Keeping Your Brand Consistent
Your brand is one of the most important parts of your business. As it’s the face of your company, your brand is the first thing people see when they come across your business, and it’s what they picture and relate to, later down the line. Essentially, your brand shapes people’s impression of your business, and also influences how likely they are to return to your company in future.
From a marketing perspective, your brand is therefore an essential element of any strategy. But other departments need to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds too, as it affects all customer interactions. If your brand were not consistent, it could not only confuse your audience, it may also make it more difficult for people to engage with your business.
Why is Brand Consistency Important?
Brand consistency should in most cases lead to brand recognition. This in turn will hopefully lead to more sales, and increased revenue. The idea is that once people recognise your brand, and associate it with previous good experiences or excellent reviews, they should remain loyal to your business. And if your customer base really engages with your brand, as well as your overall company values, these individuals might even become brand advocates, letting others know what you have to offer.
To better understand brand consistency, it can be helpful to look at a well established brand such as Starbucks. As you’ll undoubtedly be aware, Starbucks uses the same identifiable logo on their products, in addition to the same colour palette in each of their locations. The layout of their coffee shops is furthermore consistent, and all their staff have been trained in the same customer service practices. If any of this were to change, you may no longer recognise the brand as Starbucks.
Overall, brand consistency is about attracting customers and ensuring that they remain loyal to your brand. Your brand should be used as a way to engage people with your business, and then keep coming back to you when they’re in need of the products or services you offer.
How to Create Brand Guidelines
When it comes to keeping your brand consistent, the first thing you should do is create a set of brand guidelines you can refer back to. They are a set of rules which can be consulted if you’re ever uncertain about the look or feel of your brand. With these guidelines, you’re less likely to stray from your brand message or appearance. To help you get started, we’ve looked at the three main considerations when creating your brand guidelines below:
1. Consider Your Audience
Your first concern, in terms of crafting your brand guidelines, should always be your audience. The whole point of your brand, as well as your business, is catering to your audience, so you need to understand what it is they’re looking for. This means that you can’t design anything, from your logo to your products, without thinking about your audience. If you were to only consider things that you liked, and didn’t think about whether they appealed to your customers, your business probably wouldn’t garner a lot of interest!
So when you think about your audience, what aspects should you focus on? Things like their age, profession, average income and spending habits are all good things to consider. You may also wish to create separate audience personas, representing your typical customers, so that it’s easier to target each of these in turn.
2. Consider Your Look
What does your brand look like? Your colour scheme, logo, fonts and images will all be elements that make up the appearance of your brand, and each needs to be carefully considered. Your logo, for instance, has to be instantly recognisable and stand out from that of your competitors. A helpful way of looking at your logo is to compare it to some of the biggest logos out there, and see if you can use any aspects of these logos with your own, in order to make it more distinctive.
In terms of your colour palette, research has been conducted into which colours evoke certain emotions, which may be something to bear in mind. For example, orange is said to represent energy and enthusiasm, while blue can evoke feelings of calmness, as well as representing stability.
3. Consider Your Message
The voice and tone of your brand can be just as important as the appearance. Your voice needs to align with both your industry and the products you offer. So if your business caters to children, a fun, playful tone of voice would work well, but may seem out of place if you run a corporate financial institution.
It’s furthermore a good idea to consider how often you communicate with your audience through messaging. Some companies may send frequent newsletters, alongside constant social media postings. But this approach might not work for every organisation, particularly more conservative businesses, where too much contact might irritate your audience.
Keeping Your Brand Consistent
Once you’ve created your brand guidelines, you can then concern yourself with making any old content, as well as anything new you create, consistent. Just like making your brand guidelines, there are three primary things to keep in mind. We’ve looked at these in more detail below:
1. Stay Organised
If your business has a larger marketing team, this can be particularly relevant. Keeping on top of who is doing what is challenging at the best of times, let alone when you have lots of sub-departments with different focuses. Staying organised and keeping all of your brand assets in one central location can therefore be very sensible.
2. Don’t Forget Your Values
When you publish any content, your brand needs to be considered every step of the way. And while this is usually straightforward with website content, posts on social media can be a bit more challenging. When we publish on our personal social accounts, we can let others know what we’re thinking and feeling. But businesses can’t do this – all posts need to reflect their brand, regardless of individual thoughts or opinions.
3. Recycle Content
You don’t have to completely reinvent your brand each time you publish content. Therefore when you find a particular piece of content that works well for you, try tweaking it slightly, and reusing it. New customers are likely to engage with something that has resonated with others, while recycled content can give your current audience a sense of familiarity.