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12 Jul 2016

Biggest Branding Mistakes from Top Businesses

Biggest Branding Mistakes from Top Businesses

We often look to the world’s biggest corporations for inspiration, as they are hugely successful and many small businesses hope to grow into international businesses one day. However, instead of encouragement, sometimes these companies give us fine examples of what not to do. With branding and marketing so crucial to business success, it’s a surprise that any of these mistakes were made in the first place! From offending certain groups in the community to just plain stupidity, here we’ve collected some of the biggest branding mistakes from well-known businesses.

Starbucks

It seems that many big businesses want to start having “deeper conversations” with their customers. Rather than just selling products, it’s all about changing the world. While this can be a positive spin on branding, you need to tread carefully! Last year Starbucks launched its ‘Race Together’ campaign, to try and get coffee drinkers to discuss race relations. The campaign was short lived, as many people thought it wasn’t an issue which could be simply debated over a cup of coffee.

Budweiser

There’s nothing wrong with being a ‘fun’ brand, but sometimes it can go too far. Bud Light’s ‘Up for Whatever’ campaign was just that for most of the general public, who reacted with uproar. An inappropriate slogan appeared on bottles: ‘for removing ‘No’ from your vocabulary for the night.’ There was backlash on social media with many users saying it promoted rape culture. The beer manufacturers listened, pulled the label and were forced to make an apology.

GAP

Think long and hard about ever changing your logo – especially when you’re a multinational retailer with a huge loyal customer base. In 2010, GAP launched a new logo in an attempt to be a little more hip and modern – shall we say ‘down with the kids.’ The response was hugely negative, as people felt GAP was changing its image, and therefore its products, for the worse. As more consumers felt disconnected from the new branding, the old logo was back within two days.

HMV

We couldn’t finish this list before mentioning a social media fail. Social media is a crucial branding and marketing tool for connecting with customers. HMV made the mistake of giving its social media log ins to a lot of employees, and then deciding to fire those employees when they still had access. Things got a little out of hand on Twitter, with staff bad mouthing the company from the official account. There are lessons to be learnt here!

Remember, look to other companies as examples – not just of what to do to become successful, but also what not to do.

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