5 April 2022
How to ensure consistency in your brand
Consistency in how you present your business to the world is vital.
After all, 87% of customers think brands should work harder at delivering a consistent experience – and consistent presentation of a brand has been seen to increase revenue by 33%.
It’s why big brands have a brand guidelines document. These are a written record of all the ‘rules’ that they follow when creating any piece of communication. They can be really in-depth, technical documents, but any business (no matter how big or small) can benefit by copying their purpose and structure.
If you created your own set of brand guidelines, there are several ‘types’ of consistency they could help you enforce:
Think about how you present your brand visually. Does the logo always have to be a certain size or colour? McDonalds’s famous ‘golden arches’ are almost always gold, or occasionally white – but never any other colour.
There’s much more – you can set rules about the colour palette you use in graphic design, your font of choice, and even the style of photography you use.
Think, as well, about your people. Do they look like a team? It’s a bit much to set rules about personal appearance, so this is why many businesses either provide uniforms or set a dresscode that allows individual expression while creating cohesion.
Do you sound the same everywhere?
This might mean using the same piece of music on all your company videos (and using it as hold music for people waiting to connect on the phone); it might mean using the same voice artist to perform all your voiceovers; or it might mean introducing a sonic logo, which lives alongside your visual logo and can act as a signifier of your brand when there’s no visual medium (like on radio, or over the phone).
In written messages, does your business sound like one person talking? The way your business speaks (its ‘tone of voice’) can communicate what your business is like and believes in – in other words, its personality and values – which, in turn, can help customers identify with your business.
Is your message consistent, too? Do you tell the same story everywhere? KFC consistently reminds customers that its chicken is ‘finger lickin’ good’ (to the extent that it has become their strapline). Consistent messaging can help to build and reinforce trust between your brand and your audience.
Let’s think of McDonald’s again. One of the reasons they’re enormously successful is that people know what they’re going to get when they order a Big Mac – no matter which restaurant they go to.
The service each McDonald’s franchise provides must meet the standards set by the head office, and your business can ensure its success by working hard to ensure people get the same service no matter who they speak to or deal with.
And no matter how they speak to them – people should get the same great service over the phone that they do face-to-face; we help many businesses elevate their caller experience with professional greetings, engaging on-hold messages and more.
Many businesses fall into the trap of trying to do something new (with the aim of engaging their audiences) but then failing to do it consistently.
People like routine; it’s why the most successful podcasts have a new episode every week, without fail; imagine a world in which Joe Rogan published three podcasts in a week, then went silent for a month, then published two podcasts in two weeks, and then published nothing over the next two weeks. People would think it strange. And they’d start looking around for another podcast to listen to during the silent periods. Inconsistency is a turn-off.
Where should you ensure your branding is consistent?
There are several key touchpoints that are the ‘bare minimum’ you need to address, to ensure consistency:
- Shop frontage & Vehicles – It almost goes without saying that your signage (whether you have a shop window, a fleet of vans, or both) should be dressed in your company colours and feature your logo. It’s the fastest way of communicating that your target customer has found your business (or, in the case of vehicles, that you’ve found them).
- Website/social media – Your website and social media channels are, today, often a customer’s first interaction with you. Your website experience should echo what it’s like to visit your store, outlet or even office.
- Product literature and packaging – If you create brochures and leaflets, or have packaging that your products sit in, these are a key ‘takeaway’ item that your customers are left with. Make sure these are branded; we’d have included shopping bags here in the past, but the consumer shift to reusable bags means these are now a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than vital.
- Stationery – By which we mean things like letterheaded paper, forms and branded Powerpoint templates. Pens and other such items can also be branded (and treated as giveaways), but prioritising your documents means that all of your customer-facing communications are presented consistently.
- Telephone system – An often-forgotten touchpoint, many customers will interact with you through your telephone system when your website or social channels don’t answer their questions. High-quality greetings, hold messaging and out-of-hours announcements can help present a professional image and help ensure everyone gets the same, consistent service.
There are others that are less important, like staff uniforms, that you can brand if you want to but which ultimately have a lesser role to play.
What to keep consistent when rebranding
Rebranding is exciting – we should know!
But if you decide to give your business a refresh, it’s important you consider the impact of consistency. Are you already recognisable? You may want to keep some of your easily identifiable features to ease the transition – most brands keep their name, but you could also keep your core colour scheme (for example).
After all, there are lots of examples out there about ‘when rebrands go wrong’, and it’s often because the project has been so comprehensive that the brand is unrecognisable, or when heritage and tradition have been mistakenly sacrificed in the name of progress.
We’ve taken a look at some of favourite rebrands and looked at why they work.Our favourite recent rebrands
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