…and What to Do Instead
Branding is a good thing. Over-branding is NOT a good thing, but is very much a thing that even the most well-intentioned people become guilty of doing.
You might ask, is it possible to over-brand myself? Yes, it is, and it’s worth looking carefully at your own feeds to see if you can make certain corrections. But first, let’s go over a few points on what over-branding involves by giving you some examples.
What is over-branding? Over-branding is when people put their logo everywhere, on every single image. This is also called logo vomit in my community of graphic designers. Over-branding also occurs when brand owners have too many groups on Facebook to manage and have overlap, spreading the brand thin productivity-wise and involves over-exposure of branded elements.
This is true when you may have a reader group, a fan group, a street team, and a group that really serve no purpose other than to idolize you and give you a marketing channel. There’s overlap, and there may come a time when people who belong to several of your groups will tire of your message. Lastly, as an example, over-branding happens when people can’t even enjoy an image without you having some sort of sales pitch attached to it – turning a basic image into a sales mechanism.
So logo vomit, too many groups to manage, and using practically every image for self-promotion instead of allowing for enjoyment.
All of this… is barf-worthy.
It’s not all about you, my friend.
If someone looks at your Instagram feed, and practically every single image has your logo or watermark on it, you’re over-branding. If you’re telling people in your groups to do things for you… practically bossing them around saying things like “I need you all to go out and give a thumbs up on my 4 and 5-star reviews, complain to Amazon for deleting your review, share my post, and then I need you to do this, and this, and that…” you’re over-branding, and potentially alienating your audience. They WILL leave you if you’re bossing them around constantly asking them for stuff you need them to do.
If you’re creating more and more Facebook groups, and even have some that overlap your audience, just for the purpose of generating more sales without actually thought in how you’re going to SERVE those people (other than pitching them products and books), you’re over-branding.
Good branding is about consistency in content and image. Good branding is not slapping your logo on everything for “brand identity”. If you’re practicing good branding, people will know and recognize your work, even if it’s just a text question on an Instagram post. Good branding is also consistent with the idea of not creating more busy work for yourself. Creating more and more stuff to do does not equate to quality amplification.
Here’s when you should use your logo on an image:
- For paid styled stock photos that you’ve been requested to brand by the source creator to protect it from being lifted or reused by other people who have not paid for that custom mockup or image.
- When you’ve internally created an image or document that is worthy of it, and could not be easily reproduced in Photoshop, Canva, or PicMonkey with a few keystrokes.
For example, let’s say you create an Instagram post with a text question on it. You made it in Canva. It has a color background or maybe even just white. Anyone else can do the same thing. You don’t need to put your logo on it.
When you WOULD put your logo on it is if you use a photograph that you took yourself, applied a Lightroom preset filter, added various design elements like frame or border to improve it a bit, or it has something unique you designed on it that you don’t want to be lifted. In other words, it’s truly YOUR work, and of value, and you don’t want people to lift it. That would be a case for putting a logo or watermark on the image, should the image not exactly make it clear that it’s your product (like having a book by you in it, or an eBook or workbook).
Rule of thumb for Instagram: only 2 of your images per 9-grid layout view should have your logo on it per 9-grid scroll on your phone. Any more than that is the equivalent of logo vomit.
Rule of thumb for Pinterest: only images that are custom created by you, have expensive styled stock that the creator requests branding on, or that lead back to your website should have your logo or branding identifiers on it. (People like to know what site they’ll be directed to in advance).
Rule of thumb for Facebook: only custom images or expensive purchased styled stock photography should have your logo on it, and should follow the 80/20 Pareto principle.
Rule of thumb for Twitter: same rules as Instagram and Pinterest (only with a 3-tweet scroll – don’t use your logo for each tweet).
Simplify to amplify. – Marie Forleo
Marie Forleo says this best. You have to simplify your platform in order to amplify. The minute you start contemplating creating more groups or more things to manage, is the point where you need to understand the WHY and VALUE behind it. Because it’s going to mean more work. Which dilutes your brand, because you’re not able to focus your time (precious, precious time) on things that could amplify your brand. In other words, you risk spreading yourself thin.
Stop over-branding. It can hurt you. Customers and readers WILL get tired of seeing the same image over and over again (particularly true if you’re putting your logo on everything unnecessarily on basic images). You’ll become a walking billboard for yourself, which is not what you want.
What you DO want is for people to be curious about what you do and offer. What you’ve written. How they’ll benefit. Hitting them over the head with repeated requests for tasks you’ve assigned to them, logo-vomit, the same message over and over again, will net you nothing. Nada.
So check your Instagram feed immediately for logo-vomit, constant self-promotion, and re-evaluate your need for multiple Facebook groups. Remove images that have no purpose or lack the worthiness or need to have your logo on it. Make some adjustments so that you’re serving your audience 80% of the time and yourself 20%. I think you’ll have great success with this!
Also published on Medium.