5 big branding mistakes to avoid

Established brands can't rest on their laurels – they have to create an honest connection with customers.

Branding mistakes to avoid

Steer clear of these big branding pitfalls

The arrival of social media and new digital channels have transformed branding. But when it comes to connecting a brand with customers, there are still fundamental mistakes an art director needs to steer clear of. Here an expert team of creative directors share their thoughts on what brands should avoid at all costs.

01. Demographics not mindset

"You see brands isolating groups of people based on a demographic, whereas actually a huge breadth of people now buy products based on mindset, cutting across all that," says The Future Laboratory's Kirsty Minns.

02. Overuse of 'heritage'

Relying on a brand's heritage is lazy, says Minns. "It's better to find something that feels more truthful and appropriate. Being 'authentic' isn't an excuse for not having original ideas."

03. Global blinkers

"[Despite branding being] so international these days, you always need to be aware of local sensitivities," explains Studio Sutherl&'s Jim Sutherland. "A one-size-fits-all, global look means you're not really understanding the people you're talking to in those countries."

04. Bland brands

"There's a lot more branding going on than there was perhaps five or ten years ago, but most of it is very bland and uninspiring," says Sutherland. "When I'm judging design competitions, you do wonder why some projects have been entered."

05. Cod psychology

"One of the problems with people talking about branding is that they talk about the wrong things," says Sutherland. "Like, 'we did it yellow because it reflects positivity.' No, it doesn't. It's yellow."

This article was originally published in Computer Arts magazine issue 252.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.

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