How Local Businesses Fail to Develop a Brand

Photo of author

( — June 5, 2020) —

Whenever a new local business launches, the first thing the owners need to work on is establishing their brand. If you’re opening a new business, then keep in mind that all the most well-known businesses in your community started from scratch just like your own. They had to build their reputation and their brand through years of hard work, dedication, and effective strategizing. The businesses that failed to develop their brand are those that aren’t around anymore, having gone out of business after a year or two of floundering. What did these businesses do wrong? What did their failures consist of? Here are five key ways in which local businesses often fail to develop their brand.

Mistake #1: Not Buying Any Print Advertising

In the modern technological era, print advertising seems too old fashioned for some business owners. This type of thinking is a big mistake. In reality, print advertising is an effective method for reaching out to a community, especially in the first few years of an operation. When a business first starts out, it is important to remember that nobody even knows the business exists. Print advertising is a great way to get the word out there. Businesses that think they’re too tech-savvy or hip for print advertising are often shooting themselves in the foot.

Mistake #2: Having Confusing Branding/ Privileging Cleverness over Clarity

The last thing a business should do with their branding is confuse or mislead their potential customers about the nature of their goods and services. Businesses with confusing branding are failing to relay the most essential piece of information they need to give to consumers: what their business is all about. Confusion is often a result of prioritizing cleverness over clarity in branding. Some owners seem to think they’re taking part in an art project instead of building a platform for their business. Rhymes, alliteration and catchiness aren’t nearly as important as getting a simple, straightforward message across. An auto repair shop should call itself an auto repair shop, not a “tender, slender fender mender.”

Mistake #3: Being Unnecessarily Edgy

Sometimes going out on the edge can pay off, but more often than not it backfires. Profane or vulgar language might, if packaged right, be amusing to some consumers, but it is likely to offend many more. References to licentiousness or drunkenness are also a bad idea. Businesses should remember that they’re trying to cast a wide net. Naming your bait shop “The Master Baiter” is a bad idea, no matter how masterfully the bait is sold or how appreciative of the joke some anglers might be.

Mistake #4: Not Getting Employees on Board

If a business has employees who interact with the public, then it is essential that they are on board with the general spirit of the branding. A restaurant looking to be refined and elegant can’t have its servers speaking in edgy, informal language. A barbecue joint meant to be a popular hangout, meanwhile, is harmed by a server who puts on airs. This problem might be most noticeable in the restaurant business, but it happens in all sorts of establishments. A business that sells itself as one thing but whose employees represent it as another will only annoy a potential customer base.

Mistake #5: Having Indistinct Visuals

You want your visuals to be clear, but you also want them to be distinct. If your logo looks exactly like your main competitor’s, then you’re not trying hard enough.

This list represents all the ways businesses tend to go wrong in their effort to establish their brand. If you’re the owner of a new small business, it is on you to learn from their mistakes. Take these lessons to heart, and develop an effective branding strategy to create a business with staying power. After a years of effective strategizing, your business could be a linchpin of your local community.