Developing a compelling brand is one thing. Maintaining consistency is another. Today, the latter is just as important as the former, if not more so. Cultivating a clear and consistent brand over the short and long term is key for all successful companies. No matter the size or industry of your company, a consistent brand will help you build a strong and loyal base of customers and clients.
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is the practice of always delivering messages in a way that aligns with the company’s core brand strategy. This means that the brand’s message is delivered using the same colours, iconography, and typography across all of its brand and marketing materials. Every brand touchpoint, from the company website to merchandise, follows the same styling.
Today’s customers interact with your brand across multiple facets, including digital marketing, social media, events, print marketing and public relations. Without a strong brand strategy in place, it can difficult to communicate a consistent message to current and potential customers.
Why Brand Consistency Matters
When asked what influenced their loyalty to brands, more than 40% of consumers identified consistency as the most important factor. The same research suggests that consumers value consistency because they want the assurance that every experience with the brand will be the same. Essentially, the effect of brand consistency is a personal one.
For example, when you drink a Coca-Cola, you expect it to taste a certain way, and for it to be labeled with the brand’s iconic red and signature font.
A consistent brand projects professionalism, establishes authenticity and builds trust, both internally and externally. It also builds awareness and loyalty among new and existing customers, which can translate into increased sales and business development. A brand isn’t just about how your company logo looks. It’s about who you are, what you portray and the experience or product you can provide.
Take for example, how Apple has built up brand consistency by developing innovative technology that delivers upon its core brand values – simplicity and excellence. Every time you interact with an Apple product, you associate the brand with how its product has made your life simpler.
Develop Brand Guidelines
Developing a consistent brand starts with a strong strategy, as well as associated brand guidelines. Brand guidelines, sometimes called a brand style guide or brand book, are a set of rules that govern the overall look and feel of a brand, including composition, typography, colours, and other key branding elements.
While brand guidelines will be critical for your marketing or design team, it will also come in handy among other departments and firms who may work with your brand as your company continues to grow.
When it comes to creating brand guidelines, here are few things to consider including:
- Logo design and application, including different versions of logos like horizontal and vertical treatment
- Fonts and usage
- Colours and how and where they should be used
- Stock photos or graphics
- A reminder of your company vision and mission
- General usage guidelines for materials and products
- Messaging and copy, including comments on tone and voice
- Examples! Include examples of how your brand should be used, so people can see it in action
No matter what business you are in – a major corporation, a startup, a charity or a government agency – brand guidelines will help you ensure consistency. If you need some inspiration to get started, check out these brand guidelines from Mozilla/Firefox.
While your company may not be the size of Mozilla, your brand guidelines don’t need to be as comprehensive. The important thing is that you establish a foundation that governs your messaging and brand usage, which aligns with your business goals.
Pay Attention to Internal Branding
Lastly, don’t forget about building brand consistency for your key internal audience – your employees! As mentioned before, brand consistency goes far beyond just how brand elements should be employed, it’s also about creating a positive and reliable experience.
To help ensure brand consistency extends inward, consider some creative ideas for onboarding new employees in a way that’s welcoming, impactful and communicates your brand values. Another idea is to gift practical branded merchandise that your team will appreciate, such as mugs, stationary, clothing and bags – all great gifts to reward and inspire your team and contribute to a positive company culture.