February 3, 2016
How to Ensure Consistent Branding
Think about when you last went shopping, what was it that made you choose one product over another? For me, it’s quite simple – I gravitate towards the product that I trust and that I believe will give me the most value. Usually, this means going for the product from the brand that has a reputation for delivering on its promise, that has earned the trust and loyalty of its customers. This is why big and small businesses alike invest a lot of time and money on branding.
Branding consists of two aspects: the tangible and the intangible:
- The tangible aspect refers to the graphic representations (i.e. the logo and other design elements), colour palette and typography. These are usually manifested by marketing collateral, stationery, signage and other visual materials.
- The intangible aspect encompasses the messaging and the tone of voice in the businesses marketing materials. It is also evident in the behaviour of the people associated with the company.
Both the tangible and intangible aspects of any brand need to be consistent, in order to make a lasting and positive impression. Doing so will help your business earn the trust of your customers and yield the following benefits:
- Improves audience recall – It takes time for customers to get to know and trust your brand. However, seeing the same design elements and messaging throughout various touch points will help customers become familiar with your brand.
- Reinforces your story, messaging and image – Consistent branding will further highlight to your customers what your brand is all about and help them to form impressions of your business that are in line with what you are working to communicate.
- Influences buying behaviour – When customers believe in and share your values, they are far more likely to purchase your products and/or services. Seeing consistent messaging that reflects your business’ values will encourage customers to see your brand for what it is and give them the confidence to trust your business.
With the proliferation of new marketing touch points, maintaining branding consistency across multiple channels is more challenging than ever. However, consistent branding is necessary to earn your customer’s trust and eventually, their loyalty. Below are some ways to ensure consistency across all your customer touch points:
- Ensure that your brand identity is reflected accurately across all marketing channels and/or customer touch points. Each touch point and/or marketing channel should use the same logo, tagline, colours and tone of voice, and should communicate the same brand messages. This will help to leave a visual imprint in the minds of your customers and will foster an emotional connection between them and your brand. In the future, these customers will then easily identify and remember your company.
- Develop a brand book and use it. A brand book contains a detailed description of the brand and its elements, and how to properly utilize them. It serves a guide for designers and writers when they create communication materials. It is also a good reference for employees on how to act in a way that accurately represents the company’s values and personality
- Develop a branding and messaging strategy. Consistent branding across multiple touch points is not easy to demonstrate and requires careful planning. While not a lot of time and energy will be needed to pull off visual consistency across marketing channels and customer touch points (as the graphic representations will be standard), achieving cohesive messaging across these channels can be tedious. It is best to plan ahead.
- Assign a brand ambassador. With all the communications that go out, having someone responsible for ensuring that all outbound communications are in line with the brand will be advantageous to your company. The brand ambassador, usually the Communications Officer, will have the task of meticulously checking whether or not the visual and intangible branding aspects in all marketing materials and other forms of communications reflect the company correctly.
- Develop key messages that reflect your company values and product or service offering. Find out what messages resonate with your audience and the best method of delivering them. It is important to consider your customer’s language and how and where they consume information.
Maintaining consistent branding across all marketing channels and customer touch points are key to first getting the attention of your customers and then, later on, earning their loyalty and advocacy. When creating your outbound communications, it is important to remember that branding consistency goes beyond the mere visual aspects (i.e. logo, tagline, colours palette), and that messages and tone of voice in communications and the behaviour or demeanor of those that represent the company are also just as crucial to the overall branding of a company.