I discovered that many small firms are discovering branding as the new formula to success. The understand that having a nice logo and a coherent branding helps them to build a trustful relation to their clients. To make it short - a small firm can look professional and bigger with a good branding. But too much branding can hurt. Why? We seen this online all the time. Small 1-man firms build have a great website and you think you are communicating/buying/... with a corporation - not a small business.
The big mistake many small firms make with branding is, that they think that the more branding they do, the better it is. It mostly happens when they expand into a new business area. Sometimes the name of the firm does not reflect the new area and they expand into a new brand as well.
This is not a good idea, as you weaken your established brand. It is already an effort for small sized (and even medium sized) businesses to maintain "one" brand. In the screenshot above you can see an example of heavy overbranding. It is a small advertising agency with online and offline departments. As you can see each "department" has received it's own brand (even with brand in its name - how ironic). This does not only look bad, but it's not in their best interest. Who are they? Are they one or are they many - and if I call them how do they respond?
Especially if you are a service oriented firm this overbranding does not make sense. Even if you think that your brand name is tied to a business area you are better off investing in your established brand or do you think that Apple should have changed their name when they entered the music selling business?