It’s easy to get distracted by the latest trends and lose sight of your brand. If you want to succeed in marketing, you must stay true to your brand. Your customers will appreciate the consistency, even if they don’t realize it. The post discusses the importance of brand consistency and how to maintain it.
What is the definition of brand consistency?
Brand consistency is the idea that the brand should have a strict, unchanging set of principles from which it does not deviate. One of the keys to brand consistency is making sure your business has direction. Having a vision allows you to create guidelines for what should and shouldn’t be done and ensure that everyone in your company works towards the same goal.
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The importance of brand consistency
Brand consistency is essential for a variety of reasons. In addition to being proven to boost sales, brands must maintain consistency to avoid being labeled misleading. Consumers want what they have been promised- whether that’s free shipping or the brand experience.
If brands change their logo, color scheme, or anything else that is recognizable as a branding element, consumers might notice the difference and refuse to purchase from that brand again. This can be damaging in both short-term sales and long-term customer loyalty.
Inconsistent branding example
Coke has always been an iconic brand. Their marketing campaigns have always been memorable, evoking emotions of joy and happiness. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t gone off-brand. Coca-Cola found out how damaging inconsistent branding can be when trying to change their Coke recipe and saw a massive decrease in sales. Let’s look at coke’s good, bad, and ugly phases.
Coca-Cola is a world leader in branding consistency; every can of Coca-Cola includes the company’s signature red and white brand color, the logo created by Frank Mason Robinson with the distinctive curved script.
In 2010 Coca-Cola reported advertising expenditures of $2.9 billion. In 2013, their CEO initiated plans to increase that budget to $3.3 billion and 4.3 billion by 2016.
Pepsi came up with a direct vs. positioning against Coke. They claimed that they taste better than Coke and continued to market aggressively against the iconic brand.
Pepsi’s efforts were successful, and they continued to gain market share thanks to a campaign it ran called the Pepsi Challenge that had consumers take a blind taste test and find they prefer the flavor of Pepsi.
And the Ugly
Coca-Cola realized the importance of brand consistency when they tried changing their 99-year old Coke recipe. In 1989, Coke decided to discontinue their original coke recipe and switch to a new one which tasted similar to Pepsi because it was much sweeter than the classic Coke. The company thought this would be an improvement because they could make it sweeter without adding any more calories, but consumers hated the change.
When people heard about the recipe change, Coke sales dropped sharply. Within three months, the original Coke formula was back on the market rebranded as Coke Classic. The story of New Coke illustrates the perils of tampering with what’s already successful and accepted by the customers.
Benefits of brand consistency
It helps create a cohesive experience for customers. When people visit your website or read your content, they should immediately feel what the brand is about. They should be able to recognize your brand identity, voice and personality right away. There are several benefits to maintaining brand consistency.
One benefit is that it helps in increasing brand recognition. That’s right! The more people who recognize your brand identity, the easier it will be to make sales. If you don’t have consistent branding, you will confuse customers and lose the sale. The more consistent your brand is, the higher the chances for people to recognize it.
Builds trust with customers
Another benefit is that consistency can help to build trust with customers and potential customers by demonstrating reliability, dependability, and simplicity in a world of constant change. If your customers see you as trustworthy, they’re more likely to buy from you again.
As you’re driving down the street, you see a billboard or an advertisement that catches your eye. What makes it so memorable? It’s probably because it was consistent with what you already knew about the brand. Customers tend to become more loyal if they can recognize your products and services across all channels and quickly recall your business in the future. A consistent brand is one of the best ways to promote your business because it’s easier for potential customers to remember you. It makes you recognizable in your industry, which helps differentiate you from other companies.
Build an emotional connection with customers
When you connect positive emotions to your brand, your audience will begin to associate those emotions with your brand. When done right, those emotions are evoked even without your brand name. If your voice and tone don’t change as you publish more content, people will start to recognize you and trust you. Having a consistent brand message helps the audience understand your company’s goals and empowers them to maintain that connection with your brand through each interaction.
How to ensure brand consistency
You can create a consistent experience for your target audience by ensuring that the brand and products are always recognizable.
Starbucks Coffee, for instance, is famous around the world for its green mermaid logo on every cup.
You can also create consistency through messaging by using words or phrases in all channels to express what you stand for as a company. Nike has it’s famous “Just Do It.”
Create a style guide:
Use a style guide to keep brand consistency. It makes it easier for new employees to learn the company’s branding and ensures that everyone uses the same terminology. Create a document that contains all of your branding information, including logo, color palettes, fonts, and the tone of voice you want to use. Be sure to create a style guide that you and the members of your team can reference regularly. This way, everyone will know what’s in and out of bounds for the brand.
The branding zone will contain your brand assets and templates for different types of content, such as blog posts, press release format, PowerPoint templates, or social media posts.
Have a sign-off process
Make sure you have a process to ensure that every piece of content and communication that goes out is consistent with your branding guidelines.
Keep your voice consistent across all social media channels
Be consistent in the tone of your voice on all social media platforms. It’s better to sound like yourself across the board instead of trying too hard to be different on each platform. If you have a casual and friendly tone, make sure that’s reflected in your responses on social media. Don’t forget that everything you post reflects on you and your brand, so make it count!
Consistent brand visual identity
Stick to a single graphic design style for your brand’s visuals. If your guidelines recommend limited use of illustrations, then do not use photos that are illustration-heavy. A consistent look and feel for your visual assets will help to maintain brand consistency.
Brand consistency is one of the most critical aspects of marketing. It can be challenging to stay on brand from product to product, but it’s worth it in the long run. Your brand guidelines should leave room for your brand to respond differently in different situations. A fun voice might not be appropriate when responding to a disgruntled customer. Always create the guidelines emphasizing the customer state in mind. Book a call with me to clarify your message and create a consistent brand and content strategy.