Your brand is who you are, and if you’re not intentional about the the way you choose to introduce yourself to your audience, you could be scaring them away. Here are five branding mistakes that could be costing you business.

Inconsistency. A lot of branding is about creating a clear identity, and a safe relationship with your audience. If you say you are an expert your branding should say that too. Just like you would feel uneasy about doing business with someone whose words and actions were constantly misaligned, a mis-matched brand that uses inconsistent colors, language, or messaging that keeps changing, can plant a seed of distrust in the mind of your audience that can be difficult to overcome.

Out dated marketing tools. Often a business can be so busy moving forward, they forget to glance behind. It is recommended to perform a comprehensive brand audit every couple of years to ensure you’re keeping up with your customers and your competition. Check your website and marketing materials to make sure all of your plugins are working and up to date. Have your latest customers been added to your mailing list? Have a pow-wow with your team to talk about recent customer feedback and experiences, or ways you can find out what your customers really think. Are you using the latest technology to improve your customer experience? Your market is alive and ever evolving and your customers are growing with it. If you don’t have a plan to stay ahead of the curve you may suddenly find your customers looking elsewhere. Staying up to date will keep you in the know and your fingers on the pulse of your customer base.

Dishonesty.One advantage to a brand audit is that you can help prevent an accidental lie. Do those employees on your website still work for you, are you still in your mid-thirties like your linkedin profile pic says you are, are you still prioritizing environmental sustainability? When it comes to your brand it’s important to ask each year whether the messaging and imagery you’re using is still true. If you’re having trouble connecting with your current customers it could be because your marketing materials and brand messaging are conveying who you used to be.

Bad Design. Your design is the first impression someone has of your business. If you skimped on the graphics, it could suggest that you aren’t credible, you like to cut corners, are inexperienced or cheap. Or if your graphics don’t align with your brand message, you could be conveying dishonesty or inconsistency. Well thought out design is one of the most effective ways to draw customers in by creating a powerful first impression, and keep them coming back by delivering on your brand promise. Businesses whose brand materials say exactly what they want them to say find themselves in the position of having to provide their customers with a reason not to do business with them, not the other way around.

Identity Crisis. If you’ve never defined your brand, your audience already has. You need to know who you are before you can expect your customers to know who you are. If you have no clear logo, no mission or vision, or you change your brand colors on every postcard and email that gets sent out, you have no clear audience. That also means your customers have no idea what to say about you when they refer you. Go back and check out all the places you use your logo, or have created messaging. Then, print them out and lay them side by side. If it all looks and sounds different, chances are you have an identity crisis. Invest in clearly defining your brand, and you will get more of the customers you want, more quickly and with less effort.