The Digital Glue Podcast

EP: 63 - Brand Mistakes You’re Making Without Realizing

March 29, 2022 Episode 63
The Digital Glue Podcast
EP: 63 - Brand Mistakes You’re Making Without Realizing
Show Notes Transcript

“It’s the ‘emotional aftertaste’ that comes after an experience (even a second-hand one).” 
 - Ze Frank

Welcome to Episode 63:Brand Mistakes You’re Making Without Realizing

Your business’ brand identity is the torch that lights the way. It provides messaging, a voice and direction, becoming sort of an umbrella under which, all elements are shaped. If your brand identity was created using a flawed process, it could be damaging your business’ chance of success. And you surely don’t want that!

A brand is not just your logo, a website, or your business cards … it’s an experience.
 So, to help alleviate these issues either before they happen, if you’re just starting out, or before you get to ahead in the “game”, here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...

  • How to define your brands’ personality
  • Personality, voice, and tone … what you need to know
  • How to be consistent in your communications
  • 5 ways to humanize your brand

Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!

Your business’ brand identity is the torch that lights the way. It provides messaging, a voice and direction, becoming sort of an umbrella under which all elements are shaped. If your brand identity was created using a flawed process, it could be damaging your business’ chance of success. And you surely don’t want that!

A brand is not just your logo, a website, or your business cards … it’s an experience.

So, to help alleviate these issues either before they happen, if you’re just starting out, or before you get ahead in the “game”, here are a few things to consider … 


This topic if first for a reason and I can’t stress it enough … here in this “untangling” episode and with my regular clients on a day-to-day basis. 

If you’re brand is all over the place it makes you and your business seem the same way (when you’re looking at it from the outside) … Sloppy, messy, disorganized, and like you really don’t know what you’re doing.

Successful brands are easily recognizable and should have a powerful human touch story alongside relevant eye-catching imagery. You know … that kind that stick in one’s mind. Waltor Landor, brand designer and CEO of Landor Associates, couldn’t have said it any better, “Products are built in the factory, brands are created in the mind.” 

It’s the careful attention to detail (YES, every single one!) that gets your brand noticed and remembered. That’s why it is extremely important that you have a clear brand style and guide, and that your content and all communications have a clear story and voice. (And no typos.) You must live up to your words and be consistent in all areas in order to gain the respect and loyalty your business deserves, have your client’s and audience sharing rave reviews and coming back for more.  

Next item of importance …


Your brand is so much more than a pretty logo with a fancy tagline. It’s equally important for your brand to have a story, one that resonates with people and their pain points. You know … the ones you’re trying to solve. This story should also include a strong personality and voice. This personality and voice should reflect the culture of your business, you as a human, as well as what sets you apart from everyone else. Think about it … there is no point in making something look good if the design decisions aren’t support by the brand’s story. 

That being said, this next one is something people tend to forget about all too often …


Social media posting, your blog or podcast (if you have one), downloadable content through lead magnets, news articles, promo videos, website and social media business page reviews … these are only a few of the things that make up your online brand and if you’re not keeping tabs on them, then in reality you really have no control over what’s going on and how to implement change in order to grow.

By keeping tabs on the online presence of your business (and YES, every single day) this helps you figure out what your brand image looks like in the present tense. Which will then help you figure out plans and goals for moving forward because you will now have a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not, what resonates with people and what doesn’t and where to take #AllTheThings from there. It would be very tough to figure out an awesome game plan for each business quarter in the direction of improvement if you don’t even know what needs improving. 

Next up … and last but not least …


You. Need. To. Know. Your. Enemy.

Or your “competipeers” as my lovely guru friend Linda likes to call them. Which has a more pleasant ring to it (LOL!).
You cannot evaluate your business as a whole if you’re not keeping tabs on the competition. And no, I don’t mean comparing everything they have, say and do to your end of things. That’s a HUGE NO-NO! Comparison is evil, unnecessary and will only root your journey backwards.

Yes, it’s time consuming at times, I know. But necessary. 

It is very important to have that reality check in case everyone is just shooting smoke in your direction. Of course, you are good! You know it, your clients know it, your friends and family know it, and even your neighbour Karen knows it. But are you better? 

This is your opportunity to learn and improve. So make sure you scope out everything from their website and social media spaces, to their email marketing and ad campaigns, to their client and customer reviews, and even their blogs, articles, podcasts and PR coverage. Analyze every angle -- and figure out how you can do it better!


When it comes to branding your business … it can certainly be tricky business. It can take years upon years to build an amazing, reliable, credible, and profitable brand. And if not done right, can sadly become tarnished within seconds. Literally the click of the mouse. So, you must try to do everything you possibly can to avoid this trickiness by always keeping your brand on the right path. Maybe even print the transcript of this episode and tack it on the wall in front of you. And be kind to yourself through the process. It’s a long road but one well worthwhile as long as you remember, if you can’t hack all the work that comes with always maintaining your brand, it’s okay to ask for help. Because the only way you’re going to be successful, is if you admit what you don’t know when you don’t know it, stop being stubborn (you can’t wear all the hats) and simply ask for help. 

Now that you have those handy-dandy tips in mind, let’s talk about HOW to define your brand personality …

Brands have become a part of every single person’s day-to-day life, as a consumer and especially as an entrepreneur. Everything we touch and see is a brand. That is why it is so very important that your brand stands out. Your brand needs to become memorable in every way possible and thus … a part of people’s lives.

Most designers, like myself, have a love/hate relationship with branding. The colour choices … the endless fonts … the pretty moodboards … the website themes and plugin options … and the list goes on! But even more so the hard questions like:

  • Who is my brand for? 
  • What do I offer the world?
  • What pain points do I solve? 
  • How do I want to be seen?
  • How can I become memorable? 

It’s all an amazingly beautiful process that tends to start long before you even pull out the colour swatches. And now, you’re probably wondering … Where do I start?

Well, you will want to grab a notebook and pen for this one …!

If you don’t spend any time on your brand messaging, you will have a very disjointed brand personality and your audience and potential customers won’t be drawn in. On the other hand, if you spend too much time on your messaging, it will come across as inauthentic, too calculated, and like you’re trying too hard to be “cool”.

It's all about compelling, relatable, and memorable messaging through brand personality voice and tone. And by doing so you will form long-lasting bonds with everyone your brand touches. Remember, it’s about the people -- not just what your brand has to offer.

I always push my clients to look at the data. 

Are your social followers and clients …

… Carefree?
 … Angry?
 … Vulnerable?
 … Humorous?
 … Fun-Loving?
 … Tangled?
 … Feeling Lost?

We connect our shared experiences -- and our stories -- by revealing uniqueness, values, trust, and vulnerability. The best stories are always the ones you can visualize in the retelling -- you feel as if you’re there; firsthand. And brands are no different in the power they have creating a conduit for their mission, vision, values, purpose, and beliefs. People buy from people they like, know, and can trust.

Truthfully, you can either fly under the radar, or be another bot on the assembly line. You choose. Pick your poison.

Okay, so, let’s dive back into those three points I mentioned earlier: personality, voice and tone.


  • Build a connection. 
    65% of customers say that they are emotionally connected to a brand that makes them feel as though they’re truly cared for. Not just another dollar bill.

  • Build trust. 
    65% of customers say that they shared the same values, and that was the primary reason for building a relationship with the brand. 

  • Create a memorable image. 
    Key colours improve brand recognition by upwards of 80%. So, this is extremely important to keep top of mind as you’re creating content -- especially if you’re a start-up or rebranding.


  • Be about your audience. 
    Research who they are by discovering their gender, age, race, interests, education, what they are reading, watching, or listening to, what colours they like or trigger the emotions you want from them – literally everything you can get your fingertips on – without going full on stalker!
  • Be about your mission and values.
    95% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency. And once you know your values, compose them into a concise mission statement for your audience. Show them who you really are, the people (and other brands you care about) and how your brand can help them.


  • Relay a human touch.
    Ask yourself (and your team if you have one), what do you currently sound like? What do you want to sound like? How do you want to make people feel?

  •  Have a refined voice with characteristics.
    For this, I don’t want to drag on chattering, so you can find the clickable in the transcript of this episode, which touches base (with examples) of an exceptionally great resource of 37 words describing tone of voice that can be used to plan and evaluate.

  • Implement guidelines and rules. 
    This is an easy one! Once your brand is well on its way, create a brand guideline that includes your target audience, your brand’s attitude, values, mission statement, vocabulary, grammar “rules” along with a few examples, and even the brand itself … logo, size requirements, colours, fonts, and so on. And to build this up, you can ask help from a professional (like myself) or just do a little virtual recon by getting inspiration from other brands who publicly share theirs online. 

So, as you can see, it all boils down to brand.

What your brand communicates and how it does it, is what separates you from your competitors. In the absence of branding, you and your competition will be talking in the same language; and that is the last thing you want. So, if you want to capture the mindset and space of your target audience, you must decide how you should communicate with them. Key word there is “with”. As that is what will make you stand apart from everyone else in the virtual container of the internet (and physical space if you’re in there too!)

So, now back to that first question’ “Where do I start?” …

I would suggest taking four or five pieces of your brand’s marketing materials right in front of you and ask yourself (and your team) ... What do we see? 

If it’s a hodgepodge of confusion and inconsistencies, it’s time to make a change. 

And to help with that, we’re going to end things off here today with 5 ways you can humanize your brand …

Google did its part by doing an amazing job hacking the web to create search -- and then monetizing search with advertising. Apple (even though I'm a nerdy Android gal) did an amazing job humanizing hardware and software so that formerly daunting computers and applications could become consumer-friendly devices -- even a lifestyle brand. Now it's your turn ... 

Humanizing your brand is a requirement, not an option if you want to survive in the business world today. And as we already know, humans connect, relate to, and trust other humans. So, if you’re not any of those things, why would someone be likely to even consider doing business with you?

Now before we dive in, why don’t you take a few moments to think about your all-time favourite brands … Which ones stand out? And why? 

And don’t be shy … feel free share them with us in the comments … we’d love to know who’s leaving an impression on you!

For me, it’s the ones that mastered the art of humanization. Brands such as Huawei, Pixar, Burt’s Bees, Spokes and The Middle Finger Project -- just to name a few. 

These brands make ME FEEL as though I’m truly a part of what they’re after. I live their brand just as much as they do. And that is truly the feeling you want your audience to have too!

Even in a digitally sophisticated world, being human is essential in brand equity building. From communicating ethical behavior to creating emotional hands-on brand experiences here are 5 key takeaways on how to get your brand to adopt a human touch to win over your audience …

  1. Make sure your brand tells a story. And not just any story. Your story. Your real truth. Speak from the heart as it will make your brand (and you) feel more empowered -- and your audience more informed than ever before.

  2. Make sure your brand is authentic without implementing too many of those nasty over-used “buzzwords”. That will just leave a bad taste. And more than ever before, your audience has an ear for authenticity and will respond graciously to honesty and integrity.

  3. Remember giving back is the new “black”Act generously. It's also the TIME to help improve your community and the world as a whole (especially if you work virtually like we do!). Plus, giving back is the most satisfying way to not only help others but to market your business. And thankfully, there are ways that you give back without breaking the bank. It could even potentially introduce some networking or collaborating opportunities.

  4. How you make them feel is everything. Experience is everything. Seeing is feeling, and feeling is believing. And not just in retail. Make them feel magical every step of the way -- through every aspect of your business (not just the front page of your website). This will not only build an emotional relationship with them but establish trust. The long-lasting kind.
  5. Give your audience complete control. Yes, digital self-service and chatting with Larry, the company bot is amazing some days and doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. But don’t forget to be there for them when they need you. People need and want to be needed. And #BANG! That’s your opportunity to build trust and foster relationships with each and every personalized experience. Put your audience and clients at ease.

And to spin that all off nicely, Ann Handley, CEO of Marketing Profs said it best …

“Your brand is the image people have of your company (or product). Its WHO people think you are.” Or quoting Ze Frank; “It’s the ‘emotional aftertaste’ that comes after an experience (even a second-hand one).” 

As you can see, there are many really great ways to add the human touch to your brand. And quite honestly, most of these ways are quite simple and loads of fun. And by implementing these tips, soon people will start seeing your brand (and you) as someone they can truly rely on. And there’s not greater pleasure in the entrepreneurial world than that! A successful brand will remain so if you (and your team if you have one) are able to maintain its values in the eyes of your audience. 

It is therefore critical that any changes you make are sensitive to their existing relationship with your brand, and the most profitable companies all have one single thing in common … They have established themselves as a leader in their industry by building a strong brand.