Branding mistakes causing a business owner to get frustrated

Stop Killing Your Brand! Fix These 5 Branding Mistakes Today

Justin Lynch
Justin Lynch

Brand Strategist & Co-Founder

Is Your Brand At Risk?

Branding mistakes can cause a lot of adverse effects on your business. Since brand building is often overlooked by businesses, many are unaware that they are sabotaging their own brand.

If your business has not properly built its brand, it’s likely you are committing one, if not more, of these mistakes. So, if you’ve struggled to attract and retain customers, fix these 5 branding mistakes to get your brand back on track.

Branding Mistake 1: No Brand Purpose

It’s the classic existential question, “Why am I am here?”

While you may struggle with that question your entire life, your brand shouldn’t have to. In order for your brand to thrive, it needs an immediate and clear purpose for existing in the marketplace.

The reason for this is simple — if you can’t articulate why your brand exist, no one else will be able to either.

The best part is your brand’s purpose doesn’t have to be ground breaking or controversial. In the end, simple is better.

If you need help finding and articulating your brand’s purpose, make sure to read our article about the brand building process.

Action Item:

Document your brand’s purpose and make sure everyone in your organization knows what it is.

P.S. “To make money” is not a brand purpose. Every business needs money to survive. So, it’s always assumed your business is trying to find ways to bring in revenue. Instead, focus your purpose on how it impacts the customers you serve.

Branding Mistake 2: Unclear Value Proposition

Why is it important to have a clear brand value proposition? For starters, over 64,000 new businesses are started every month in the US!

Even though many of those businesses will fail, it still means there is a lot of new competitors entering the market every day.

This constant influx can overwhelm customers. And when customers get overwhelmed they do one of two things:

  • They buy from brands they’re familiar with
  • They buy from brands who have a clear value proposition

When a customer defaults to buying from companies they’re familiar with, there is little you can do to change their mind at that moment — that is why brand building is essential. With proper brand building, you can become the default choice for a customer. But, that takes a lot of time and proper brand management, so it’s likely your brand is not at that stage yet.


Start the process today of becoming the default choice for customers. Branding building takes time so there is no time to waste. Begin by registering for your complimentary Brand Audit.

Luckily it doesn’t take as much work to attract customers looking for brands with clear value propositions. With some tweaks to your brand’s messaging you can start to attract those customers right away.

You already know the incredible impact you make on your customers’ lives. Now you have tweak how you present that information.

A common branding mistake is that most brands focus on the product/service itself. They talk about how great it is, what makes it unique, etc.

While customers may care about the product/service itself, they ultimately buy because of the promised transformation.

Brand Value Proposition chart showing how you need to stop selling your product or service and instead sell the customer transformation

By shifting your brand’s message to focus on the transformation, rather than the product/service itself, your brand becomes more attractive to customers.

Action Item:

Create your brand’s value proposition. Make sure it focuses on the transformation, not the product/service itself.

Branding Mistake 3: Attracting the Wrong Customers

Having customers is great, but not all customers are equal. For example, some customers will spend more than others.

In the end, you’re looking for customers who have these three traits:

  • Spend a lot of money
  • Easy to work with
  • Advocate for your brand

At Avlier, we call this the Target Customer Sweet Spot.

Target Audience Venn Diagram Infographic

It’s important that your brand attracts the right type of customers. This requires you to adjust your brand so it resonates with your ideal customers.

To do that, think about your customers who fall into the Target Customer Sweet Spot, and answer the following questions:

  • What motivates them to buy products/services like yours?
  • What are they struggling with that you can help them with?
  • What type of transformation are they looking to see in their lives?

Action Item:

Define who your ideal customer is and adjust your brand so it will resonate with those customers.

Branding Mistake 4: The Customer Is Not the Focus

As a brand, it’s tempting to make yourself and the products/services you offer the center of attention. The more attention you can generate the more people will know about your brand, right?

Actually the opposite is true. The more you talk about the customer and the change they’re going to experience the more your brand grows. It sounds counterproductive and paradoxical, but it’s a proven framework (as evidence by the Storybrand program).

Here’s a quick strategy to determine if you’re focusing more on yourself or on your customers?

Do a quick glance of your website’s copy and write down how many times you use the following words from Group 1:

  • Us
  • Our

Then go through your website’s copy again and write down how many times you use the following words from Group 2:

  • You
  • Your

NOTE: An easy way to do this search is to use the search feature of your browser (command + f on a mac, control + f on windows). Type in the term and note how many times it shows up. For words like ‘Our’ make sure to put a space in front of the word. This will prevent the search from picking up words that contain those letters, such as ‘Hour’.

After you’ve done this, you can see which of the two groups is being emphasized more.

For reference (at the time of being published), this blog post contains 1 usage of the words from the Group 1 and 83 usages of the words from Group 2.

This lets you know who the main character of this post is — it’s you, not me. As the author, I’m simply here to help guide you through the process of fixing your brand building mistakes.

If you find your brand talking more about you instead of your customers, it’s time to rewrite your copy.

There are a lot of strategies for writing compelling copy. However, changing the focus to your customers will give you the biggest, most immediate impact.

Action Item:

Review your copy and rewrite it if your brand is talking more about you then your customers.

Branding Mistake 5: Inconsistent Messaging

Every element of your brand, from the visuals to your marketing copy, is conveying a message. Those messages are then interpreted by customers, which becomes the basis of their opinion of your brand.

Once a customer has formulated an opinion of your brand it’s hard to change it.

Brand messaging is created from two sources — the conscious and subconscious.

Conscious Messaging

Your brand creates conscious messaging from elements that a customer is aware of at all times. For example:

  • Logo
  • Marketing Copy
  • Customer Service

Each of these elements are easily understood and expressed by a customer. For example, a customer can describe an experience they had with your brand and they can articulate why they feel that way about the experience.

Inconsistent conscious messaging happens because of small changes to the brand over time. These changes happen slowly, so many brand’s don’t notice the inconsistencies as the pile up.

Keeping your conscious messaging consistent is an ongoing process and requires constant course corrections.

Subconscious Messaging

Your brand’s subconscious messaging is the more impactful of the two messaging types. Luckily once you’ve fixed your subconscious messaging, you won’t need to worry about it for a long time.

The elements of your brand that affect your subconscious messaging are:

  • Typography
  • Color Palette
  • Visual Elements (ex. horizontal lines convey a different message than diagonal lines)

These elements all carry associations with them. Often times customers are unaware of the associations they have with colors and other visual elements.  This means customers start formulating an opinion of your brand without understanding why they have that opinion.

If you’ve ever heard someone say, “I hate this, but I don’t know why” it’s because they’re affected on a subconscious level.

Fixing inconsistencies in your subconscious messaging is a long process. We suggest reading through this brand building process article and then sign up for a Brand Audit to help you start identifying these inconsistencies.

Action Item:

Sign up for a complimentary Brand Audit so you can learn where your inconsistencies are.