Branding Gone Wrong!

By Zikanni and Gideon

Looking at our earlier posts, it’s a fact that your brand is your identity. It’s who you are. It’s more than your logo. It covers your values, integrity and so on. However, bad branding can mean bad business. As much as you don’t want to compromise yourself in order to satisfy your customers, branding gone wrong can give people a negative view of your business. And we all know, the fastest way to advertise (especially bad business) is by word of mouth.

No one is perfect. No company is either. It’s therefore not surprising that some of the household names still make or made at one point branding errors. Some include:

1. Colgate Begins Developing Food

What do you use Colgate for? Most likely, it’s brushing your teeth with their range of dental hygiene-related products. In 1982, Colgate introduced Colgate Kitchen Entrees, a line of frozen food products. Reasoning that their teeth cleaning products were so well known that the connection between food and teeth should be a natural next step, Colgate experienced a steep decline in their profits after introducing this failed endeavor.

2. London’s Olympics Marred By Terrible Logo Design

When London won the bid to host the Olympics in 2012, they went right ahead and began designing a logo for the games. The designers for the London Olympics logo went in a very different direction, completely rejecting the traditional rings and steeping the logo with modernity.
Officially, they noted that the new logo:

“Our emblem is simple, distinct, bold and buzzing with energy…. It feels young in spirit… Not afraid to shake things up, to challenge the accepted. To change things.”

Everyone else disagreed. For $800,000 the logo was seen as disrespectful to London and the Olympics. Some people said that there was a passing resemblance to a distorted Swastika. Mostly, the logo looked too garish with its clumsy typography and queer shapes. The logo was so bad that its designers were embarrassed when the logo was unveiled!

3. Pepsi Meme of The Branding Century

Every time you see the Pepsi logo, you can use it as an inspiration to ‘NOT drink’ the high-fructose syrup anymore. The fat man is one of the most popular logo memes of all time. You just need to add arms, a head and legs to the logo, and it begins to seem like a fat man with his belly protruding from his shirt.

So, you can never accuse this beverages giant of giving false information to the public. The logo itself communicates the harmful effects of drinking their beverage.

4. Dove Switches Races

In October 2017, Dove posted a social advert on it’s Facebook page, that featured a black woman taking off a shirt similar to her skin tone to reveal that she had turned into a white woman wearing a shirt similar to her skin tone. Suffice to say, people immediately and rightfully criticized the ad, calling it racist and pointing out how it was similar to racist Victorian-era soap ads. After receiving the much-deserved criticism, Dove pulled the ad and apologized:

“In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us, and we’ll use it to guide us in the future.”

Tips to Avoid Bad Branding

There are several means, methods or tips to avoiding bad branding, but for the sake of this post we’d dwell on a few but important tips.

Over-hyping your brand is a major flaw faced by most brands, and could be avoided when instead of you praising the brand, let the customers do the praising and hyping, that way it will increase your reputation in the business world and your recommendation goes up drastically, cause customers end up doing a one on one advert for your brand cause of the good job your enterprise has rendered

  • Never mention a competitor by name in your advertising. Some brands make this mistake, and before long they get ran out of market cause their projection against their competitors isn’t accurate.
  • Hire and train the best customer support people you can find and in numbers large enough so that customers get through quickly. Sound expensive? Well, yeah, but here’s an idea: Try releasing higher quality products that require less support. Remember: Customers call support because something is wrong with the product. Otherwise, they wouldn’t pick up the phone.
  • Don’t go with the crowd, go with your brand; Never follow multitudes to do what they are doing, it might end up not working out for you. There is this popular saying “if you can’t beat them join them” this saying applies to so many segments of other spheres of life, but that doesn’t mean it’d apply with you. Work on yourself and your brand, be unique in what you do, Yes! There are probably so many people into same trade and branding system, but then yours should standout, yours should be irreplaceable.
  • Build your brand on customer experience rather than on the CEO’s personality. The issue here is, most brewing brands tends to just let the joy of being able to start up and entity get into their head, their faces just gets paste everywhere you look. At the end you might end up not earning but you’ve represented yourself out there as that big chairperson and people already perceived you to be. This kills brands, cause people get to think you’re being pompous or arrogant and prideful, it chases them away.


There’s a saying we made in a publication we created some weeks ago on good and bad design what distinguishes them, it was stated that bad design easily gets noticed unlike the good ones, it doesn’t apply to branding, so on the contrary an excellent brand is noticeable and recognised more then the bad brand. So work tirelessly to make your brand an exclusive brand in the field you’re currently trying to build on.

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