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James Parnwell

James Parnwell

The DOs and DONTs of Branding

So you’ve got a great product (or at the least a great idea for one), you know what you want the future of your business to look like and you’re ready to take that big first step of getting your product out there…


Before you start putting time, effort and money into marketing, you need to make sure you’ve thought about your branding. Unfortunately, most people just start marketing and figure out the branding part along the way. This can often be a costly mistake because branding shapes the face of your company and make it relatable to your customers, so getting it wrong could spell disaster. Here are 8 essential DOs and DON’Ts of building a strong brand:

DO – be aware of your competition

No brand exists in a vacuum, and whilst you can’t get caught up in what your competition is doing, you should be aware of what they’re about. Knowing how others are positioned in your industry and even learning what has/hasn’t worked for them could save you some trial and error learning. It will also enable you to more clearly identify your niche, but be careful not to let other brands have too much influence in what you are doing or your brand will lack authenticity. Find the balance between paying attention and staying true to your product and business.

DON’T – think too small

Good brands are the ones who stand the test of time, and whilst not all businesses are called to global domination, having no foresight can make things difficult if you do grow. For example if the local chicken shop named their business ‘Cherrybrook Chooks’ (Cherrybrook is a suburb in North-West Sydney), and after a few years of doing well decided to expand, it would make it hard for them to setup in a new location and keep the brand recognition that their current customers are loyal to. It would also make it hard if they decided to expand their operations into something like a fish & chip shop. While some brands have overcome this limitation, it’s preferable to build a brand from the start that can grow and adapt with your business over time.

DO – keep it simple

Over-complication can be your own worst enemy as it makes it hard for your customers to know what you’re about or form any kind of attachment to your brand. Few people are going to save up for a family vacation to “A kingdom with rides, characters, and toys,” but with more than 50 million annual visitors, Walt Disney World has truly established itself as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Make sure your images, logo, tagline and copy all reflect what your product and business is about.

DON’T make empty promises

Your brand need to be an accurate representation of your product and what it does. Trying to promote your brand and products as something that they aren’t will only damage your credibility and leaving prospective customers confused about what your business does. For example telling mothers of newborns that you will “solve their infants’ sleeping problems” when in fact you sell baby blankets is probably going to win you more enemies than friends.

DO – take the time to do your research

The most important thing you could do is make sure you have a strong understanding of your audience. The more you understand who they are, what motivates them, and hinders them the better positioned you will be to reach them and find what resonates with them.

DON’T – change on a whim

You need to recognise that building a strong brand that is easily recognisable will take time and consistency. Topping the list of the world’s most recognisable brands, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Ford all have brands that have remained largely unchanged through the decades. The entire purpose of a brand is to provide a consistent face for your company to the public. If you change direction too frequently the customers you have taken the time and effort to cultivate might get lost and you will be essentially flushing your efforts down the drain. Taking the time to create a solid brand should ensure that only small tweaks are needed to keep your brand fresh and relevant over time.


DO – be consistent

Brand consistency is vitally important for instilling confidence and maintaining expectations for your target audience. An inconsistent brand not only looks unprofessional and scattered, but it can also lead to brand confusion—which makes your brand less identifiable and understandable to your customers.

DON’T – expect to reach an end point

Building your brand isn’t going to be a process with a clear start and finish point. You will need to be purposeful in keeping your brand alive, even when you enter into the ‘maintenance mode’. Also be open to new opportunities, technology and markets so you can easily position yourself to take hold of new opportunities.


Now once you’ve built your brand you can enter into the marketing phase with confidence, and as always if you need help with any of that we are ready and able to help.

James Parnwell
James Parnwell

James is the Managing Director and resident strategist at TheOnlineCo. He is clever and creative with a flair for making complex things sound simple. He has been in the marketing game for over 2 decades and has watched the landscape slowly shift. James has his finger on the pulse of every aspect within TheOnlineCo, meeting with all clients as well as every core team member and strategising a specific plan tailored to each client.

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