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6 mistakes businesses make as start ups

I’ve consulted businesses with over a hundred employees to small start ups. The following is a compiled list of the mistakes addressed constantly.

All of which is more important and less daunting than we all believe.

Below are common branding mistakes we’ve experienced with our clients.

1. Underestimating the power of your brand and culture.
The more iconic your brand the more people you will have attracted to it. The more possible clients. The best part to be is when others say have you heard of “ Your company” name.
I recall clearly the day I was at an event and a young lady approached me as said “ hey you are the Farm Toonz people” The characters are so cute.
Do not underestimate the power of today’s social media reach even as a small organization or start up.

2. Fail to establish brand guidelines. Brand guidelines determine culture. It tells the story and it says what we do. When creating a brand identity you must also create supporting elements. This may be overlooked if you are a small business and working with friends and family. When it was only two of us in the office (husband and wife team) It was a challenge to continue the brand as we only saw two people. Now imagine having employees. Your brand must be started correctly or you will rebrand later.

Here is the process we place our clients through.
· Logo- Not just any logo. It must be iconic and have the ability to exist on its own. (sample Starbucks)
· Brand color palate.
· Vocabulary and Taglines
· Fonts and typography
· The tone used in your branded materials and messages
· Mascots check out our posts on this topic here.
· Spokespeople- think of those whom you would want to be your spokesperson and create a presentation. This will help you define weather it’s a clear or vague idea.

3. Internalizing your brand. We made this mistake in the beginning. Andy had been known as Andy Toonz for some time now and he truly was the inspiration behind launching the studio. Our original name was Andy Toonz Studios. We took it personal. It was long, and gave us a cartooney sense. We were set on the name. Until we finally let go of the internal emotional aspect and rebranded. We kept our story but gave it a name clients can pronounce in one breath and recognize. Make it clean, simple and if possible have the ability to be said in one breath.

4. Think Product- If you placed your logo on a shirt would it be cool enough to be a product. Many small business fail to think things through and focus on launching. I like to say let’s launch with excellence. It is why they often times rebrand several times spending time, effort and money.

5. Fail to monitor brand execution. Once you have a cool looking brand you are proud of step back and watch it be executed. Be very careful on how others are using your logo and brand. We had this issue many times as we sponsored events. Our orange was not precise. You must monitor, printing for consistency and accuracy. This also opened the doors to check out those competitors that were copying our creations. We had our share of cease and desist letters as we protected our brand.

6. Not developing your brand. Rebranding can be tedious. It’s lots of money and tons of work. Even more money if you had collateral printed. However not developing your brand quickly can be as harmful as not having a brand. In the early stages of AT Studios, our brand was growing faster than we were. We could see it. People knew what we did, but the image sent a message of a “cartoon” Studio. Based on many conversations we decided to re-strategize and remove the Toonz ( From Andy Toonz Studios ) and rebrand to AT Studios. The changes you make affect your future clients and most importantly it affects those you currently have as a base of your income.

Investing in the identity of the business as start-ups and small businesses is rather difficult. Making your own brand is quite difficult and an emotionally draining task. Hire professionals, set aside a budget and ask the right questions. These are the areas you must not skimp on. They are as crucial as your vision.