August 21, 2018 • digitalmedia • Branding • Comments Off on Benefits of Consistent Branding
Your brand doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s work, and it takes time. Over the life of your business, your brand is in a continuous process of growth and change from the inside, while from the outside your brand morphs and adjusts over time to become that perfect representation of your ethos and goals.
Change, however, doesn’t mean inconsistency. A solid, consistent brand allows for plenty of growth without getting off track. Here’s why a consistent brand is so important.
Brands grow, businesses change, employees turn over, you gain clients, you lose clients, you change location. Your brand reflects where you want to go, but also the kind of company you are now. Any brand requires experimenting to get established and reach its full potential. Finally, if the time comes for rebranding, a new vision needs to replace or supplement the old. All of this means change.
The trick is, this must all be done with no confusing remainder. A consistent brand means that there are no former stages of your brand still lingering in uninspected corners of your marketing plan. Your website, business cards, letterhead, employee training, phone etiquette, office decor—whatever is included in branding—must participate in the same message. This is paramount.
Why? Changes can be more or less messy, but to capture your desired marketing ROI, you must remain focused. Muddled or inconsistent imagery or messaging means your marketing strategy has lost focus somewhere, and the thread leading from one strategic element to another has been cut. “Loose ends” imply that the structure or weave isn’t intact. A lack of total integrity in your marketing plan means that you’re not making the most of your time, money, and resources, and not capturing your ideal ROI.
ROI also has to do with revenue, and revenue is directly linked to growth. It’s hard to grow without a consistent brand because only a consistent brand provides a unified message to prospects and clients across all channels. Clients and prospects have to know what you’re about, and that has to be clearly communicated no matter where they come into contact with your brand.
A consistent brand is a sign that a company has their “whys” in order. Each part of their branding strategy is functioning as part of a larger whole, and there is purpose behind it. This does not happen with an inconsistent, confusing, or muddled brand.
Consistency bespeaks confidence. It also says to prospects and clients that you’re organized, effective, self-aware, attentive to detail, and care enough about your reputation and identity to present yourself in a consistent manner. A consistent brand is attractive to prospects, and it keeps clients.
Pretend you are interviewing for a job. You may be the very best candidate in the bunch, but if there are spelling mistakes in your resume, or if you show up for an interview in an Oxford shirt that’s only been ironed on one side and is deeply wrinkled on the other, your “brand” inconsistency, so to speak, is a distraction from your real qualifications.
Every prospect who encounters your brand is “interviewing” you in the blink of an eye. If looking good and presenting a unified message is important in a forty minute interview, how crucial is it when you’ve only got a few seconds or a glance to tell what you’re about?
You may think “It’s only a logo—once they get to know us, they’ll love us,” and that may be true, but think of how your brand, which is your self-presentation, could do much of that relational work for you up front. You also don’t run the risk of losing someone between the stages of encountering your brand and interacting with your people. Consistency establishes a very early level of basic confidence and trust with customers. This applies to stakeholders, too.
Consistency makes a promise because it expresses an identity customers and stakeholders can rely on. As you’re establishing or growing a customer base, you’re also establishing and growing important values like trust, reliability, and stability. In order to know they will receive a consistent product or service, customers will look to a consistent brand. In life, surprises are often a good thing. In branding, they generally are not.
For example, take Pepsi’s initiative in the 1990’s to produce a clear beverage, Crystal Pepsi. (Some of you just had a major flashback!) When you think of Pepsi, you think of a long-established soda with a certain flavor and a certain look. Clear Pepsi had a brief popularity, then flopped because, simply, it doesn’t look or taste like Pepsi. It was a matter of extreme brand inconsistency and caught consumers off-guard. Sprite is clear but markets itself as such. Pepsi is a traditionally dark cola, and they have continued to succeed by sticking to strong brand consistency.
What about when changes need to occur? Again, a consistent brand is crucial, because it sets the parameters and expectations for change, bringing a sense of safety to change itself. The food industry can again provide a good example. Consider food companies that change their recipes. They succeed best when they make small changes over time, emphasizing brand stability, or when they use recipe changes as a strategic total rebranding opportunity that riffs strongly on the original brand.
There are certain key elements that make for brand consistency and need to remain consistent and regulated across marketing channels. They include:
It can also benefit you strongly to work with a marketing partner in any branding or rebranding effort, to make sure you are keeping your branding consistent and capturing your ROI.
Consistent branding is ongoing work, but it can really pay off. At Fontis Solutions, we work within your budget to meet your marketing goals. Whether you need to get off the ground or turn a plateau into a peak, we want to be your source for business answers. Contact us today.
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