It’s all in the detail …

1. The logo no-go

When having a logo designed, choosing anything ‘on trend’ is a rookie error. In five years’ time it will look hopelessly lame. A logo needs to be clear, unambiguous, work in miniature on your business card as well as when blown up huge on posters, backdrops and signage. It needs to sing in black and white (not just in your signature colour) and ideally will be able to be easily tweaked as the business develops and maybe takes a slightly different direction. Let the sizzle come from creative execution of comms materials: cool ideas, strong copy and brilliant photography – but keep the logo strong and timeless.

2. Being the strong, silent type

Not communicating with customers often enough is a very common mistake. Even if your product is fabulous, it’s a crowded marketplace and your customers have their attention pulled in many directions, all the time. Stay alongside them with messages and touch points that are relevant, interesting and eye catching. Appeal to their magpie, so they can swoop when they’re ready.

3. Missing out on free press coverage

As publishers of Food Magazine, we’re often sent information and press releases from marketing managers and press officers about events just a couple of weeks before they’re due to take place. If we get them in enough time before our print deadline, we might well include the information in the magazine, or it may spark the idea for a bigger feature. Often, however, they’re emailed to us way too late and so miss out on free publicity and coverage to a highly targeted audience. Send press releases three weeks out to weekly media, two months out to monthlies.

4. Not investing in photography

A picture paints a thousand words and images certainly send an immediate message to potential customers about the quality and nature of your business. Every 21st century business needs high resolution, quality images for its brochures, ads, website and other comms, but really good photography also makes you more likely to be chosen by press for inclusion in features – they want their publications to look good, after all. It’s a crucial investment that many businesses scrimp on.

5. Trying to appeal to everyone

Create an avatar (your target customer, with a name, picture, list of lifestyle and personality attributes, likes and dislikes, drivers, needs and wants) for your target audience. Once you’ve created this and understand what they want, it’s much easier to know how to reach them and show how your product meets those needs. Make your messages to your target audience very specific and appealing; heal their ‘pain’ and demonstrate how you understand them. Then get ready for loyalty and repeat business.

6. Being too focused on social media

Everyone is doing it so everyone thinks they need to do it. But remember, it’s just another comms channel. Use it appropriately with interesting and relevant messages, make friends with your customers and other businesses online, but please don’t get hung up on a certain number of posts a day, or bore the pants off everyone with dull messages while using lots of your own valuable time doing it. It’s not the holy grail, it’s just a different type of advert.