• Transform magazine
  • September 29, 2020


The five most common branding mistakes made by small businesses


Today’s competitive business market calls for businesses to try and stand out as best they can. By failing to do so, businesses are likely to give off a confused brand identity, lose sale opportunities, which in turn affects not only the business itself, but also a country’s economy.

Vistaprint, a global, e-commerce brand that produces physical and digital marketing products for businesses, has conducted research examining UK’s small business websites to reveal the brand image these businesses display.  

Vistaprint studied the websites of 1000 small businesses that consist of nine or less people across various sectors in the UK. The brand focused on the website copy, fonts, imagery, colours and domain authority to review how they varied based on business, industry and region.

The results have revealed the most common mistakes businesses make with their branding choices. At least one of those mistakes were found in 98% of the small businesses that took part in the research.

One of the biggest and most common mistakes, is the excessive use of cliched adjectives, with 33% of small businesses using them to define themselves. The use of language that serves as common ground in the industry, fails to build a distinctive and unique brand identity. ‘Friendly,’ ‘independent,’ ‘specialist,’ ‘family-run’ and ‘experienced’ are the five most used.

Another common mistake is the insufficient use of colour in businesses’ branding. Of the small businesses surveyed, 98% use only one main colour for their logo, while 46% use the traditional colour blue and 28% use a white backdrop for their website. So, even though colour is an easy and effective way for visual cut-through and a direct way to convey personality, businesses don’t take full advantage of it. 

Inconsistent font style is also a point of concern for small businesses, with 77% using more than one font type for their content on their website and 51% using more than three. While big company names, such as Airbnb and Coca-Cola, have realised the importance of typeface in branding, going as far as switching to custom fonts, small business have yet to realise that typeface can impact the recognisability of the brand and change the way people view a company.

Additionally, the majority of small companies tend to use only one or two descriptors on their webpages and rely on a non-descript portrayal of themselves. Language is an important tool for creating a strong brand identity that customers will emotionally connect with and therefore, should not be neglected.

Lastly, 5% of small businesses had unrelated or no imagery on their website. An aesthetically pleasing website, enhanced with correct imagery can increase the website visits, make people want to share the website and appeal to a wider audience, ultimately driving sales.

Vistaprint’s research results have revealed that small business struggle to differentiate themselves through their online branding and have highlighted the need for them to embrace their individuality and build a strong personal branding in order to remain competitive and grow.

You can read the full report here: 


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