional, then write your content as such, rather than casual. If your brand aligns more with the casual side, then go for that tone of voice. (In our case, we’d like to think we’re professional but also approachable—let us know if we’re doing it right!)
Sign 2: The Customers are Complaining, Not Complimenting
Something that seems to be forgotten about when it comes to online marketing is that customers are people just like we are. Those aren’t just numbers or metrics visiting your website, nor are those always spam bots leaving comments—the majority is real people trying to find something they’re looking for.
So if you’re seeing a lot more complaints from customers, there is usually a good reason for it. Have you ever thought about…you know…reading those comments or complaints? Or even listening and responding to them? If your immediate answer is ‘no’, there you go. Customers don’t want to feel ignored; they want to feel acknowledged and like they’re being heard. Even if their complaints are negative, if they sound similar in terms of what they’re complaining about, it’s high time you listened to them. They could be telling you something important about how you’re running your business, or how your brand is being represented.
Sign 3: Neither You Nor Your Staff Have a Clear Vision
By clear vision we mean why you’re in the business you are in currently. If you have no idea, or you’re the only one clear on your business’s values but your staff isn’t, you need to have a serious conversation with them ASAP. If you can’t explain clearly where your business’s values lie to your own employees, then how are you going to explain it to customers?
Also, the types of values your brand reflects will determine what kind of business your customers will see first and foremost. This is bad news if profit is the name of the game for your business; if you treat your business as such, people will notice and distrust you. While profit is important, in reality it really should be about the people you help and serve that’s of value to your business before the profit being made.
That’s how certain brands stand out over others. If that value is lacking, you’ve got a weak brand on your hands.
Sign 4: Explaining Your Brand is Confusing and Complex
This point is connected to your brand’s values, or lack thereof in some cases. If explaining your brand to someone consists of over 10 pages worth of words, or a spiel that lasts over one minute, your brand is in serious need of help. The best brand should be straightforward and actionable; for example, “We sell the best ice cream because we use real cream with no processed ingredients or artificial sweeteners. To us, our customers are family, because we are a family.”
This is just an example, but try to look at your business from this angle. What is it about your business that works? What doesn’t work? How are you any different from stores A, B, C, and F? If you can’t answer those questions properly, then your business unfortunately applies to the final sign:
Sign 5: You’re Not Unique
Do us a favour: try examining your website and see if you can spot the difference between yours and Steve’s from down the street. Does the content read as if you could swap names at any given moment? If so, you’re not unique in your customers’ eyes. Maybe Steve is more upfront about where he stands in his values, or he offers a more expensive product but with better quality.
Whatever the case, you may want to stop envying Steve for a minute and try to think about what you have to offer. Are your products cheaper? Does what you’re selling have features that Steve doesn’t have? Do you go the extra mile in your services? If you really have no answer, then it’s about time to reconsider your brand (this post full of branding questions may be of help, too!).
The most important thing to keep in mind is that over-branding or not branding enough is the result of a sense of balance lost when it comes to promoting your business. It’s tough! You need to know when you’re doing well with your customers, and sometimes you just don’t get the response you need. The best type of branding is created, not simply born. That’s why rebranding can and should happen, especially if any of these signs are present.
So, are we being too overwhelming for you? Or do you need some serious help with your brand, or your website where most of your branding exists? If so, give us a shout at V3 Media. We’re not just about building websites—we’re all about building a website that reflects your brand at its best.