When it comes to your company’s brand, fully understanding the consumer experience while observing from an insider-only point-of-view can be a difficult task.  Taking a step back in an attempt to evaluate the brand as an outsider can be equally challenging.  As it turns out, killing your darlings is harder than William Faulkner originally suggested and forgetting first impressions in order to shed bias nears the impossible.  In short, while you may love your all-caps script font logo, it’s safe to say that no one else does.

Ultimately, looking in requires looking out.  Who are they?  What do they want?  (Lower-case script fonts, for starters.)  More importantly, what do they not want?

Generic Social Media Communications

Whether they’re via email or Instagram, generically mass-produced messages are rarely well received.  No one likes to check their email to find an overflowing inbox of impersonal promotions.  Dear Beloved-Cherished-Loyal Customer, etcetera.  And only fellow bots are lured in by spammy social media comments.

Instead, schedule email communications on a monthly-at-most basis.  As for Instagram and other app-based social media platforms, target your audiences based on their interests, not yours.  And, when engaging with a potential client or customer, be personable.  In a world where there’s a computer in every palm, it never hurts to be human.

Inappropriate Responses to Tragedy

Things happen–and the art of capitalizing on human emotion is marketing 101.  Happy people spend more money dining out, inspired people spend more on responsibly designed products, fearful people spend more on home security systems, etcetera.  There is a line, though.  People are not okay with companies capitalizing on trauma.  When a tragedy occurs, it can be tempting for businesses to chime in and express their condolences, but there are some emotions that probably shouldn’t be commodified.

Instead, keep quiet.  The moment of silence is a forgotten art.

Misplaced Advertisements

Advertisements have the ability to present consumers with an intriguing opportunity when targeting the correct audiences.  On the flip side, when an ad is ill-placed, it functions only as an interruptive annoyance.  No one has ever been annoyed into purchasing something.  And, if they have, they certainly didn’t become a returning customer.

Instead, identify your demographic and target your ads toward interested markets.

Outdated Logo Designs

There are plenty of eye-sores in the world: construction sites, traffic jams, Pantone 448C.  Your logo should not be one of them.  Customers don’t care if your nephew created the design in Microsoft Paint back in 1996.  They may be able to tell, but because most logos function as a company’s first impression, the heartwarming origin story won’t add any value.

Instead, consider a professional rebrand that promotes the business’s values and assets through a more contemporary design.

Sloppy Website Design

In 2016, websites not only need to boast an appealing aesthetic, but they also need to do so on multiple platforms.  “Have you tried opening it in Chrome?” shouldn’t be your company’s catchphrase (unless you work for Google, in which case, please make that your catchphrase).  If a website isn’t mobile-friendly or only loads in the browser formerly known as Internet Explorer, you’ve got a problem.

Instead of missing out on a large percentage of potential traffic (and irritating another percentage), ensure that your website is easily accessible on all contemporary platforms from Safari mobile to Microsoft’s rechristened Edge.