6 Smart & Reliable Ways To Prevent Brand Confusion

For a brand to be suc­cess­ful, it should be dis­tinc­tive, clear in the mes­sage it con­veys, and con­sis­tent in the deliv­ery of this mes­sage.

Michael Georgiou By Michael Georgiou from Imaginovation. Join the discussion » 0 comments

The pur­pose of a brand is to be able to con­nect and rever­ber­ate with con­sumers. A brand has a per­son­al­i­ty. It appeals to the tar­get audi­ence, inspires con­fi­dence, and aids recall. Brand recog­ni­tion is a major achieve­ment in a super-crowd­ed mar­ket place. Con­fu­sion is ene­my num­ber one! For a brand to be suc­cess­ful, it should be dis­tinc­tive, clear in the mes­sage it con­veys, and con­sis­tent in the deliv­ery of this mes­sage.

Con­sumers have many choic­es these days. They are also bom­bard­ed with adver­tise­ments and oth­er pro­mo­tion­al mate­r­i­al dai­ly. Stand out from the crowd and don’t risk con­fus­ing your cus­tomer base with incon­sis­tent brand­ing. A brand gives your com­pa­ny an iden­ti­ty. It helps posi­tion your busi­ness in the mind of the con­sumers. Here are six smart ways you can pre­vent brand con­fu­sion.

1. Use Clear Naming Conventions

Cre­ate a method of nam­ing your prod­ucts and be con­sis­tent in its use. (Con­sis­tent is a word we will use a lot in this arti­cle because it is your most vital weapon for com­bat­ing brand con­fu­sion). Apple names its prod­ucts start­ing with a small “i”. It helps posi­tion the brand. When peo­ple hear iMac, iPod, or iPhone, they think Apple. We’ve grown to expect it of Apple because the brand has been con­sis­tent with its nam­ing con­ven­tion. Google names each of its suc­ces­sive Android soft­ware updates after sweets. Jel­ly Bean, KitKat, Lol­lipop, Marsh­mal­low. We know the next update will be sim­i­lar­ly named, too. What­ev­er con­ven­tion you cre­ate, it’s impor­tant to fol­low it with­out excep­tions. It shows per­son­al­i­ty, posi­tions you in the mar­ket, and helps cus­tomers remem­ber you.

2. Create A Unique Logo

The name of your brand and your logo should stand out and be unlike that of a com­peti­tor. Logos aid brand recall. Refer to this study, where a Nordic brand Libresse improved its brand recall by 300 per­cent with logo place­ment. Sim­ple designs can bring your prod­uct to con­sumers’ minds – espe­cial­ly when a brand name is quirky and peo­ple are unsure how to spell it. In fact, when deal­ing with an inter­na­tion­al audi­ence, images may work bet­ter than names and taglines (which may be par­tic­u­lar to your cul­ture). It might be tempt­ing for com­pa­nies to bor­row, steal, or copy logo ideas from suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies. Resist this temp­ta­tion at all costs! Apart from com­ing across as uno­rig­i­nal, you also don’t want to cause any con­fu­sion in the minds of your tar­get cus­tomer base.

3. Use Your Logo Consistently

Do you use the logo the way it is, or are there any vari­a­tions? Ide­al­ly, there shouldn’t be any vari­a­tions. Use one smart logo and use it con­sis­tent­ly. Whether in mar­ket­ing mate­r­i­al or Web/print ads, your logo has to look the same every­where to help cus­tomers with logo recog­ni­tion. Due to space con­straints, how­ev­er, the size of the logo is some­times com­pressed (or in rare cas­es, blown up). Try to avoid such occur­rences when­ev­er pos­si­ble and present the logo in line with your brand stan­dards.

4. Create A Unifying Color Scheme

Many con­sumers asso­ciate red with Coca-Cola and blue with Pep­si. Any­one who vis­its Pepsi’s web­site would find it odd if it were steeped in the col­or green. Or yel­low. Or orange. In fact, any col­or except blue! Through its adver­tis­ing over decades, Pep­si has led us to asso­ciate the brand with blue, even if that col­or may not have any­thing to do with the prod­uct they sell. That is how Pep­si has brand­ed and pre­sent­ed itself, and that is what cus­tomers know and have come to expect from it. There’s a reas­sur­ing sense of famil­iar­i­ty about that col­or scheme. The les­son here is clear. You want to be con­sis­tent in the image you present to the world. That means your web­site, the mar­ket­ing mate­r­i­al, the down­load­able resources, your soft­ware ser­vices, or even prod­uct descrip­tions – all the pages, and all the con­tent that you cre­ate for the con­sump­tion of your audi­ence should have a uni­fy­ing col­or scheme run­ning through it. It should tie in with the col­ors in the logo as well as the brand name. This will serve three main pur­pos­es:

  • It will make your com­pa­ny and brand look pro­fes­sion­al. Neat designs and con­sis­tent col­ors are aes­thet­i­cal­ly pleas­ing.
  • It will deliv­er a con­sis­tent user expe­ri­ence.
  • It will make an impres­sion on vis­i­tors.

Ulti­mate­ly that is what you want, and that is what makes a brand. When there is har­mo­ny in design and col­ors, a company’s pub­lic pres­ence comes togeth­er as a beau­ti­ful whole and that is what con­sumers tend to remem­ber. Yahoo is known for the pur­ple. Now users may not be able to artic­u­late what the brand Yahoo stands for in their eyes, but you can bet the col­or pops up in their mind when they think about it.

5. Keep Job Titles Consistent

It’s not just the col­ors, the logo, and all the oth­er bells and whis­tles. The cus­tomer ser­vice is also a part of brand expe­ri­ence. When cus­tomers are inter­act­ing with your staff, there should be con­sis­tent job titles for them to look at. Do you have Account Man­agers or Account Exec­u­tives? Mar­ket­ing Direc­tors or Mar­ket­ing Man­agers? Who has the high­er rank? What exact­ly do they do? What­ev­er job titles you choose and whichev­er hier­ar­chy you cre­ate, it has to be made clear to the cus­tomers. They should know what the Account Man­ag­er (or the Account Exec­u­tive, as the case may be) does. It’s a trend these days to use uncon­ven­tion­al job titles. Retail Jedi, Dig­i­tal Dynamo, Dream Alchemist, and Mar­ket­ing Rock­star are some par­tic­u­lar­ly eccen­tric ones. It may be counter-pro­duc­tive to use weird (or cre­ative!) job titles, but just make sure to con­vey to con­sumers what role each per­son on your staff deliv­ers. Con­ven­tion­al or not, dis­play con­sis­ten­cy in the use of the job titles, because inter­ac­tion with a com­pa­ny also affects how it is per­ceived as a brand.

6. A Word On Rebranding

Brands aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly expect­ed to main­tain the same iden­ti­ty for­ev­er. Many have had makeovers. Uber has recent­ly unveiled a new look, what the media is refer­ring to as “rad­i­cal rebrand­ing.” They have changed their logo and the app looks dif­fer­ent as well. There are a num­ber of rea­sons a com­pa­ny might want to rebrand. You may have expand­ed as a busi­ness or lost ground to a sim­i­lar sound­ing com­peti­tor. Your lat­est flag­ship prod­uct may have flopped and you may feel the need to rein­vent your­self. New name, new col­ors, new mes­sage. But when rolling out a new brand name or iden­ti­ty, be sure to exe­cute a care­ful­ly planned PR cam­paign and keep your cur­rent cus­tomers in the know.

Michael Georgiou

Written by Michael Georgiou

Co-Founder & CMO, Imaginovation

Michael Georgiou is the CMO and Co-founder of Imaginovation, a full service, turn-key digital solutions company serving Raleigh, NC and Charlotte, NC. He's a dynamic business professional with proven success in creative strategy, online branding, project management and communication projects.

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