5 Ways You’ll Murder Your Brand

5 Ways You’ll Murder Your Brand

The Internet can be an unforgiving place for businesses.

A single misguided Tweet can undo years of hard work and tarnish your business’ reputation.

In this article, I’ll show examples of how you can murder your brand online, and provide advice on how to avoid it.

1. Leveraging bad news for profit

Natural disasters, economic downturns, and terror attacks are something you don’t want to take advantage of as a brand. You might be thinking, “Well duh, that’s common sense,” but one of the world’s biggest startups, Uber, managed to get it horribly wrong.

During the Sydney Siege in 2014, Uber increased the fare of their taxis by 400%, with the minimum fare starting at $100.

This outraged not only locals in Sydney, but also the entire social media world. It wasn’t long before news spread about Uber’s pricing globally.

Uber received so much negative attention that they immediately reversed the costs and started offering all users in Sydney free rides to reach a safer location.

What you should do:  This might sound like common sense, but in a time of crisis be there for your fans, even if it temporarily affects your profits.

2. Lack of consistency

Humans are creatures of habit.

We expect certain things to happen each day. For example, we’ll brush our teeth every morning without fail, take the same route to work, and eat the same breakfast. We also expect brands on social media to keep their posting schedule consistent; well, that’s what the reports say anyway.

60% of millennials expect a consistent experience across all channels when dealing with brands.



Having a different logo on social media profiles, and using different brand colors on your website and your email copy, ruins credibility, and is a great way to de-brand a business.

What is branding?

Definition: The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. –  Entrepreneur

Creating a brand is about repeating the same message over and over again until you automatically assign a name, logo, or color to signify thoughts about a brand.

For example, when you read the word ‘Nike’ you think of high-quality sports clothing.

When you see the Apple logo, you think of innovation and world-class products.

Without consistency in messaging, you cannot create a brand… but you can quickly kill one.

What you should do:  Go over all of your online marketing materials and ensure the logos, colors, fonts, and voice are consistent. The best way to ensure this is to let one person (or department) manage all marketing materials.

3. Too much talking, not enough listening

The average person spends 50 minutes per day on Facebook, and is no stranger to how businesses conduct themselves online. We’ve all seen that business that posts several updates per day (using a scheduling tool), but fails to respond to any comments left by fans.

Social media is a two-way communication stream between your brand and your fans. Neglecting fans while continually posting content portrays your business as a grey corporation that is more interested in itself than its fans.

In the world of startups and mass competition, not engaging with your fans and customers is a disease that will rot your brand. An Edison Research report found that 67% of fans expect a business to reply to their question within 24 hours.


What you should do:Don’t become a boring content brand. Actually listen to what your fans are saying, and reply. Do this and see your customer lifetime value and brand image grow.

4. Not taking your brand seriously

You can’t commit only 30% to building a brand image, because you’ll fail.

You need to do it properly and have a strategy in place.

How many times have you been researching online for a product or service and, when comparing businesses, one appears head and shoulders above the rest?

Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. It is a meticulous and well-strategized process taking a number of metrics into account. Creating social media profiles, a new email template, and a few blog posts isn’t branding – it’s called being lazy.

Ensuring your business is listed on every major search engine, has several comments per blog post, thousands of fans on social media who interact with you (and who you engage back with), its own hashtag used by fans, and being a household name in the local area is branding.

Get people outside your business to review your online presence, and gain their feedback to make adjustments.

You can’t become a brand as a B player.

What you should do: Create a long-term brand strategy with 30-, 60-, and 90-day review points to ensure your strategy is on track.

5. Awful content

I’ve come across content online that is so boring you couldn’t pay me to read it (okay, you could, but you get what I’m saying).

Five years ago there was little competition, and the few businesses that were competing against you for customers offered different services. Today there’s more competition than you can shake a stick at, with many businesses offering near identical products and services.

In the years to come, it’s not what you offer that will differentiate you from your competitor, it’s what your content says. One high-quality video can position your business above everyone else much faster than your product or service.

A 93-second video helped transform the Dollar Shave Club into a billion dollar business and the biggest brand in its space.

A few pieces of awesome content can build a great brand. Boring articles, poorly shot videos, or uncreative images can quickly kill a brand.

What you should do:  Create a content plan. Learn more about your target market and create content that provides them with value. Great content should provide the reader with value without asking for anything  in return.


So many small businesses neglect their brand strategy, thinking it’s of low importance, when it’s actually one of the biggest factors for consumers when picking which business they should use.

Go over my 5 points with your Marketing Team and see if you’re making any of these mistakes and knowingly killing your brand. If you are, it’s time to call a team meeting to drill down what you want to achieve with your brand in 2016 and 2017.

Laura Holton
[email protected]

Utilizing her knowledge of SEO and inbound marketing practices, Laura has gained significant attention for her articles and blog posts. Writing on a range of B2B topics, she helps entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level, provides inspiration, and solves the most pressing problems small businesses face.