It’s hard to miss the power branding has for a company. Just look at famous logos and names like Coca-Cola, Google, or McDonald’s, and you can instantly see the way brand recognition defines the relationship customers have with the brand and helps them feel comfortable with what they will get from it. Unlocking that power is no simple task, but taken one step at a time, it is something any small business owner can do.

As you look for the brand identity that fits your business, you will want to avoid these common pitfalls.

Overcomplicating the Brand

One of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make when they first approach marketing is trying to make the brand do and say too much. If you have multiple value propositions or an overly complex branding proposal that makes your logo and visual materials difficult to recognize at a glance, then you’re going to wind up with a brand that doesn’t have the ability to register that instant recognition and understanding in customers.

Making the Brand Too Vague

This is the mistake that swings hard in the opposite direction. Branding that works is going to have to find a balance. It needs to be simple without being vague, so it’s easily recognizable. It also needs to carry a clear attitude or value proposition that registers when the brand is recognized. Those both require you to avoid being vague about who you are.

Poor Rollout For Brand Changes

Finding the right brand identity can take some time. You shouldn’t be afraid to revise your brand to make it more effective over time, especially as you get better about identifying your customers and finding ways to appeal to them. Rolling out brand changes involves a period of uncertainty as the public responds to the change, though, and it’s far more likely to have the effect you want if you are careful about positioning and promoting your rollout of the changes. Otherwise, you could obscure your brand unintentionally.

Forgetting to Police Brand Usage

Whether it’s third parties referring to your brand or your own employees representing you with visual materials at professional events, online, and in other spaces, your branding needs to be consistent. That means when people use your logo or any trademarked terms associated with your brand, you need to be sure they are following your brand guidelines. Failure to follow up and ensure this will lead to more and more divergence until the branding is diluted by inconsistency.

Clear brand guidelines and a unified strategy for promoting changes and policing brand use are vital. Make sure you plan for all these components of your brand strategy to be successful.