9 Things That Make A Bad Brand (And How To Avoid Them)

Whether you just started your first business or you’ve been operating for over fifty years, you can always make a mistake that will turn the public’s perception of your brand negative.

Some of the things that make a brand bad include inconsistent branding and messaging, lying to the public, partnering with the wrong company, focusing on the wrong target audience, ineffective marketing campaigns, not enough customer support, and bad customer experiences.

Everyone makes mistakes. We are only human, after all. We could all learn from them and better ourselves. The best thing you can do for your company or brand is to learn from others’ mistakes before making them yourself.

Why Having A Good Brand Is Important

Having a good brand image is crucial if you want to increase revenue and have a long-lasting impact on your audience. Having a good brand not only builds trust with your audience. It also makes your company appealing to those who are looking for employment opportunities. Having a good brand invites investors to your company, which could lead to expansion.

For a more in-depth look at how to create a brand identity, feel free to check out my post on it here, or download my free ebook by subscribing to our newsletter here.

A good brand lifts society as a whole, whereas a lousy brand could tear it down and hurt many people in the process.

What Makes A Bad Brand?

Many things could make a brand bad. It’s our job to identify the warning signs before it becomes a problem that requires intervention. Let’s look into the things that make a terrible brand.

1. Inconsistency In Your Brand

If your brand develops inconsistencies in its messaging, design, tone, or presentation to the public, it could confuse your target audience. Human beings are often not all too happy to adapt to rapid change. If your brand is changing from day to day, someone who hasn’t seen it in a while might not recognize it and therefore not trust it.

How To Avoid It

It would be best if you gave thought to the tone (fun, light, serious, and so on), register (formal or informal), and style you will use across your content. Make sure this is consistent across all of your brand’s text, images, videos, and other content types.

Ensuring there is consistency in the way you use visual elements is vital to your online and in-store presence. When examining all your properties and channels (such as your email newsletter, social media pages, and website), customers should not be able to detect differences between platforms or stores. They should perceive it all as one message. If you take your website as an example. All the elements should be consistent. Colour coding, or color themes, can be used very successfully to group areas or features on your website, but it must be kept in the same branding style as the rest of your brand identity.

2. Lying To The Public

Lying to the public and your target audience is never a good idea. More often than not, it ends in disaster.

On January 28th,2021, Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev spoke with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin about Robinhood’s decision to limit its customer’s ability to trade a specific stock. Vladimir falsely claimed that Robinhood’s decision to halt trading had nothing to do with its money reserves. His statement turned out to be a lie. Robinhood’s customers were not able to trade a particular stock because Robinhood had a liquidity issue. When Robinhood’s customers found out that Vladimir lied, Robinhood’s stock price fell by 6.58% in just six hours.

How To Avoid It

The simple solution to this specific problem is, to be honest with your customers. Being purposefully deceitful when there is an issue with your company or your product will add fuel to the already raging fire. Being open and transparent with your target audience will tell them that you can be trusted and that they can work with you to find the best solution.

3. Partnering With The Wrong Company

Forming a partnership with another company, at least on paper, sounds like a great idea. You’ll be able to share customers and potentially help each other out with marketing campaigns or shared revenue, maybe even a joint product launch. The problem is, no matter how great the company you would want to partner with seems at face value, it might just not be the right fit for your particular business or industry.

How To Avoid It

You have to research the company you are planning on partnering with thoroughly. You have to ensure that there is a synergy between your audience and your potential partner’s audience before making any formal commitment. There is no point in affiliating with a company in the entire opposite industry that of your company.

Look for opportunities to partner with companies that will complement and enhance your brand. Look for a company that shares your core values and has a complementary tone to your business’s voice.

4. Focussing On The Wrong Target Audience

In 2019 Pew Research predicted that Gen Y would eventually overwhelm baby boomers as America’s largest generation. If your brand continues to specifically target baby boomers, you might not have anyone to market to in the near future.

How To Avoid It

You have to keep up with the latest industry trends if you want to ensure that you maximize your profits over the long-term. A new generation of consumers requires a modern approach to the way your business positions itself within the market. Ensure you have your finger on your target audience’s pulse and be fluid in the way your brand conducts itself in the modern technological space.

5. Bad Marketing Campaigns

Brands often fail to appeal to their audience. What an older generation of marketers might think is ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ might be the exact opposite of what their audience thinks it is. Practicing outdated marketing methods will not give your brand the results it’s looking for.

How To Avoid It

It might seem obvious to some, but the core of consistent successful marketing campaigns lies in thorough planning and strategic preparation. Before you execute your next marketing campaign, you need to plan it properly. Do your research and understand your product, your communication challenges, your target market, your competitors, and of course, your consumers.

6. Outdated Company CI

If your brand was established in the late 1970s, and you still haven’t gone through a brand refresh, your brand might seem outdated by today’s standards. Unless your brand has some form of nostalgic value, it won’t be able to compete with new brands that appeal to a younger generation.

How To Avoid It

Consider hiring a design agent or agency with a portfolio that features modern design trends and employ them to give your brand a refresh. They say change is as good as a holiday. Redesigning your brand to more accurately represent the time in which it operates is nothing new, all majorly successful brands have done it, Google, Coke, and even Starbucks have resigned their logo at least once.

7. Not Enough Customer Support

The internet has provided consumers a direct line to the brands they support. Brands that do not have a good customer support network frustrates consumers as they feel like their concerns are left unanswered. If a customer’s complaints or queries are left unattended long enough, they will take their business elsewhere.

How To Avoid It

Invest time and money into a reliable customer support network. Employ social media moderators or call center staff to ensure that there is always someone available to talk to whenever a customer has an issue. If you do not have the capital available to outsource this crucial department, consider investing in tools that would promptly alert you so that you can reply personally.

8. Fighting With Other Brands

Brands will often engage with other brands online. If done improperly, this could have the exact opposite effect that you are trying to achieve. Instead of lifting your brand, you make your brand look bad, and the other brand you are trying to ‘attack’ look good.

How To Avoid It

Don’t pick a fight you cannot win. Again, it might seem obvious, but this truly is the best strategy to avoid a negative brand image when engaging with other brands. Always be respectful, but don’t over-praise your competition. A little tongue-in-cheek humor doesn’t hurt here and there, but unless that is what you want your brand to be known for, we would suggest steering clear of this tactic.

9. Giving Customers A Bad User Experience

If a customer has a hard time buying or consuming your brand, they will hesitate to try again in the future. An ineffective website, for example, could turn potential customers. If customers order your product online and experience shipping delays or their product fails to be delivered, they probably won’t trust your brand in the future.

How To Avoid It

Always try your best to give your customers the best possible experience. Before you launch a new product or service, always test the underlying-infrastructure first and work out any kinks you have in the system before making it public.


Many factors influence a brand’s perception daily. Our jobs as creatives and business owners ensure we do our best to avoid these pitfalls. By keeping a close eye on our brand and how the public perceives it, we can adapt and overcome any challenge we might encounter.




Similar Posts