Carving out your brand is important, essential even, but do you know what brand really means? Is it the products you create? A business logo? Business name? Many would easily answer “yes”, but a brand is much more than a visual representation.
A Brand is the perception of your business and/or products. It’s what makes you stand apart from the competition and how customers identify your business in the crowded, ever-growing market. It’s also how you gain loyal customers, who are said to spend some 67% more than a new customer. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder business are focused on cultivating their brand in a bid to win over customer love and loyalty.
The importance of brand has led to brand-focused marketing, rather than product-first. The difference? A brand-focused marketing strategy is ever-cultivating the distinct identify that makes up your brand. Product-first marketing, on the other hand, focuses on pushing out a new product without the detail paid to the brand voice. Ergo, get the product to market in a bid to get money flowing in. While not inherently a bad goal by any means, it is somewhat short sighted. Think of it this way: “brand is strategy, marketing is tactical.” While you need those smaller tactical wins to build a business, it’s your overall strategy that will allow your business to survive the long haul.
Brand consistency, or the art of communicating to the public in a consistent voice that clearly mirrors your business’ core values and identity, is everything. Not convinced? Keep reading for 5 reasons why brand consistency is so important across all channels—digital marketing, social media, billboards, commercials, and more.
Trust is key to any good relationship, including that of business and customer. Once you establish your brand identify, customers will come to expect certain messages and actions from you in your marketing—keeping brand consistency is vital to not only avoid customer confusion, but also vital to avoid losing customer trust. Always remember, customers have an emotional connection to your business, which is established through trust. Gain their trust and gain a lifelong customer.
Brand consistency helps customers (both potential and existing) pick out your brand amid the crowd. This should include consistency with the use of a logo, colors used in designs, and slogans. While these tangible items are a cinch to reproduce across marketing products, it can be more difficult to get the same level of consistency in voice. It’s the character of your brand, if you will—and you will likely need to spend the most time honing it for consistency. That said, it’s well worth the effort, as customers will come to recognize these details over time.
Customers are bombarded by options, especially when one considers the un-ending options that are churned out from a simple browse on retail giants like Amazon. The market is more global than ever, and purchases are made with a simple digital button push. Capturing customers isn’t easy among so many choices and frankly, the market is noisy. It’s all too easy to get lost in the rumble. By focusing on your brand identify, and keeping it consistent, customers will be able to easily recognize your voice in the crowd.
Businesses are ever-evolving, just like the rest of the world. Being able to stay nimble and dynamic when changes come, all the while keeping a consistent branding is what sets apart a business in it for the long-haul. For instance, brands like Apple and Coco-Cola have been around for decades, yet they’ve shown flexibility in adapting to ever-changing times while staying true to their core values. That said, they’ve remained true to their core values and identity, making it easier for customers to adapt and change with them.
Staying consistent is key to controlling the public perception of your brand. Things are bound to go astray at times, whether from internal or external sources. While it may cause customer upset, sticking with the consistent, trusted messaging customers know (and love) you for will go a long way in weathering the storm. Hopefully we’re on the same page—brand consistency is king, which the above five items have helped drive home. Now, let’s explore four strategies to increase brand consistency.
Your logo and design MUST (!) be consistent. Otherwise, you’re sure to cause all sorts of confusion for customers (and lost revenue for yourself). The power of the logo shouldn’t be underestimated. Look at Apple for example. A simple, bitten apple. Considered for what it is, this simple logo doesn’t seem all that significant, but trust it is instantly recognized a good portion of the world over—even when displayed apart from an actual product (like on the back of a laptop or phone). That little logo bears tremendous weight. With it come all the expectations of the company, the brand that’s been gaining steam since the early 90’s.
That said, Apple is a behemoth. Perhaps you’re a small-town boutique looking to carve a name out on Main St, Anytown, America. You can still find plenty of opportunities to get your logo out into the public, such as having customized shopping bags created with a logo front and center. The best part of this idea? Folks almost always save and reuse a quality shopping bag, allowing your logo to get even more circulation.
The bigger your organization, the more challenging this one can be—but it’s also more reason to focus on it. Ensuring that each company division such as sales, marketing, and design are on the same page is paramount in making sure your brand identity remains clear and on point. Remember, it’s how your customers recognize you in a crowd and trust your business. You can’t afford to deploy an array of mismatched branding simply due to internal confusion or lack of connecting teams altogether.
So much of honing your brand identity and voice is understanding your customer. That doesn’t mean your identify changes each time a new group strikes an interest in your product/business, but as discussed above, being amenable to changes in society can help ensure longevity. Social media is a great example of something new that has taken the world by storm—old and new brands alike. Nike is a great example. Officially launched in 1971, they’re credited with being one of the great social media brands of today, (despite starting way before the Internet was even a thing). But a large cohort of Nike customers are young—and they’re on social media. So naturally, Nike has met them there. Make sure to engage on social media channels that make the most sense for your brand or industry and use data to find which relevant demographics prefer specific networks.
Going into your customers’ communities is a great way to really connect with them where they’re at (literally). That said, you can’t team up with just anyone simply because you share/target a common location. What’s important is that they are an alley to your brand identity. For example, a local gym could be a potentially great partner for a nutritious snack food company. Bottom-line: your customers are buying other things, but there is a theme or a way to can connect them (kid-friendly, healthy, adventurous, beauty, etc.) to your business. Understanding your audience and demographic should naturally lead you to potential brand-appropriate local partners.
We hope this piece has allowed you to start thinking about how important brand consistency is, and the ways in which you can start honing yours to stand out in the crowd. Just remember, say what you mean, and stay authentic and reliable. Customers will notice, and they’ll prize you for it.
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