It’s hard to overstate the importance of your brand. It’s the face of your company – what people picture and relate to when they think of your business. Your brand not only shapes people’s first impression of your business, it will also influence them in terms of whether they return to you or shop elsewhere.
With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that brand consistency is a key part of most marketing strategies. If your brand was inconsistent, customers may find it difficult to fully engage with your business, and may like some aspects of your brand, while disagreeing with others. Brand consistency entails keeping the way you present your organisation to the world the same across all marketing channels.
Brand consistency is essential, as it will hopefully lead to brand recognition, which in turn should result in increased sales and revenue. When customers recognise your brand, and like what they see, they will often remain loyal to your brand. If they really engage with the brand and your values, these customers may even become brand advocates, telling others about what you have to offer. This will be easier for them to do if they can easily recall the qualities and aspects of your brand.
Let’s look at Starbucks as an example of brand consistency. They always use the same colour palette across their locations, as well as the same identifiable logo. You may not realise that the layout of their coffee shops are also consistent, as are the customer service practices. But if any of this were to change, like one shop using a blue rather than green version of the Starbucks logo, and putting long benches into the store in the style of Wagamama, you probably would no longer recognise the brand as Starbucks. You may therefore not frequent this store anymore, and could be hesitant to recommend it to others.
Essentially, brand consistency is about attracting customers, and then keeping them. You want people to engage with your business through your brand, and then stay loyal to your organisation.
In terms of keeping your brand consistent, one of the best things you can do is create a set of brand guidelines. That way, you will be less likely to stray from your brand message or appearance. These guidelines are basically a set of rules which you can refer back to should you be unsure about the look or feel of your brand.
When creating your brand guidelines, there are a few things you should consider, such as your audience, your look, and your message. We’ve explored each of these in more detail below:
When you’re thinking about your brand, the first consideration should be your audience. Whatever you design, from your logo to your products themselves, you need to keep your audience in mind, as they are who you are trying to reach and engage with. If you were to base your brand on things that you liked, but didn’t appeal to your audience, you’re unlikely to have a successful business strategy!
There are a number of attributes that you should consider in regards to your audience, such as their age, average income, profession, geographic location, and their shopping habits. It may be a good idea to create audience personas, and then target each of these in turn.
In terms of the look of your brand, this will be made up of various elements. Your logo, for instance, has to be considered, as well as your colour palette. With the former, this needs to be instantly recognisable, and different enough from that of your competitors to stand out. Think about some of the biggest brands out there, and their logo – is there any aspect of these logos that make them distinct? Can you carry this over to your own logo?
When it comes to your colour palette, there has been a fair amount of research conducted into which colours evoke what feelings. For example, blue is said to represent stability, and can bring feelings of calmness, while orange represents enthusiasm and energy.
Other things to think about when designing your brand look include the fonts you use, as well as the images. Generally, companies use a primary and secondary typeface that complement each other and your brand. A corporate organisation probably wouldn’t choose a sans serif font, with big bubble letters, as it wouldn’t tie in with the rest of their brand image. And when it comes to imagery, these will need to align with your brand too. Would photographs, cartoons, sketches, or technical drawings suit your brand?
While the most important thing here is your tone and the voice of your brand, you should also consider things like how often you communicate with your audience. Dynamic, fast-paced companies may send out frequent newsletters, and be posting across various social media platforms on a daily basis. But if a more conservative business were to try this approach, they may just end up irritating their audience.
When thinking about the voice and tone of your organisation, these will need to align with your industry and the products you offer. A fun, playful tone would work well for a business catering to children, whereas it would feel out of place on the website of a financial institution.
Once you have created a set of brand guidelines, you can then concentrate on brand consistency, for both your old content and anything new you create. There are three main strategies you can use here – organising your marketing assets, evaluating your message, and recycling your content.
This is particularly important for larger marketing teams. If one group of people is in charge of creating videos, while another team focuses on product or packaging design, they may not be consistent in their branding. So you need to organise all of your marketing assets, bringing them together in one central location. That way, you can see what all of your assets have in common, and where any assets need to be amended so that they better reflect your brand.
Consider Your Message
When you publish any content, you have to keep your brand in mind at all times. This is generally pretty straightforward when it comes to website content, but can be a bit more tricky on social media platforms. When individuals post on social media, they will often discuss a range of topics, and let the world know what they are thinking and feeling. Businesses don’t have this luxury – your posts need to reflect your brand, from the written copy to the colour palette.
There is no need to completely reinvent your brand every time you produce content. If you have found that a particular piece of content has worked well for you previously, it’s worth tweaking it slightly and reusing it. Your current audience will get a feeling of familiarity, while new potential customers are likely to engage with something that has successfully resonated with other people.