Branding is the only way you will stand out in a competitive and crowded marketplace. More than this, it’s what makes your business unique. However, for branding to be successful, it needs to become something integral to every business action. Consistency is the key to brand success. This is the mantra that all marketing and branding representatives should have in mind at all times.
So, let’s take some time to explore what we mean by brand consistency. Why does it matter and most importantly, how you can improve your brand consistency.
What is brand consistency?
It’s all about ensuring that every time a customer interacts with your company, they have the same type of experience. Everything from the look of the content, the tone of the message and the colour scheme should remain consistent. The consistency should be built around the core values of your brand.
Why is brand consistency important?
Consistency is essential because human beings are creatures of habit. We like to know what to expect. When you walk into your local supermarket, you feel comfortable that you know where to find everything. If the layout changed every time you visited, you’d probably go somewhere else before long.
When you are consistent with your customers, you are building trust. They know what to expect when they interact with you, and that makes them feel comfortable.
Recognition is also pretty high on the list of why brand consistency is important. If customers can’t recognise your company and your product at a glance, then you have a problem. You aren’t going to keep your customers. By being consistent in your use of visuals and messaging, you are building a connection with your customers.
Before you can gain recognition, you need to build awareness. Before the average person becomes aware of your brand, they may have to see you as many as 15 times. If your message does not look the same each time you get in front of your customer; you may as well be starting from scratch. Each time you pop up in their field of vision, you are building awareness, as long as you look the same every time.
How do I improve my brand consistency?
There are a few key steps that you can take to build consistency.
Create and follow brand guidelines
If you don’t already have one, you should take the time to create a brand style guide. This is a set of guidelines that define your brand’s voice. It should focus on ensuring that all your messaging aligns with your core values and goals.
Without these guidelines, your messaging can feel confusing and uncertain. This gives your brand its one clear voice. Effective brand guidelines should answer questions like – “What font do we use?” “What colours represent us?” and “What are the features of the images we use?”.
Have a consistent internal culture
Building brand consistency isn’t just about having a focus on the outward-facing aspects of your company. Every message that you share inside the company shapes your culture and will impact on your brand. Your employees will pick up on the values of your brand from your internal systems.
To have a genuinely consistent brand, you need every member of your team to be singing from the same song sheet. This process starts with on-boarding and then is reinforced by every message you share in your teams.
A good rule of thumb is to assume that anything you say inside your company will be repeated to your customers. This will keep you focused on your fundamental values. It also ensures that your brand message is never diluted or twisted.
Create content with brand awareness
When you develop content for your brand, you need to do so with two goals in mind. One of them is to engage your customers by offering something of value. The other purpose should be to reinforce your branding. This means using your style guidelines, sticking to an appropriate colour scheme, and using high-quality brand images.
Every time you put anything out into the world, it should be seen as another opportunity to build your brand further.
Create branded everything
This follows on from the previous step. Make life easy for your team. Create a branded set of everything for every platform. Make sure that you have brand images in the correct format for any platform. Provide easy access to branded slide decks, branded letterheads and templates for external communications.
Make sure that all printing of materials goes through a single person to keep everything in line with the brand guidelines. You want your branding to be on everything, so make sure it looks good and is easy to do.
Is brand consistency really beneficial?
There are definite advantages to be gained. Consistent branding can push your marketing to the next level and increase your returns on the money you put into marketing.
To realise this, all you need to do is consider some of the more successful brands. For example – Vegemite. If you see something with the combination of certain shades of red and yellow, you probably start thinking of Vegemite. Without seeing a logo or even a shape or product. The colour alone is enough to get you thinking of the brand. That is truly effective marketing.
Another tangible benefit of brand consistency comes from the way it builds recognition. If a customer recognises that they’ve seen a brand before they instantly begin to trust it more.
By continually pushing your brand identity, you are building trust with your customers even without them trying your product. This might sound odd, but it is rooted in the fact the purchasing decisions are more about emotion than logic. You can think about building your brand as a way of building your relationship with your customers.
Being consistent in your brand message is a great way to carve out your unique identity. You push the thing that makes you different to the competition. The more you say it, the more it gets lodged in your customers’ minds. Consistent messaging is how you take control of the narrative about your brand.
How does rebranding affect brand consistency?
If you are in the process of or planning for a rebranding campaign, then you need to nail down your consistency before moving forward. Rebranding is nor undertaken lightly, and it is usually done with a specific goal in mind. It might be to re-engage customers, to address a change in the business direction or because of external pressures. Whichever the reason behind the rebranding it will only be truly successful if you replace the old identity with the new one in a short period.
To change your customers’ expectations of your brand can only be achieved with a wholehearted embrace of consistency. This means having a clear new brand identity in mind before you start. It means having a laser-like focus on the goal your rebrand is going to achieve, and hammering away at the message until it gets through the noise of your old branding.
Popular questions related to branding consistency
Now that we’ve nailed down the basics lets delve into some related questions that may have sprung to mind.
Why is brand consistency relevant in social media?
Social media is undeniably a part of any marketing strategy. The bigger your company grows the more social media streams you will need to swim in. As your customers also flit from different forums, they need to be able to recognise you wherever they find you. Your branding should be consistent and high quality across all platforms you choose to use.
This can present some challenges as you may need to create platform-specific graphics and pictures to maximise the effect of each platform. You need to give a consistent level of attention to detail on each platform. Even if it means reformatting your content. When placed next to each other, all your social media should be of consistent quality and messaging.
The other consideration is your use of influencers. They can be a powerful tool, but you need to take the utmost care when selecting ones to represent your brand. You need to be sure that everything they produce will harmonise with your branding.
For example, if part of your branding is on sustainability, then don’t align yourself with an influencer who regularly jets around the world. It creates an inconsistency in your message and weakens your brand.
What is the key to a unique brand?
Creating a distinctive brand can be a challenging task. It is not uncommon to look at one brand and be reminded of something you’ve seen before. Avoiding this effect relies on meticulous and detailed planning. The first step in creating your unique brand is identifying a narrow identity of your target customer. You can’t appeal to everyone. You need to decide who your brand is for. Once you know this, you have the starting point.
Once you know who you are selling yourself to, you need to decide on what your key message to them is. What is it that you want them to know. The combination of these pieces of information is the basis of your unique brand.
Ready to get started?
At branding agency Liquid Creativity, our brand experts are here to help you, wherever you are in your branding journey. Whether you’re just getting started, considering a full rebrand strategy or need help bolstering the consistency of your brand with powerful and detailed brand guidelines, we’re here to help. We’d love to chat more about what you’re looking for, Reach out to us today to book your first branding consultation.