Bad branding can be the worst version of iconic. The most recent example of this phenomenon is the disastrous M&M green and white logo.
It’s been said that a company’s brand is its DNA, but with so many generic companies out there now, what makes one stand out from another? The answer lies in having a great branding strategy. If you want to avoid the worst branding mistake of all time, follow these tips for bad branding:
- Make your logo stand out from the rest by utilizing complementary secondary colors or adding a touch of personality to it.
- Don’t create a logo that’s so trendy that it becomes quickly outdated.
- Don’t take a popular idea and make an exact copy of it. Those who follow you will expect more variety from you.
- Don’t decide on one main logo and then use various versions of the same design for different media or products. People are used to seeing consistency in big brands like Nike or Apple computers, but no one wants generic sameness from any brand they’re interested in. People want to associate with the logo they immediately recognize when they see it, but also want something fresh and exciting every time they engage with the brand. If you don’t give them what they want, someone else will. Brand consistency is a big issue right now, particularly in tech, so do not rely on one design for all your products and services.
- Don’t take an idea for granted. If it’s popular, something isn’t yet known about it. If everyone has an opinion about it already, you’ve likely just created the most generic of logos possible. Look at trends and social media to get a better feel for what people want and use social media to test logos. Rely on observations that you can make based on your experiences of sponsoring events like concerts or festivals, or by looking at ads in magazines or online that are similar to yours.
- Don’t rely on trademark law when designing your logo. Many people think they’re safe from being sued if they create a logo that closely resembles a famous brand’s, but that’s not always the case. If you choose to base your logo on an existing trademark, make sure it’s clear to you why that mark is protected.
- Don’t use stock photography or stock graphics in your designs. It’s best to create things from scratch and test them out on mock-ups before investing a lot of time into them. If you use stock imagery, people will immediately know that you’re not trying too hard with your design and notice how unoriginal it looks. Even worse is when you have a poor choice of images and expect everyone else to believe in the quality of your overall brand identity.
- Don’t be afraid to create the most generic logo imaginable if that’s what you’re going for. If you’re an international brand that’s been around for a long time, it’s perfectly acceptable to stay with your traditional, well-established design. If you want to stand out from the crowd with a new logo, do so in a unique way and avoid falling victim to the worst branding mistake of all time.
Bad brands fail to understand that their brand is not about their logo, but it’s about how they create memorable experiences with their consumers. The best brands are those who can make consistent experiences across all of their products and services, as well as clothing or merchandise bearing their logo. The worst brands fail to see this, but it will be their downfall.
In conclusion, you want to avoid the worst branding mistake of all time, but you also want a brand that stands out from the rest. How do you create both of these things? Through experimentation. If you’re not sure how to do this, talk to people with experience in branding and see what they have to say.
Interested in reading more about branding? Branding – Elements to Build Brand Identity discusses the aspects of branding that build brand identity.
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