Before we dive into Brand Consistency, let’s remind ourselves what a brand is. Or better yet, what is not.
A brand is not a logo, and it’s not a product. It’s not even the promises that a person, business, product, or company makes. For all our advertising gurus, it’s not even the sum of all the impressions a company makes on their audience. A brand isn’t even what the founder or the creators say that it is. Clients often assume it’s a checklist of items: the logo, an ad campaign, collateral, or messaging. Unfortunately, my friend, none of those are a brand either.
Ok, then…what is a brand?!
A brand is more comparable to a reputation. It’s what others perceive of a person, business, product, or company. Many of the variables mentioned earlier are involved in helping shape a brand. For example, a visual language often is created to help people associate with the brand and is composed of the logo, colors, typography, photography, illustrations, and iconography. Well-crafted messaging can help convey how people should perceive the brand. But there are other aspects that aren’t as apparent.
Since most of our clients are small businesses, we'll use a business and customers as an example of moving a brand forward. Still, it is imperative to know that a brand is not strictly related to a business or customers. Just know that when we speak of a brand, it’s not relegated only to a business or customer. A brand is what a customer thinks about a business. So anything that influences their thoughts about that business will shape the perception of a brand.
What has the business achieved? What is the culture of the company? What are the people of that business-like? How do they treat others? How do they speak to others? How does the customer feel about the business? As a social media marketing company, these are some of the behind-the-scenes questions we are asking when we develop a business’ identity, posts, or ad campaigns.
What is branding consistency?
Branding consistency is how a business delivers and maintains messages centered on its brand identity and core values. It should be the backbone of marketing content like logos, images, copy, and follow brand guidelines.
Why is it important to be consistent?
The reality is that brands are highly malleable. Being inconsistent can create distrust in your customer base and damage a business. But, on the other hand, effective branding can launch businesses into the world of success. For example, Marty Neumeier, a prominent author and brand strategist, has a story about effectively applying brand strategy so that he was able to bring Apple, in the early years, a 40% increase in sales across 15 products without requiring Apple to change their product.
Over time, companies consistent with their branding and messaging have become hallmarks of our modern culture. Companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Apple have become so familiar to people that simply by seeing a twin-tailed mermaid, red and yellow arches, or a simple apple with a bite taken out, people will quickly think of... well, you can fill in the blank. Messaging plays a factor as well. If I were to say a one-liner like “I’m lovin’ it;” “Got Milk;” “Just Do It;” or “I pity the fool,” immediately those statements evoke associations to a brand.
It’s paramount that we create a consistent look and feel across all avenues of communication to help reinforce branding. This is known as brand positioning. Who is the business comparable to? How does the company stand out? What is the language or the voice of the business? All of those elements should be consistent.
It’s the consistency that helps promote how memorable a business is, and with time, consistent effort, and proper knowledge, your business can become a household name like Tupperware or Keurig. Having an experienced and professional team who will partner with you in delivering consistent content will help your business carve out a niche in its market and build a trusted name that people will identify, engage with, and even become loyal customers or followers.