As a brand’s influence start to grow, the next thing to ensure is that there is brand consistency across all touchpoints. This sounds very easy, it can, however, be difficult to achieve in an organization where many departments are constantly creating creative assets for the brand. Where people resolve to self-help by using alternate colors, or photography treatment, or tone of voice when there is no clear consistent brand. As a result, bring the brand into disrepute in the public space. This is why organizations protect their brand jealously from abuse, and also develop precise standards for rendering it, its usage, and will be willing to take legal action against any form of abuse
Many people will think that brand visibility is largely influenced by the company’s size. But that is not always the case. The visibility that a brand enjoys is largely due to brand consistency in all touchpoints. According to a study by Lucidpress in partnership with Demand Metric. After carefully studying 200 organizations of different sizes and revenue, brands that are consistently presented are four times more likely to enjoy excellent visibility than those inconsistent in their brand presentation. Therefore, if brand visibility is your goal, then brand consistency must be protected across the various department in the organization, and also with third-party contributors that provide creative assets for the brand.
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is making sure that your brand identity (include all brand visuals) and tone of voice is uniform across all medium. To ensure that brand identity and tone of voice align with the vision, mission statement, purpose, and values of the brand.
What are the effects of an inconsistent brand?
It leads to confusion
A brand is a pathway to connect to customers. Therefore, when there are inconsistencies, customers start to lose and trust and get confused. The brand message is lost in the haphazard representation of the brand. Making it harder for customers to recognize the brand across all touchpoints. It is noteworthy that the most profound negative impact of brand consistency is confusion. This is cited by 71% of respondents in a study brand consistency by Demand Metric. Even the internal team can find an inconsistent brand confusing – what it sounds like, how it is supposed to show up.
Lack of trust
Another profound effect of brand inconsistency is that it engenders a lack of trust. Your brand is your identity. In fact, 81% say trust is deciding factor if they are going to buy from a brand, according to a recent study. Therefore, to create the trust that will eventually lead to business is making sure that your make sure your brand stays consistent across all touchpoints.
It depicts poor quality
An inconsistent depicts poor quality. It depicts unprofessionalism, which can lead to a perception that your product or services are not to the highest standard of quality. Thereby making you lose business and earn a bad reputation.
Understand why brand consistency matters
Brand consistency depicts professionalism, quality, and trustworthiness. If a brand is not consistent with what appears – your visual brands keep conflicting, your brand voice is not uniform. People start looking at you as less professional. Therefore, by been consistent and true to the core of your being provides clarity in what you do, who you are, who you are trying to serve, and what you stand for. Eventually builds the level of your customer trust. Also, there is no confusion in your internal team. As well as stakeholders and partners on what you stand for, and to better present the brand in the marketplace.
In addition, having a consistent brand provides simplicity to all the actions you take. So, the internal team – the marketing team, sales, team, product design, etc. are not in the dark on what to do or inventing a solution to a brand-related challenge. It also provides simplicity to the customer, and how they experience the brand. As well as, stakeholders, consultants, outsourcing companies, and other people who are doing work for the brand.
Brand consistency affect a brand success
Consistent brands have seen an increase in revenue by 33% according to a recent study by Lucidpress. Brand identity links directly to a business plan and a business strategy. It is not just a pretty picture. Your brand design is a strategic exercise and strategic expression of what your brand is. The colors, the fonts, the logo, the imagery, and more. They all communicate through something called SEMIOTICS. Which is a scientific interpretation of what symbols are perceived to mean. When people understand that brand consistency links to strategy. Brand design links to Semiotics – how people perceive things. They are much less likely to create their own thing to solve some particular problem.
6 ways to achieve brand consistency
#1. Create a brand guideline
It will be difficult to sanction every brand material or exercise complete creative control over the brand. This will require anyone that needs to create a creative asset for the brand to seek permission from a designated authority. This could be counter-productive and difficult to actualize in an organization. Not to mention third-party client that offers creative design service to the business. Hence that is why a brand guideline is important. The brand guide is essentially a bible for the brand. It includes all the strategies such as brand mission, value, propositions, and differentiators. As well as, codify your tone of voice, colors, fonts, photography, media formats, graphics style, and more.
Here are some examples of popular brand guidelines:
Spotify: Spotify provides audio streaming and media service. Although the brand color appears to be a lime green circle. The brand guidelines further explain the color codes and image dimension, and even allows you to download the icon version of the download, making it easier to have a consistent brand across all platform.
Click here to see full brand guideline.
Medium: Medium is an online publishing platform, you can read or share article on the platform.The brand guideline shows the color code, the font style and the design patterns available. It also, allow you to third-party or partners to download the logo for brand consistency.
Click here to see full brand guideline.
Chrome: Chrome is a cross-platform browser developed by Google. The brand guideline allows you to download the logo in different size and format. It also describes how you can use the creative in line with the brands guideline, and the restrictions too.
Click here to see the full brand guideline.
#2. Share and disseminate the brand guideline
Oftentimes, it is not that most companies don’t have a brand guideline – most times, they do. The problem comes with making it accessible throughout the organization and enforcing it to create a consistent brand across all touchpoints. Study shows that 95% of company have brand guidelines. However, just a mere 25% sticks to their brand guidelines. Ensure you find an effective way to disseminate your brand guidelines across the various department in your organization and train your employee on how to use them. As well as third-party vendors, freelancers, consultants, or anyone that provides any form of creative support for the brand. Because they are creating assets for your brand, and might not understand your visual brand rules and regulations. Therefore, they might look for alternate ways to solve the problem on their own, which may affect your brand consistency.
#3. Audit the brand regularly
You want to make sure you take a regular audit of the brand. Essentially policing the brand. You want to use the brand guideline to look at all the branded assets out there on a regular case. So, you can hold the cart so that you can ensure that nothing is been done or put out in the world that can be inconsistent. The things you want to look at is web pages, social media post, brochure, letterhead, business card, presentation slides, and more. You can look at storage cards, labels, packaging, music, employee uniform, etc. just about anything at the brand touchpoint. You want to make sure that it is within the scope of the rules and guidelines of the brand guide.
#4. Consider brand voice
The brand’s tone of voice is one of those things that gets forgotten about a lot of times. Your copywriting, or your verbal tone of voice – how things are said either on social media, or video, or podcast – needs to be consistent. In the same way, the visual brand is consistent.
For example, let’s consider these two brands:
Mailchimp’s brand voice is conversational with a little bit of offbeat humor. You can see that at Mailchimp homepage, or when you encounter any of their content. Because Mailchimp is an email marketing platform, and they are in the technology niche, they try to educate people without patronizing them. The Mailchimp brand guidelines explain why their tone is usually informal. But always clear than entertaining.
On the other hand, Starbucks’ brand voice is functional and expressive. So, they can create more space for brand relevance and connection. Starbucks turns down the volume of competing messages to elevate experiences and make people easily find what they are looking for.
Therefore, your brand voice may be funny, or humorous, or casual, or serious. Depending on your company values and strategy over time. When you find that voice that works for you. Then, you need to make sure it is consistent across touchpoints.
#5. Define core values
Core brand values are what your organization stands for. They are the pillar of your brand identity. They are used to build relationships with clients and used to inform how you show up in every single touchpoint. These are things like the mission statement, an elevator pitch, etc. How you talk about the brand and what are the values the brand stands for. All of these needs to be socialize trained to all personnel within the organization. So, they are all singing the same song or personify the values of the brand and everything they do.
#6. Plan to evolve
Brand consistency doesn’t mean that a brand is static and never changes. All brand changes over time. Look at Coca-Cola. It has been out there for over 100 years. The logo is relatively the same. Except for their branding, tone of voice, advertising, marketing, and design have changed dramatically over the years. But I guarantee you because they are the most recognized brand in the world, those choice to change the brand has been very playful and very strategic over time. So, you have to accept that the society changes, product changes, companies get acquired, people come and go, aesthetic and design changes. A brand has to evolve. But you want to make sure that the changes are strategic, they are thoughtful, and are eventually communicated throughout the organization. So, everyone knows what’s going and is following the guideline in the brand bible to maintain that level of consistency.
Benefits of brand consistency
Easy recognition is one of the main benefits of brand consistency. Your brand visuals are uniform. There is clarity when people see your brand. Also, your brand voice is uniform and in line with your brand’s core identity. People can see consistency in your content whenever they come across it.
Brand consistency exudes professionalism. It shows that you know what you are doing. As a result, you can be trusted. When people trust your brand, then they can buy from you, and eventually, become a brand advocate.
Shape brand’s perception
Every brand has its own unique identity. Having a consistent brand experience helps to communicate the brand’s identity to the public effectively. When this is done properly, it leaves a lasting experience with the customer.
In conclusion, you need to create content regularly to get a brand noticed. By publishing content in short intervals. The brand needs to be in the view of potential customers regularly. However, that is not enough to get your brand to a top-level. You need brand consistency too. Brand consistency will ensure, that people can easily recognize your brand identity and tone of voice when they come across it. As a result, you can build the connection needed to have a loyal customer.