4 common branding mistakes that repel clients

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Ever wondered if your making mistakes that repel clients?

Before we dive into the mistakes, there’s something I’d like to explain first, so it all makes sense:

What always repels clients is the opposite of the irresistible brand.

 

What makes your brand irresistible

Let me ask you a question: when was the last time you found an offer irresistible?

Something that was so perfect for you at the time you couldn’t resist buying it?

Can you remind yourself of that feeling?

Why was it irresistible?

What made it so perfectly suited for you?

What thoughts were in your head?

Seth Godin once said:

We make decisions instantaneously and then bend over backwards to defend them”.

Is that what you experienced when you found an irresistible brand too?

I know I did, many times.

For me, the brand is irresistible when it understands me very well and speaks to my deepest desires. It’s when I feel like they KNOW me so well and their offer is just what I need at the time. Then of course I will be checking if the logistics suit me too: the price, the packaging, the delivery, the location (if it’s a service).

What repels clients usually is a lack of these things.

I mentioned it “understands my needs”, “deepest desires” and “perfectly suited to me at a time” but also the “logistics” like the “price, location, packaging” for a reason.

If your brand doesn’t feel like that, it’s usually what repels your clients.

 

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

 

The #1 BIG mistake that really affects your brand is INCONSISTENCY.

I know a lot of you struggle with consistency.

The thing about consistency is that it’s not just visuals, though.

Consistency is regularity, it’s the alignment of your message to your services or products, it’s following your brand’s WHY.

The CONSISTENCY problem actually means a few things: your actions, offers and products are not consistent with your WHY and positioning, your visuals, and so on.

This is a very common mistake where brands have a mission and vision for their brand, but then what they do or what they offer doesn’t match that. This is where brands do things like:

 

 

Offering products or services that are not aligned with their mission:

I had a client once who is a business coach and wanted to work with leaders, confident CEO’s who are ready to really step up and take charge of their business, but need someone to support them, guide them and helps them do the work they know they need to do.
To help them show up on a different level.

This type of brand is clearly a Ruler because a Ruler archetype is all about taking control, taking charge and becoming a leader.

 

My client’s offers were completely not aligned with her ideal client and her brand’s true mission though.
They were too basic, not geared towards the actual “becoming” of a leader and “taking charge”.
They were too short, offered too little support and had too much hand-holding.

 

It’s important to mention that if you’re working with clients who have the Ruler Archetype activated (so the need for taking charge activates), they don’t like to be patronised, they don’t like hand-holding. They are ready for action and expect their guide to be a strong leader themselves.
My client’s bad positioning resulted in her attracting clients who were just getting started, required a lot of hand-holding and most importantly: didn’t take action on the steps she worked out with them. They constantly had excuses and didn’t do the work because they were just not ready. It wasn’t a program for them!

 

She attracted people from other archetypes and really struggled with growing her business because these people just weren’t buying, or even if they did buy, they were a nightmare to work with and didn’t get the results they could.
That’s why if you DO find yourself making that mistake to FIX it’s crucial you do this one thing: understand what really is the #1 desire of your client (it’s the same as your base Archetype!) and make sure your products or services are perfect for them!

If your brand is a Ruler– you will attract strong leaders who are READY to take charge.

 

If your brand is a Magician – you will attract people who desire transformation: make sure your products or services truly offer that.

If your brand is a Lover– you will attract people who want intimacy, intimate moments, better relationships, feel loved and important.

And if your brand is a Creator– your audience wants to express themselves through your product or services. So whether you offer jewellery or a designer – in both cases your clients want to express their true style, make their vision a reality. Focus on that.

 

So I do invite you to go and take a deep look at your products and services and see if they really are consistent with what you’re trying to make your brand known for.

 

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

Price too low or too high.

This is such a common mistake! And I truly understand why brands make it, I truly do, because I used to make it too.
There are really big consequences of that though.
What really happens when you lower your prices?

You repel customers.

 

Let me paint this picture for you:

Imagine a situation where you’d like to buy your sister a gift.

You go to Pinterest, browse “gift ideas for sister” and find this beautiful necklace. You do some digging and see that a few online boutiques offer the same necklace.

Then, after looking around, you narrow your search down to 2 of them and one has it for $25 and their website and product photography is meh (a.k.a. nothing fancy), and then the other one has custom made, stunning photography, a really good description of all the benefits of the product (like that it is hand-made, and you can engrave it with your sister’s name) and it costs $185.

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid
Let me ask you…knowing you love your sister and want her to be happy with her gift, which option would you go with?

$25 or $185?
I can safely assume your answer was: the latter.

READ ALSO:  How to STOP undercharging even if competitors do

stop undercharging even if your competitors do

 

 

Here’s why:

We, humans, evolve to make quick judgments to save ourselves time and be able to do other things. We simply can’t afford to waste time assessing every situation from every possible angle.
It’s what allowed us to evolve and form civilisations: having time to be creative and do stuff that pushes us forward.

 

One of the mental shortcuts we developed as species is this: when something is expensive we think it must be of better quality.

It’s as simple as that.

Of course, we do our research and often it turns out not to be the case, BUT most of the time, when a brand positions her products as high quality, yet the price is low, we can’t help ourselves but think: “what’s wrong here”?

And since most of the time more expensive stuff ARE better quality, just to be safe we buy a gift our sister will actually love and won’t embarrass us, we will go with the more expensive option.

In this case, you’d REPEL your clients by your low price.

 

But here’s what’s important: We can go the other way around too.
If your prices are high but the product doesn’t seem valuable enough, or the presentation is not too good, you’ll repel clients because they will see the glitch: product and presentation seems low quality, yet the price is high.

That’s why it’s important to elevate the whole brand, not just the visuals or prices.

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

Your brand voice and messaging are not consistent with your positioning, offers and your brand personality

Remember the business coach client I told you about earlier?

She wanted to work with leaders but had programs geared towards a different audience that rulers didn’t find appealing and struggled to grow her business.
Actually, she was attracting the wrong type of client because her messaging was all off.

She was very scared of the word “control“, it had bad connotations in her mind, she felt like it’s forceful and rigid.

Well, if you think so too it simply means you’re not her ideal audience though.

See, Rulers are craving control. Those are people who are so fed up with the mess around, with the fact they don’t have a clear plan, they don’t know how to step up but really want it… the word “control” is like music to their ears!
Think of Elsa from Frozen, because she’s an embodiment of a Ruler archetype and the ideal audience of our business coach.
She has this gift that feels like a curse and this huge kingdom to rule.

Instead of stepping up and being a leader her people need her to be she’s hiding.

She would LOVE to become the leader she’s meant to be but she can’t because she can’t control her gift.
If she had a guide who’d tell her “I will teach you to control your gift and become a strong leader you’re meant to be” she’d probably be thrilled, don’t you agree?

Our business coach was afraid of this word and therefore didn’t step up to be a leader her ideal clients needed her to be for them too, though.

She was too gentle, too delicate, too fearful – she was attracting people who needed a lot of hand-holding, motivation, accountability…This is something totally opposite to the Ruler archetype.
So when we were working together it became clear that there was this big inconsistency between her messaging and her positioning: her message was attracting the wrong people!

Feel like you’re attracting the wrong people to your brand too? Don’t worry, it’s fixable.

Just go back to your Brand Archetype because it’s consistent with the MAIN desire of your customers.
Go back to the archetype and understand its true desire, true purpose: what do your clients and customers want?

And then look at your messaging: are you speaking to them? To their desires? Assessing your brand like this is HUGE!

You can survey your audience and ask how they see your brand, what do they think its main purpose is? You will be surprised what you can often find out!
Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

Your visuals, messaging, copywriting and website are not consistent with your positioning and your brand personality.

We have recently finished working with a jewellery brand, ZERA. When they came to us they wanted to elevate their brand because they felt like their visuals do not represent the kind of quality they want their brand to be associated with.  (Do you feel like that about your brand? Let me know in the comments.)

Before redesigning their website, logo and anything else, the first thing we did was to figure out their brand archetype and therefore their brand personality.

We assessed their current positioning, messaging, copywriting, visuals and website and we noticed that it is NOT consistent with what they were trying to be perceived as they wanted to be a luxe brand and attract premium customers who want to buy high-quality products and treat themselves.
So we created their new strategy that will attract the right type of customer and elevate their brand positioning and we’ve:

  • redesigned their brand identity,
  • did a few photoshoots for them with them: product photos. products lifestyle photos and product MODEL photos, and brand photoshoot for the founder, Ezera Ira and her team,
  • we created a brand video for them,
  • we wrote copy for their website, newsletters and product descriptions,
  • we organised their products into collections and named them according to their brand personality and vibe: we have chosen female names like Adelina, Roselyn and Desiree
  • We redesigned their packaging,
  • we totally redesigned their website so it showed curated collections and helped create a feeling of being in a boutique and getting personal attention,
  • we helped them create a new marketing strategy for their socials and content so they can show up in an elevated way.

 

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

ZERA Brand Elevation. Read Case Study

Once we did that, their conversion rate jumped by a staggering 105%! Clearly, people were more likely to buy from them, which means their brand became irresistible to more people.

 

The #2 branding mistake people make that repel their clients and customers is….not actually having a brand.

There is this common misconception that a brand is a logo, set of colours and fonts and maybe a photography style. But actually, this is JUST the tip of the iceberg.
This is just the visual representation of your brand. 

Just like YOU are not your today’s outfit or even your personal style, your brand is NOT your brand identity – so the visuals, logo, fonts or even photography.
Many brands only invest in brand identity – design – thinking that’s enough for them to create a brand. This is due to a lot of misconceptions within the branding and design industry: there are many designers offering “brand design” and “brand strategy” but it’s very limited and shallow and doesn’t really create a brand.

So to figure out if you may be struggling with that, I’ve got a few questions for you to answer.
Do you feel like your brand looks great but:

  • you’re not sure why you have chosen these specific colour theme for your brand,
  • you don’t know how to show up as your brand and build a community around your brand,
  • you struggle to make sales,
  • you’re not sure how to attract clients
  • you don’t know what makes you unique,
  • you don’t know what are your clients biggest desires
  • you are not sure what to do to make your brand be perceived the way you do, to be known for something and attract people to your brand?

 

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you will definitely benefit from a deep dive into your brand strategy.
READ ALSO:  5 steps to elevate a brand with our signature A.D.O.R.E.™ formula

The brand strategy will help you figure out:

  • what is your brand personality,
  • what should your brand voice be,
  • how you should be speaking about your products or services,
  • who is your ideal audience, what’s your ideal client deepest desire and create a detailed and very deep client profile so you understand them to the core,
  • figure out your perfect marketing strategy,
  • know how to show up, how to talk about your products or services and build your brand over time,
  • and become a powerful and CONFIDENT creative director of your brand, because that’s who you should be: a leader of your brand, a visionary, a CEO that understands where they want to take their brand and how to do it.

 

When you only focus on your visuals your brand may look great, but it will have no substance, no personality.

Nowadays, people are just so bombarded with messages, ads and products that they are looking for brands they can feel some kind of connection with. A brand with a story they can relate to.
If your brand is only about your products and services, you’ll be lost in the sea of the same.

If your brand lacks that personality, that thing that makes it relatable, it will be really difficult for you to build an audience that is loyal and wants to buy from you or work with you.
Brand strategy is all about figuring out how you can build a brand people relate to and see themselves in!

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

When people buy, they make a statement.
They say: I WANT TO SUBSCRIBE TO THAT BRAND’S COMMUNITY.

For example, if you really care for the environment and it’s important to you to use cruelty-free cosmetics you will be attracted to brands that are very vocal about these values and constantly tell the story of caring for the planet through their messaging. If they do it right, you may feel such connection to the brand that you will soon find yourself swapping all your cosmetics for theirs!

Lush Cosmetics is all about hand-made cosmetics that are cruelty-free and organic and they have created such great brand personality and tell stories people so relate to that they have built a huge, loyal audience and community around their brand. When someone buys from them they say:

I’m modern and I care for my body and the environment. I also love to try new stuff, smells and experiences and love to explore.

 

Another example is Apple– they know exactly what makes them different and what it says about their customers buying from them. When someone buys from them, they say:

I’m am modern, creative and individual. I love great design and high quality materials. I hate tech that is difficult to use and outdated.

 

So think about this: what kind of statement do your clients and customers make when they buy from your brand?

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

Mistake #3 and is following trends (blindly)

It is very tempting when you start building a brand to jump on Instagram or Pinterest and create this huge mood board of inspirations.

What you will notice though is after some time is that there are patterns and trends appearing in design: similar fonts, layouts, colours that are fashionable this season (just like with clothes), and when you’re not sure what visuals are really right for you because you’re not sure of your brand strategy it is really easy to start following what’s trendy.

Sometimes, I also see brands wanting to refresh their brand because they haven’t done it for a while. Since they followed trends in the first place, the design they used becomes outdated and they feel the need to refresh.
Every experienced that?

If so, I get it.

It is very tempting to do so and because of all of the misconceptions out there about branding.

It’s easy to think you actually SHOULD do it.

So if you found yourself making that mistake, the simplest solution is to go back to the drawing board and think about:

  • what is your brand personality?
  • what would you like people to think of it?
  • where does it sit in the market? Is it a luxe brand? or is it more of an affordable option?

Those questions will help you figure out what you’d like to be perceived as and then once you’re clear on that you can actually pick visuals that represent that.

READ ALSO:  Choose the right visuals for your brand in 3 steps
Visuals and colours evoke certain emotions and you should use psychology to pick the right one for your brand.

For example, muted, pastel colours and delicate fonts are going to create a perception of a brand that is well organised, a bit less approachable and quite elegant. It’s usually what wedding photographers or wedding stationery designers go for. You may attract introverts who are quite shy and need to warm up to you for quite some time before they are ready to buy from you.

If you pick bold and neon colours and bold fonts you’re going to be saying your brand is bold and attract people who are very open, opinionated, confident and require totally different marketing than delicate brands.

Muted, pastel colours are going to send a totally different message than black and white or neon colours. Also, cool shades are going to evoke different feelings than warm tones.

The fonts and shapes you use in your brand also emphasize your brand personality so it’s very important to choose wisely and with psychology in mind, rather than focus on current trends.

 

Having visuals that are not aligned with your brand but follow trends repel customers and clients because you feel like just another brand they’ve seen on Instagram.

And even though your brand IS unique and could potentially really connect with your ideal audience they don’t feel this connection because the visuals do not send this unique message to them.

This way, unintentionally, you’re going to repel your ideal audience by actually being on-trend.

It’s not to say following some design trends is NOT OK – of course times change and what was attractive once isn’t anymore (think 80’s haircuts) and your brand definitely should not look outdated.
If you have a look at Coca Cola or PEPSI – brands, who have been with us for a long time, they have changed their logos slightly to look less outdated over the years. That’s totally fine as long as you have your own visual style that people remember and do not follow these trends blindly without any strategy behind it.

Refreshing a brand should also be done only if you actually need to fix some problems with positioning, change your audience, or launch something new that requires a slight change in the brand perception.
Refreshing for the sake of refreshing is not necessary and refreshing is NOT needed if your visuals are chosen based on your brand’s personality and truths.

 

Don't repel clients: 4 common branding mistakes to avoid

Mistake #4: Misunderstanding authenticity

There’s a lot of talks out there in the marketing world about being authentic, being more YOU and showing more of yourself in your brand. And this is all great – people DO buy from people and want to feel that brands they support are really authentic and do what they say they will do.
Having said that, a lot of brands misunderstands authenticity.

So let’s define what authenticity really is, OK?

According to a Cambridge dictionary:

Authentic is “true to what they say it is”.

So simply put, if you say you are X, you do what X would do and say what X would say.
If you have certain values, you act according to those values. You sell products and services according to those values.
That is being authentic to who you say you are.

I recently spoke to my friend with whom I’ve been working on a recent project. She’s a jewellery photographer and generally helps jewellery brands present themselves and look apart so they sell more of their products.

Auguste and I talked about the fact that some jewellery brands unintentionally repel their clients by posting personal content that has nothing to do with their brand and doesn’t add any value to it.
As jewellery brands (and luxe brands overall) attract customers who are after high-quality and something to aspire to, they will repel those clients if they post things that are out of alignment with that.

So Auguste told me about the jewellery brand owner that posted a picture of her child with an eye infection – and as I can understand she wanted to be personable, what she did is made potential clients who are looking for jewellery and jewellery inspiration get a kind of a shocker on their feed.
Unintentionally, she could have repelled some of the potential clients just because this was not something they expected or wanted from her.

Telling your personal story is SUPER important and can really connect you with your audience, but do remember to share only things that relate somehow to your brand.

For example:

  • share your personal transformations tory if you’re trying to attract people who are looking for transformation: things like before and after, stories of how you struggled with something they do now but now you’ve found a way out and can help them too,
  • share your behind the scenes to show your process, your work, your clients, your workspace – if that relates to your brand,
  • share personal stores that will inspire your audience and make sense with your brand.

Even some of the most authentic personal brands like Jenna Kutcher and Rachel Hollis who share stories about miscarriage, alcoholism or loss share these stories because they relate to their brands.

And if you look closely, you will still see there are a lot of stuff they don’t share, and their content is highly curated.

Jenna Kutcher who talks openly about her miscarriages said many times on her Instagram that before sharing anything she really thinks about the purpose of that story and is not sharing most of the stuff about her family to protect their privacy.
So even though those brands are highly authentic and honest – they still don’t share everything.

Authenticity is about sharing your values and mission openly through stories of your past experiences, current stories, stories of your clients and then showing up authentically, meaning: according to your values.
If your brand’s value is caring for the environment share stories about how you do that and how your brand contributes to that. Don’t do things that are not aligned with that.

Focus on what your brand’s purpose is and tell stories that emphasize that and make this message stronger.

 

Now I’d love for you to tell me in the comments below: what was the biggest A-HA moment for you?

What was the most helpful? What are you still struggling with?

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It’s not enough to pick the perfect colour palette and design a shiny website to create a strong brand. If you want a powerful, influential and desirable brand you need to touch people on a deeper level.

I’ve combined my 10+ years experience as a graphic designer for brands like Jimmy Choo, Karl Lagerfeld, River Island, and Childrensalon in my early career + many top influencers and brands during my work at Adored Designs with my passion for psychology and the way humans form relationships.

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Alex Rogala-Jacek

Brand Coach & Creative Director

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