Why Brand Consistency is Vital to Your Success
Why Brand Consistency Is Vital to Your Success
When you are developing your company, your brand is at the core of each decision. For every choice you make you must ask yourself, 'does this align with the company brand?' 'Is this consistent with the brand?' Consider these questions with each marketing decision. It is vital to your success. But, what exactly makes up your brand? Why is consistency so important?
What is your brand?
Branding first started with cattle ranchers. Animals would get branded with the rancher's specific mark as a sign of ownership. We still do this today with trademarks and copyrights. Name brand soda, name brand coffee, anything with a package has a brand attached to it. As a business, you protect what is yours, so the competition can't take your products. Loyal customers know what they are buying when they choose you. Unmarked products would confuse your customers.
The intangible aspects of a brand:
There are several intangible aspects to your brand. They are the feelings generated by your customers when they hear your brand name. These feelings motivate their buying decisions. For example, Toms brand shoes. Their canvas shoes are easy to duplicate, many competitors have already done so. But, Toms has cultivated their values into their brand. Customers feel good about buying a pair of Toms shoes. They know part of the proceeds from the sale are going to help those less fortunate. Even if the competitor offers the same product for less money, loyal Toms supporters don't budge. They are dedicated to the shoes themselves, and to the cause behind the brand name. Toms customers identify with their values too. These values don't directly pertain to do with the shoes. But, they are important.
Building brand consistency:
There are a few rules to follow to establish and maintain brand consistency. It is important to follow these rules, so you don't confuse your customers.
Imagery – a consistent image is a key to customers recognizing your brand over your competitors. Nike does a great job at this. Their image has remained the same from the beginning. Customers must recognize your logo and colors immediately.
Consistent message – Your logo and message should be the same across the board. It must align with your brand too. If Nike changed its logo to 'deliciously satisfying' this would confuse their customers. While it may be 'deliciously satisfying' to some to get in a great workout, it wouldn't align with their brand.
Speak to your audience – You brand must speak to your target market. You must know your audience to do that well. Nike's target market is workout enthusiasts who care about high-quality footwear. 'Deliciously satisfying' as a logo would speak to foodies who would be in a different market. It would not work.
Without brand consistency, your company is sunk:
The brand represents who you are as a company. Yet, inconsistency with your branding will kill your business. Brand consistency must be at the heart of your marketing campaigns. Customers have certain expectations when they buy your products. If those expectations are not met you lose the customer. There are many strong arguments for creating a consistent brand.
- Awareness – This is especially important in your marketing. You don't have much time to capture the attention of your audience. You must have consistency with your logo and color scheme. Your customers must recognize your business when they see the logo or color scheme. You don't want to be confused with another business, especially if it's the competition. These aspects of your brand must be legally protected.
- Trust – Inconsistent branding is a sure way to lose your customers trust. They want to know what they are buying. They don't want to part with their hard-earned money only to be duped. Make sure all changes are up to date. Different logos on your business cards and the website would be confusing for customers. First, they need to trust the site is yours. Second, if these simple things are inconsistent what else is too?
- Building authority – Your goal as a business is to be the best in your industry. You want to be the trusted authority to your customers. Building a reputation as the best in your niche is one of the best investments you can make in your business. A great example of this is Starbucks. They are the authority when it comes to high-quality coffee. They are always researching and developing to remain the authority in their industry. Their investment in brand consistency goes deeper than that though. They have specific recipes for every drink that baristas must follow. It is detailed down to the amount of ice to add in a drink. Each batch of coffee at every location uses the same coffee to water ratios. Each location has the same freshness standards for their brewed coffee. It doesn't matter what Starbucks you walk into. You know the coffee or blended drink will taste the same at each location. If it doesn't they are quick to resolve the issue. Customers come to them because they know what to expect.
Your brand is one of your most important assets. To be effective and profitable as a business, your brand must be solid. Your customer base wants consistency with your brand and without it, you will lose them. It is challenging, but not impossible. Most importantly, it's well worth your time and money to invest in your brand.