As a business owner I’m sure you already understand the importance of branding. The brand has become one of the core assets of growth for leading business. Whether you are starting up a new business or looking to grow your current business, establishing a brand that connects with the needs of your customer is critical to remain relevant in their minds.

When communicating your brand to reach customers, consistency in your marketing elements are important. Everything must speak: “we exist because of you and for you”. Some areas I’ve found to be easy wins for doing this that some businesses drop the ball with inspired me to write this article.

When building your brand here are 5 dumb things you can do.

1. Using the wrong art

One of the worst things that businesses do, aside from not having your own brand, is using the wrong art. Clipart is the worst kind of art to use because it implies that you do not take your business or customer seriously. With clipart you will never be able to own the rights to your logo. You are essentially just renting the image. Allowing your nephew or best friend to draw a random logo image without understanding the needs of the customer leads to misunderstanding of who you are as a business. Professional designers will provide a professional level of consistency along with visual style guide for fellow designers to follow as you design other brand elements. Customers are getting smarter. They will tell and will respect you for it.

2. Irrelevant to your industry

Creating a strong brand that is entirely irrelevant to the business. Ouch. Being creative is important when creating a brand because it allows you to stand out, but you also need to make sure it is relevant to your industry. Most importantly, a brand that is relevant to your customer. You want people to look at the brand you have created and know exactly what company it belongs to and what that company stands for, you don’t want to leave them wondering how your brand relates to your business.

3. Using different brands for different medias

Another simple mistake small business owners make is not using the same brand on everything. In some cases, you will see the same company hand out business cards with one brand, while they have a different brand on their vehicles. Not using the same brand for everything means your business sends a message that your business is not organized. Customers associate companies based on brands, so if you have two different brands they are not going to associate both brands to the same company. Instead customers will often think it is two separate companies. Don’t make them think. If your customers have to think too long, something is wrong.

4. Not using your brand consistently

Not using the same brand is a big mistake, but what might be even worse is not always using your brand. An inconsistent brand is going to damage your company’s reputation, as well as credibility. To build a better brand you always want to be consistent with what you are trying to say. Saying something and then doing it allows you to build a great brand with a solid reputation.

5. The message doesn’t match the experience

When creating your brand you want to send a great message to your customers. Showing your customers that there is not much more to your business than just a name. When a company creates a brand promise to leave your customers with a positive impression and sets a high expectation level for your business but you have not lived up to it. You leave a negative impression or anything that doesn’t leave any impression at all.

The experience that your customer has when dealing with your company is the most powerful and important tool when it comes to building your brand. So when this goes wrong, no matter how great the message or graphics it’s deemed a failure because the customer experience has failed. Perhaps the most important thing to mention when it comes to building your brand is your actual customer and the experience that they have. You can do everything right when it comes to building your brand, but if your customers are not happy it won’t ever matter.

Happy customers go out and tell friends about what your company did for them. They recommend your services or products to their friends. Unhappy customers talk even more than happy customers. Unhappy customers won’t hesitate to tell everybody about the horrible experience they had with your company. With social media being their means of venting, before you know it their horrible experience goes viral and your company brand becomes the voice of the customer you do not want.