Branding Mistakes with Your Banner Ads that you Can’t Afford

In the marketing world, talking about brand awareness everyone loves to do, but many businesses make branding mistakes in their advertising that severely hold back their branding efforts.

Branding is more than just a snappy word marketers use to emphasize the power of content. It is not something that your business has by default. In the past, branding was directly correlated with a name, a logo or a symbol. Basically, branding was just that combination of elements that made easy for the audience to recognize the product or service. The sole purpose was to distinguish a brand from its competitors.

Nowadays, branding is one of the most complicated components of running a business. It is no longer something you can see or something palpable, but a perception and feeling one person has when thinking of your brand or seeing its symbols.

To keep it simple, branding is a pleasant feeling that a consumer experiences when they think about your business or products.

Websites, social media, advertising, banner-ads—all of these are part of your business branding strategy. Actually, any action your business takes could be viewed as part of your branding strategy.

In this article, we are going to talk about some branding mistakes that you can’t afford to make when you are designing your banner ads. Not only can these mistakes cost you a lot of money, but they can also damage your business’s reputation, which is a fundamental part of how your brand is perceived.

Mistakes to Avoid while Branding

Banner advertising is not the place to mess up your branding for sure. Why?

William Chitty and his co-authors said in their book, “Integrated Marketing Communications”,

Banner ads are effective in making headway to a potential customer from unawareness of your product or service to top-of-mind awareness, in which your brand is the first that comes to a buyer’s mind.

This is why we believe that branding and banner advertising should go hand in hand.

Before we get into branding mistakes,

We know that usually, people don’t write articles in which they tell you how NOT to do something, but we truly believe that if you know which are the mistakes you need to avoid, it will be easier for you to create a cohesive brand identity and maintain it.

So, let’s observe what you shouldn’t do when designing a banner ad:

1. Do you have your own brand book?

This is a lesson we learned. Do you know how frustrating it is to work a lot on some visuals and strategies and afterward …only to discover that there is no foundation on which to build those strategies? We will explain to you..

So, what is a brand book?

“A brand book is an official document that explains the brand’s identity and presents brand standards. Some brand books are focused especially on the design aspect, while others include a company overview and communication guidelines as well.”

A brand book represents the foundation of your entire branding efforts and is the first thing that should be on your list when planning to create a brand.

If you don’t have a brand book, your banner ads will never really build brand awareness. Yes, they might drive traffic, but they won’t create the sort of characterized look and feel that is central to effective branding.

2. How much your colors are attentive in your branding journey?

Colors play a really important character in branding and brand identity, but the influence of color often underestimated by many business owners and even advertisers. Color can have a massive effect on your target audiences and it is a known fact that different colors trigger different emotions in people.

So why wouldn’t you take advantage of this sweet trick?

Actionable Tip

While creating banner ads, you must consider a few color-related elements like brand color, potential backgrounds for your banner ads, font colors and the visibility of your logo.

A recent study by Kissmetrics says, 93% of shoppers primarily respond to the visual details of marketing and color increases brand recognition by 80%. So, why not pay a bit more attention to which colors you are using in your banner advertisements?

Actionable Tip

Choose colors for your banner ad that supplement your brand.

For example, a Dental Marketing person has chosen turquoise to represent his brand throughout the internet. His choice is a well-thought-out one since it is said that this color encourages inner healing through its ability to enhance empathy and caring. This feeling goes ideally with his business which tries to help dental professionals with their marketing strategies.

3. What are your global audience talking about you?

If your brand is an international one, there is one more aspect you need to take into account when crafting your banner ads. When you deal with global audiences, different cultures may interpret your messages in different ways that you can’t expect.

Pepsi is a great example of how a slogan in one country might have an entirely different meaning in another culture. When the Pepsi beverages launched in China, it used the slogan “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life”. However, due to improper translation, the slogan in Chinese actually came across as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.

Imagine what a giant PR crisis they had to deal with within a country that worships ancestors as China does!

Actionable Tip

A little research never hurts. If you believe something that you’re using in your banner ads could hurt someone’s feelings or might be misunderstood, dig deeper and elucidate the truth.

You always need to remember that what you’re saying and what message you’re sending to your audience can be interpreted in different ways in different cultures.

Look at the dental industry

Many dentists that we work with think of branding as the logo and possibly the web design. The fact is, your brand is what people are talking about you when you are not around.

Branding doesn’t start with your logo. It starts with you. The logo, web design and everything detailed in your advertising message is not the creation of branding. It is merely an authentic and appealing reflection of your branding.

Here is a far-fetched example but that will help you understand this principle. Coke is one of the biggest brands in the world and its primary branding color is red.

Though, red is considered to be the color of passion, energy, and love in Western cultures, in some African countries red is associated with death.

In such countries, Coca-Cola’s beautiful red branding would be the equivalent of slapping a “Warning: Poison” sticker on their bottles!

Not a great way to sell a soft drink.

So, if you are running international banner ads, you can’t always just call it good by translating your text into the local language. You need to take some time to understand the local culture and ensure that your ad is communicating the right message.

4. Are you taking credit for your mistakes?

The first lesson that we teach kids is to take credit for our mistakes and saying “I’m sorry!”. Certainly, the ideal plan would be not to have to say “you are sorry”, but if you have made a branding mistake, owning up to what you have done is proof of professionalism.

Unfortunately, we have seen lots of brands that—instead of coming forward and admitting they’ve done something wrong—just delete the offensive piece of content and refuse to give any comments about it.

Actionable Tip

Before doing anything, talking to someone who has been through a PR crisis will help you make a better decision on what to do and how to manage it.

If anything really does happen, make sure you handle the crisis quickly and with tact and humbleness.


Now, you know that what are the things you should not do when designing a banner ad, you can get to work!

Remember to:

Build a brand book for your business

Pay attention to colors

Remember who you are doing it for (your audience)

Always take credit for your mistakes

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