Your brand is the face of your company—what you show to potential customers. It not only shapes their first impression of your company and product, but it can also entice them to come back for more business. Maintaining brand consistency produces reliable results and can help form a solid foundation for your marketing strategies.
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency means ensuring that the way you present your company—and what it stands for—remains the same across all your marketing channels, unifying the image and message your customers and potential customers see.
Why is brand consistency important?
Brand consistency is important because it leads to brand recognition. When customers recognize your brand (and have positive associations with it), they’re more likely to make purchases and commit to your company for the long term. Also, when you create brand consistency, you reinforce the qualities your customers can cite when recommending your brand to their friends and social media followers.
For example, McDonald’s family-friendly fast-food restaurants and inexpensive eats are easily recognizable by their red and yellow color scheme and famous golden arches. If they suddenly replaced their kid-friendly colors with a modern, minimalist palette of grays and blacks, increased the prices of their menu items, and put Ronald McDonald in a tailored pinstripe suit, people would no longer “know” the McDonald’s brand. As a result, they might hesitate to recommend McDonald’s to friends in need of a quick bite to eat. Keeping your brand consistent helps you keep your customers.
How can establishing brand guidelines create consistency?
Brand guidelines are “rules” for the elements of your brand and how to use them in your marketing. Having brand guidelines in place allows you to easily maintain consistency within the look and feel of your brand. Once you have them written down, they’re available at any time; you don’t have to start from scratch with each new campaign. Brand guidelines create a win-win: less work for you, and brand recognition from your customers. Here are some of the elements of your brand that should have clear guidelines.
- Target audience personas. Your target audience is the foundation of your brand consistency strategy because you’ll be keeping them in mind as you design your brand and products. Some attributes that may be relevant for your persona profiles include:
- Marital status
- Number of children
- Favorite restaurants
- Shopping habits
- Color palette. The colors you use can evoke specific feelings. Keeping them uniform throughout your digital and physical marketing materials will make it easier for customers to recognize your brand, even from afar.
- Logo. Your logo should convey elements of your brand image and be easy to recognize while being distinct from those of your competitors. For example, IBM’s logo has remained relatively unchanged for decades, from its bold serif font to its blue color scheme and the spacing between the letters, making it one of the most recognized logos worldwide.
- Fonts. Your font choice should typically consist of primary and secondary typefaces that complement each other. Your brand will be more recognizable if you use the same fonts when communicating with customers, whether to a broad audience with ad copy or individuals with email campaigns.
- Images. The images you use say a lot about who you are and what value your product or service offers to customers. The style of your images should align with the other elements of your brand. For example, if you manufacture surfboards, you might use angular, linear sketches in your ads. If you sell jewelry, close-up photographs will likely be a better choice.
- People. The people you choose to feature in your imagery say a lot about your brand, too. In most cases, the faces you feature should reflect individuals in your target market, such as older or younger buyers or those who dress in the latest fashion or more traditional attire.
Language and communication elements
- Voice and tone. Your voice defines your brand’s personality, while your tone affects how people feel when they interact with your brand. Your voice is consistent—it can be authoritative, it can be fun, it can be supportive. Your tone varies based on the situation. For example, you’ll use a different tone to address a customer complaint than when launching a new product. Customers will come to recognize your voice and appreciate your tone.
- Word choice. The way you word things should be consistent, especially when it comes to vocabulary and sentence structure. Some companies lean toward plain wording and simple sentences to appeal to a wide audience. Others target more technical users by using industry-specific jargon and complex sentences they know their audience will understand.
- Frequency of communication. How often you reach out to your customers can be an element of your branding. If you’re in a fast-paced, dynamic business, you might post on social media every day and send an email newsletter once a week. For other industries, that much communication might overwhelm or annoy customers. You want to be consistent with this, too—don’t suddenly start sending newsletters weekly when you previously sent them monthly or quarterly.
How can you ensure brand consistency for your business?
Creating a brand with consistent messaging and visual elements requires decisions and organization. Here are some ways to tackle this project.
Assemble and organize all marketing assets
You (or you and your team) no doubt have plenty of ideas about the marketing assets you’d like to create and the tools you’d like to use to get your message out to your audience. But until you look at all those ideas together, it can be difficult to see how different disparate assets—such as online ads, videos, packaging choices, and product designs—can be. Bringing all of these different ideas into one central location makes it easier to see what they have in common, so you can make smart decisions about how you’ll use them to connect with your customers.
One way to organize your marketing assets is by the type of campaign and the platform used to launch it. For example, you can assemble all your brand elements—colors, fonts, images, slogans, etc.—for email marketing campaigns in one space. Then those elements are easily available as you craft email campaigns that your customers will recognize at a glance.
Recycle your content
There’s no point reinventing the wheel for every new marketing campaign. If something has worked in the past, consider using it again—maybe with some small tweaks. Not only will it bring a sense of familiarity to existing customers, but its past success means it’s likely to resonate with new and potential customers, too. Brand consistency results in loyal customers with less work on your part.
What are some examples of effective brand consistency?
Nike has a well-established, consistent brand, and as a result, they’ve dominated the sneaker industry for many years. The evidence of Nike’s brand consistency can be found in how well people recognize the brand. For example, what’s Nike’s slogan? Just Do It. What is Nike’s logo? The swoosh.
Starbucks leverages consistent color schemes, in-store layouts, and customer service practices to differentiate itself from other coffee makers and restaurants. While many of Starbucks’ products are similar to those of other coffee purveyors, the consistent ambiance differentiates Starbucks from the competition.
Mailchimp makes it easy
With Mailchimp’s all-in-one Marketing Platform, you can ensure that you’re presenting a consistent brand identity to your target market. Automated email campaigns, digital ads, landing pages, postcards, and social posts can all be tailored to your brand guidelines.
So if you’re ready to stand out from your competition and engage with your customers in a way that supports your business’s growth, get started with a free Mailchimp account today.