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What is Bad Branding
Digital Marketing

What is Bad Branding and How It Can Destroy Your Business

Andrew Paul 

Nowadays, people are aware of what’s happening in the world on their phones, so making your brand a household name and avoiding common bad branding mistakes is essential. There are millions of brands online, and the competition is only getting more intense. So, having a unique and easily recognizable brand becomes your primary advantage. 

Smart branding strategy creates a huge impact on brands and separates them from the chaos of the market. It enhances their ability and creates a separate space that makes their consumers fall in love with them. As per a recent survey, 89% of consumers remain loyal to brands that hold values close to their hearts, which shows how important it is to create a strong bond with consumers.

Let’s take an example of famous brands such as Apple and Nike. These brands have done an exceptional job in terms of branding. Apple represents functionality, progression and perfection, while Nike represents success and motivation. Their consistent and powerful branding efforts have made them leaders in their respective industries.

This article will discuss how bad branding can spoil your marketing strategy and its future impacts. We will also discuss the effect of worst branding on customer loyalty and how to avoid some common mistakes in your plan. Anyone, from a beginner entrepreneur to a marketing specialist, must learn the stakes of failure in branding, no matter if it’s a small shop or a well-known brand. 

What is Branding?

Before discussing band branding, it is important to know what branding means. Branding involves creating a unique image of a brand, product, or service that connects with consumers. It involves visual elements, brand story, brand message, and the way to deliver it, which makes your brand presence memorable. 

Effective branding helps build a strong, positive perception of a brand, creating loyalty and trust among customers. However, bad branding can make even your repetitive consumers lose interest, which directly impacts your sales, credibility, and lower ROI (Return On Investment).

Bad branding

Main Pillars of Branding

There are four essential components to brand building. All of them are super important, and they decide how a brand looks and what impact it can create on consumers. Also, working on these elements sets your brand’s future, whether it will create a buzz in marketing or make your brand another example of worst branding. 

Here are the main elements of branding: 

  • Logo and Visual Identity

The logo is the first thing that people notice about your brand. So, it must be unique, easily recognizable, and show your brand personality. Logos include elements such as colour, font, and other graphic elements. 

Visual identity also includes colour schemes, typography, and imagery, which should be consistent across all platforms and materials.

  • Brand Voice and Messaging

Brand voice is like choosing a tone to communicate with your audience. It might be funky, professional, sarcastic, or creative. No matter what your brand voice is, it must be consistent across all channels, such as TV ads, newspapers, social media platforms, or a brand website. 

Messaging is like what you want your audience to know about you. It can be your brand story, vision, mission, or anything else. Messaging plays an important role in shaping your brand perception in the audience’s mind. 

  • Brand Consistency

Being consistent creates a significant impact more than you think. You are making your brand consistent, meaning all elements, from visuals to messaging, should work together to create harmony. It may not create an immediate effect on your brand, but trust us, it can do wonders over time. 

If you work on making your brand consistent, you build strong recognition and trust among your audience. However, incontinence can lead to negative branding, where consumers have mixed reviews about your brand and may need clarification about shopping from you or finding an alternative. 

By understanding and implementing these elements effectively, brands can avoid the pitfalls of bad branding and create a strong, cohesive identity that resonates with their audience.

So What is Bad Branding? 

It is a situation where a branding strategy won’t work and fails to impress the target audience. Bad branding can result from multiple factors, such as a poor strategy for communicating with the audience, not-that-impressive brand visuals, and much more. A lack of perfect branding moves may mislead consumers, break their trust, and even turn any big brand into dust overnight. 

Signs of Worst Branding Strategy

1)Inconsistent Messaging

This is where the brand sends mixed signals, where their communication differs from platform to platform. This can create confusion in consumers’ minds about what the brand stands for and promises. 

For example, a brand that prides itself on being green and organic yet has non-recyclable packaging will create confusion and boredom as the masses disengage.

2)Poor Visual Design

Branding can only be completed by using the best and most impressive visuals. Visual design, such as low-quality logos, unappealing colour schemes, and cluttered graphics, can make a brand appear professional and reliable. A well-designed visual identity is essential for creating a memorable and positive experience. 

3)No Clear Identity

A brand that does not clearly define its identity, services, and values is like shooting itself in the foot. This can destroy your brand image for consumers as they can’t decide how they can associate themselves with the brand. 

This means that a lack of clear identity can lead to negative branding. The audience is lost when the brand image is either confusing or confusing.

Even Big Brands have made Example of Poor Branding

A real-life example of bad branding is the 2017 Pepsi commercial with Kendall Jenner. The advertisement was heavily criticized for erasing social injustice struggles and caused a backlash that harmed Pepsi’s brand image. 

Another example is the 2010 Gap logo redesign, which attracted negative attention and caused Gap to return the old logo within one week. 

These two scenarios demonstrate the dangers of the worst branding strategy, as it takes little time for the public sentiment to turn and for consumers to lose trust.

However, if these common mistakes are ignored or practised, brands will not achieve good branding, and hence, the target audience will not understand what the business stands for.

How Poor Brandings Spoils Online Reputation

Worst branding can cause far-reaching consequences on online reputation, such as loss of consumer trust, brand perception in social media and overall market position.

How Bad Branding Affects Consumer Trust

  • Confusion and Doubt: Inconsistent messaging or poor visual design can confuse consumers, undermining their loyalty to the brand’s credibility and reliability.
  • Loss of Confidence: When a brand fails to deliver on its promises or misleadingly presents itself, consumers may lose confidence in the capabilities of that particular brand to meet their requirements or fulfil their expectations.
  • Negative Reviews and Feedback: Unsatisfied Customers are more likely to leave negative reviews, further damaging the brand’s reputation while scaring away the ones deciding whether to buy or not.

The Role of Social Media in Brand Perception

  • Amplification of Branding Mistakes: Social media platforms allow consumers to share their opinions and experiences with a brand. Any negative branding missteps can quickly go viral, amplifying the negative impact on the brand’s reputation.
  • Brand Visibility and Engagement: A strong presence on social media is crucial for achieving its goal. Poorly managed or inconsistent brands might reduce engagement levels among people using social media while giving them a wrong picture concerning the entity involved.
  • Opportunity for Damage Control: On the flip side, social media also allows brands to address bad branding issues promptly and transparently. Effective communication and genuine efforts to rectify mistakes can help mitigate the damage to the brand’s reputation.
poor branding

Bad Brands Examples

New brands mostly make blunders as they need to gain more expertise on how branding works. However, some big fishes create branding campaigns, which are the best examples of failures. Here are two of them: 


In 2009, Tropicana decided to rebrand its packaging from classic orange with a straw image to a modern and minimalist look. However, the audience didn’t connect with the new design, resulting in a drastic sales drop. 

But What Went Wrong?

Since the audience connected with Tropicna’s classic packaging, it was hard for them to recognize the new packaging on store shelves. Tropicana’s repackaging has changed its overall look, and this drastic change has confused its loyal customers at stores. 

There was a connection between customer loyalty and the packaging, which was totally damaged after rebranding. Because of all of this, Tropicana has lost its visual identity. If there is a list of famous brands with bad branding, Tropicana can be at the top of the list. 

New Coke

In 1985, Coca-Cola introduced its new product, “New Coke,” which was a reformulation of its famous soft drink. This idea was to compete directly with its competitor, Pepsi. However, this idea has faced backlash from its consumers, who refused to accept New Coke and wanted their favourite old taste back.

Why Consumers Rejected New Coke? 

Coca-Cola underestimated the emotional bond between its old-formulated drink and its consumers. The decision to change its drink formula for fans is the same as Coca-Cola betraying them. Coca-Cola fans didn’t like this new idea at all, and within 79 days, they brought back the old-formulated drink to satisfy their consumers again. 

So, branding is about more than just increasing your sales and getting maximum recognition. If you do branding smartly, it can create a strong bond between your product and audience. By understanding these famous examples, new businesses can learn from others’ mistakes and can make themselves more consistent and beloved by their audience and most importantly, they can recognize the pitfalls of negative branding. 

Examples of Bad Brands

No business is immune to bad branding, not even those that are big and renowned in the market. Poor strategy choices, inconsistent communications, and a failure to focus on the consumer’s preferences can lead to branding disasters that negatively impact a business’s reputation.

Highlight of Notorious Examples


  • Blackberry: Blackberry was once considered one of the best brands in manufacturing mobile technology, but due to a lack of innovation and failure to adapt to change, it completely disappeared from the market.
  • Blockbuster: Overlooking the appreciation of technological trends, especially streaming services, Blockbuster was a tale of a company that failed to follow market trends.
  • MySpace: As a social media giant, MySpace failed to capture new grounds with emerging media such as Facebook, resulting in a rapid decline.

Businesses that Disappeared Due to Bad Brand Names 

A good brand name is crucial since it helps create the first impressive impression. It should represent the essence of the brand and be aligned with the brand’s values and attributes, which will be attractive to the target audience. However, there are some examples of how bad brand names have caused businesses to sink.

Some of the Worse Brand Name Ideas

  • Chevy Nova: In Spanish, ‘Nova’ means ‘does not go’, which does not inspire and has an unappealing impact on Latin American markets.
  • Colgate’s Cue: In France, the word “Cue” is also associated with a risqué magazine,  leading to an unfortunate association.

Impact of Having a Bad Brand Name to Audience

A poor branding choice, such as an inappropriate or confusing name, can lead to negative consumer perceptions, reducing brand trust and marketability.

Some Brands with Bad Reputation

There could be multiple reasons that can make any brand known for its bad reputation including poor customer service, any controversy, unethical practices, and failure to adapt market changes. 

Some examples of brands that have suffered the loss of reputation are:

  1. Wells Fargo: It was hit by scandals involving fraudulent accounts and some unethical practices that affected its image.
  2. Uber: Issues linked to corporate culture problems, regulation issues, and data hacks are some of the external factors tarnishing Uber’s reputation.

By acknowledging these brands, new businesses can understand how a single mistake or blunder can greatly impact any brand’s reputation.

Common Bad Branding Mistakes to Avoid

To set your brand apart from the crowded market, businesses have the solution to how to make themselves unique in the eyes of their customers. 

Even if you have the best plan, a single mistake can lead to a worse situation; for that, here are the common mistakes that you should avoid in your branding. 

  • Inconsistent Messaging: Brands that fail to maintain a consistent voice across all channels may confuse their consumers and damage their unique identity. 
  • Not Focusing on Customer Feedback: The main purpose of any brand is to serve its audience well. But if a brand doesn’t notice its audience’s opinion, it could damage its reputation and miss a great opportunity to connect with its audience and create a strong brand. 
  • Poor Visual Design: Sometimes, visuals speak louder than words. This is why brands should consider that their visuals must connect with their targeted audience. Visuals that can’t appeal are one of the major factors of poor branding, and it can’t help to make a separate space in your audience’s heart.
negative branding

Strategies To Avoid Branding Mistakes

  • Consistency Is Key: Your brand must be consistent across all platforms, whether it is your visuals, online presence, or way of connecting with your audience. 
  • Make a Strong Bond with Your Audience: Don’t just sell to your audience; connect with them. The best way to connect with your audience is to act not just as a brand but also to cater to their needs, respond to them, and help them out with their queries until they are satisfied. 
  • Make your Visuals Hard to Forget: Brand image plays a major role in increasing or decreasing sales and growth, so make sure you put all your efforts into it. Talk with professional designers, hire them, and create and design your brand image to make it easy for your consumers to remember. 
  • Always Measure Your Performance: Always monitor your progress. Track your performance on your social media accounts, online reviews of your customers, replies on your post and much more. By doing this, you can find a gap that can be filled and make your brand more loveable for your consumers. 

By avoiding these mistakes and following our suggested remedies for some poor branding mistakes, you can become the next big name in the market that the audience will love. 


It is vital for businesses to understand the effects of bad branding to prevent online reputation and consumer trust. By using the strategies mentioned above and avoiding some common mistakes, brands can build a more solid identity and put themselves in the good books of consumers.

Continuous brand identity, extending brand interaction with customers, and focusing on brand identity design are the key elements for successful brand development.

To run a brand in modern society, be real, consider the consumer, and keep experimenting according to new market trends. It is time to learn from branding mistakes to bring your brand into the future and connect with your customers.


What is bad branding? 

Bad branding refers to inconsistencies or poor choices in a company’s branding efforts that can harm its reputation and consumer perception.

How does bad branding affect consumers?

Bad branding can lead to mistrust, confusion, and a negative perception of a company’s credibility and reliability.

Why is consistency important in branding?

Consistency ensures that brand message and image design are easily recognizable across all the channels to increase credibility.

How can businesses recover from branding mistakes?

The businesses can try to get back into the market through the evaluation of brands, being sincere to the consumers and even revamping the brand image that they wish to portray to the consumers.

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