Your business’ branding is like a fingerprint: It is an infallible way to identify your company by the way it communicates with its audience. Your branding makes you stand out in your customers’ minds, giving your business a personality that people can identify with and in doing so sets the stage for future sales. Brand consistency has a big influence on your brand’s overall success. But what can you do to ensure a consistent brand presence? Here is what you need to know about brand consistency and how to successfully share your message with consumers!In today’s post we’ll be covering the following:
- What is branding?
- What is brand consistency?
- The impacts of inconsistent branding
- How to ensure brand consistency?
What is Branding?
“Branding is the immediate and visceral reaction you have to any product or service, and what you believe it communicates about you [...] to others.”
- Jon Gieselman
Branding is about more than just creating a logo: It is a marketing practice that involves actively shaping your brand using distinctive features such as brand voice, visual design features and more. Your advertising efforts should complement and reinforce your business’ core message and values. Inconsistent branding makes it harder for people to trust you. The more consistent your branding, be it via your words, design choices or product and service offers, the greater your customers’ confidence in you, and the more recognisable your company becomes.
Branding is critical to your business because of the overall impact it can have:
- It makes you easily identifiable and more memorable.
- It helps build trust and loyalty in your business.
- It helps you distinguish yourself from your competitors.
- It gives your company more leverage in the industry.
- It helps create a more reputable workplace.
What is Brand Consistency?
Brand consistency or brand cohesion is all about consistently delivering brand messaging that is in line with your brand identity, values, and strategy.How you communicate your brand can greatly affect your customer’s decision-making process. Brand consistency means your audience is being exposed to messaging, visual branding, and other brand elements are in tune with your brand, across all platforms and channels.
“Branding gives consumers a sense of comfort and safety – they feel they know what they are getting when they purchase something from a certain company.”
- Dr Lauren Rosewarne, University of Melbourne
The Impact of Inconsistent Branding
Inconsistent branding confuses your audience. If your communications are ‘off-brand’’ or worse, you’re still following a “spray and pray” approach without a proper marketing strategy or branding guidelines, you’re most likely confusing your audience and distracting from your core message. Inconsistent branding can have a range of damaging effects that are tough to recover from. Let’s say, for example, that you’re posting social media content that isn’t in line with your brand. When your content is suddenly inconsistent, you break with the idea that your customers had of you. It may even cause disinterest in your products and services if you’re misrepresenting your brand entirely.Inconsistent branding may negatively influence the perception of your brand. If you do not value authenticity, honesty and transparency, it’ll be much less likely for you to convert. The same holds true for branding that’s inconsistent across communication methods. The lack of consistency can seem careless and unprofessional and may have a negative impact on your customers' perception of your brand. It’s a missed opportunity to resonate with your audience and to create a strong brand image. Inconsistent branding makes it harder for customers to trust you.Why is that? Well, inconsistent branding makes it harder for people to verify the authenticity of your communications. And what matters most in your marketing efforts is exactly that: Authenticity. In this day and age, you can expect your audience to be watching your every move. When you fail to achieve authenticity in your marketing, expect to be met with cold shoulders. Instead, you need to make sure to always stay true to your brand.
How to Ensure Brand Consistency
Keeping your branding consistent across channels involves clear branding guidelines and knowing your target audience, their values, wants and needs. You want to be specific and ensure that your message is clearly understood and consistent. Simply put: Ask yourself, what does your audience expect from a brand like yours?There are many aspects of brand consistency to consider:
- Branding guidelines: Also called a brand guide, they are essentially a rule book on how to communicate your brand. Your guidelines cover your entire brand identity, including logos, colour palettes, typography, imagery, voice and tone and more. Having branding guidelines that can be followed when designing new communications, is essential to keeping your branding consistent no matter where it shows up.
Your team and brand ambassadors need to closely follow your branding guidelines: When your reputation depends on the quality of your content, you should ensure that every communication aligns with your brand. Every time you publish something it must align with your brand personality, so make sure that your staff knows where to find them and schedule regular reviews to ensure your guidelines are being correctly applied.
- Brand values: Any marketing initiatives, from your daily social media and PPC efforts to holiday email marketing campaigns, need to accurately reflect your brand values. Corporate social responsibilities and ethics are one aspect of your branding. Customers notice the smallest inconsistencies. Yet, brand values are often overlooked in brand management, which can directly affect the impression potential customers have of your brand.
- Brand messaging: How does your company sound? The tone of your writing and how you address your audience must be consistent across all platforms. The language you use can have a significant impact on your audience depending on how they perceive your tone and use of language. So ask yourself, how do you sound to customers? Casual? Calm?
- Brand collateral: Don’t forget that first impression last. Even things as trivial as fonts and colours should be consistent across all platforms. Use your logo and design elements consistently and wisely across your website, publications, your web copy, as well as blog and social media posts. Colours, graphics, images and phrases are powerful visual tools that convey a lot about a brand. They are the face of your brand and can have an immediate impact on your customer base.
Brand Consistency in a Nutshell
Brand consistency and strong brand guidelines help to establish a positive brand sentiment. A consistent brand image and messaging build trust between your company and its customers. Whilst it’s easy to get distracted by emerging marketing trends, consumers value this kind of consistency.Consistency and authenticity are essential factors in the decision-making process. Without that feeling of familiarity, your customers are a lot more likely to consider your competitors and you will likely miss out on sales. Brand consistency helps with awareness and brand identification, but more importantly: It is the basis for positive and long-lasting customer relationships.If you’re looking for a branding and digital marketing expert to help you leverage brand consistency, the team at Anchor Digital is here for you! Get in touch with us today!