Next to differentiation, consistency is the second most important principle of branding. Brand consistency is the secret to brand success. With enough repetition, the brand is ingrained in the customer’s mind, preferably linked to things that matter to them.
If you alter or continually make subtle changes to the overall look or messaging of the brand, the important linkages and associations are likely to break down and the brand is at risk of being lost or forgettable.
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is where a business attempts to communicate messages in a way which doesn’t detract or wander away from the core brand strategy, values and foundation. This means the brand’s messaging is delivered in the same tone, the logo is always used in a similar way, a single typeface is used for all brand communications and typography and colour are consistent.
Every brand touchpoint and piece of marketing material is like a member of the same family, supporting and even looking similar to all the other members in the family. The brand has its own style which enables the target audience to recognize it and differentiate it from the competition.
Long-term benefits of Brand Consistency
Branding has long-term benefits. Many leading brands have held their position for years. These leaders have pursued a high degree of brand consistency in visual, verbal and tactile communications across the markets they choose to compete in. These brands deliver a largely consistent customer experience, supported by an integrated marketing effort. There is little doubt that the most successful brands historically have communicated and delivered a high level of consistency.
This being said, Branding is not just about applying a logo in a consistent manner and having the right Pantone colours. It is about ensuring that all the messaging of all communications materials are always on brand. Even the way the copy is written should be written in the light of the brand messaging. The way the website is built, the quality of paper used in printed materials and Social Media profiles – all of these points should be consistent because if they’re not, it will cause consumers to lose trust in the brand.
This commitment to consistency can be supported by the notion that the typical consumer requires at least seventeen impressions of a brand before considering a purchase. Brand managers therefore must subscribe to the theory that it’s critical for the brand impressions to be consistent and clear. The risk is that the brand will require more communication investment because prospective consumers may confuse association.
80% of brands believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8% of their customers agree.
Brand Evolution VS. Brand Inconsistency
Each day, your brand is interacted with many times. These interactions gives insight into whether the brand is competitively differentiated, highly relevant, and appropriately consistent. If properly assessed and acted upon, brand owners and managers can continuously ensure growth of the brand for competitive advantage.
Customer preferences, competitive landscapes and market conditions are incredibly dynamic and refreshing your brand is the most strategic of responsibilities. This process is incredibly consuming tactically, given the attention required to manage the numerous details. The professional branding studio must determine what cannot change and what should change. This constant struggle allows for clearer articulation, more creative presentation and delivery of differential value, but never deters from the core brand values. This is the essence of great branding.
Nearly anyone can enforce or create brand guidelines, but only truly strategic and creative professionals drive evolution and innovation.
At Straydog we are brand guardians. We are your long-term design partner, who ensures that your branding is kept consistent across all brand communications.
We offer strategic and multi-disciplined design services including branding, graphic design, web deign and social media to ensure that your brands values are consistently applied and fit in with the long term strategy of your business. The sooner your brand takes a serious approach to consistency, the sooner you will profit from increased relevance, differentiation, and influence.
Article by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog
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