Branding is a vital part of every company’s marketing strategy. Elements such as the business name and logo along with its reputation and customer service, come together to help customers identify a brand. It is the brand that encapsulates everything about the company and its culture, building trust and loyalty with its customers.
By developing its brand, an organization is creating a representation of who it is and how it wishes to be perceived. With a consistent brand identity, customers can easily recognize a business, they know what to expect, and they can see how it stands out from its competitors.
However, maintaining a company’s brand and ensuring its consistency is another matter. In the digital age we live in, everyone is a content creator. It doesn’t take much to put together a blog post or graphic, to turn an idea from a concept into a printed piece of marketing material. With all the tools at their fingertips, even with the best of intentions, it is easy for employees to stray from the brand and give work they produce their own interpretation. This is where the importance of brand consistency comes into play.
What is Brand Consistency?
Brand consistency is the practice of always producing materials and delivering messages that are aligned. This incorporates presenting the brand logo in a particular way, using the same tone of voice and adopting a defined set of brand colours on all marketing materials.
With consistent use, the brand elements, become implanted in the minds of consumers. Achieving brand consistency ensures that people can recognize a brand across all of the many customer touchpoints, have confidence in what to expect and, in time, can become brand advocates.
It’s worth noting that brand consistency doesn’t just refer to the visual elements of a brand; it needs to be conveyed across all aspects of a business. Consistent brand identity needs to be relayed across what customers see, what they hear, and how it makes them feel. To achieve brand loyalty, brands should aim to achieve consistency across:
- Customer experience – ensuring customers are always treated in the same way and receive the same level of service regardless of who they are dealing with or what channel they are interacting with.
- Brand elements – the visual components of the brand should be easily recognizable and relatable. These are things such as the company name and logo that help customers identify the brand and differentiate it from its competitors.
- Brand values – it is vital that brands deliver on their promises, and prove that their values truly are what they stand for. Whether a company claims to be fun, innovative or inspirational, it needs to back up its claim with actions and to do it consistently.
Successful brands are authentic, based upon real achievements and strengths that can be seen across the whole organization.
Why is Brand Consistency Important?
We’ve already touched on some of the reasons why brand consistency is so important, the most notable of all being brand recognition. It is well known that people are more likely to deal with companies that they feel they know and trust, which makes brand recognition vital.
Conversely, brands that expose people to inconsistent brand elements can cause confusion, leading to a feeling of mistrust and a sense of a low-quality offering. By not delivering brand consistency, a company can severely limit their ability to grow a loyal customer base and, in turn, to grow their business.
Safe to say, brand consistency is vital for all companies, large and small. By delivering brand consistency, a company can achieve:
- Positive brand perception – once a brand is in the minds of its customers, it becomes easier to introduce key messages alongside consistent brand elements. This gives companies the opportunity to positively shape the perception of their brand and to evoke positive emotions with their audience.
- Customer trust and loyalty – as we’ve discussed, building trust amongst customers is vital. This comes from consistently delivering on their expectations in terms of product, service and overall experience.
- Differentiation – with fierce competition in almost every industry, brand consistency can help a business stand out from the crowd. There will always be other companies offering similar products and services. Brand consistency allows companies to communicate what sets them apart from the competition.
Tips for Achieving a Consistent Branding Strategy
Delivering brand consistency across all marketing assets can seem like a big task. Fortunately, there are steps a business can take that will help. These three tips are a great starting point for any brand wanting to become more consistent in its offering:
Develop and adhere to brand guidelines
Brand style and usage guidelines are a great way of ensuring all messaging and brand assets are consistent. The guidelines can be used by the marketing department, employees in other departments and also agencies and third-parties. It is vital that guidelines align with the company’s vision and reflect its values. While the level of detail will be dependent on the size of your business, establishing a base set of guidelines that will help you deliver consistent brand messaging is key.
Build the right company culture
Creating brand consistency isn’t purely outward-facing; it starts from within. Employees are the people who need to consistently deliver your brand experience. Think about tying brand values into training programs, giving free branded merchandise to employees and empowering employees to use social media to spread your brand message. When employees buy-in to the brand they work for they will be able to deliver a more consistent brand experience to its customers.
Create consistent content
Once you have a set of brand guidelines, a clear vision and a set of values, you need to ensure the content you produce follows through on those promises. Every piece of content should be produced with brand consistency in mind, ensuring consistency across all of your marketing channels and customer touchpoints. It’s worth considering the following questions when creating any piece of content:
- Are the logo and design elements correctly displayed?
- Does what you’re writing about align with your brand’s vision and goals?
- Could you produce a supporting online/offline piece of content to strengthen your message?
- Have you used the right tone of voice and conveyed your brand’s personality?
- Does the marketing channel you’re using resonate with your audience?
Considering these three areas is a great way to start building brand consistency. By including these areas in all of your planning and content marketing efforts, you will produce a more cohesive message and a stronger brand identity.
How Can Digital Asset Management Help?
In most medium-large sized enterprises, there are a variety of people, from a variety of departments, working with your digital assets at any one time. This is a real risk when it comes to brand consistency, especially if there are no controls in place to ensure correct usage of your assets. Digital asset management provides a centralized repository for all your digital assets and, not only are your assets all in one place, but they are easily searchable.
A digital asset management system provides simple access to your most up-to-date marketing-approved brand materials. Not only will your teams be able to find the correct versions of the assets they need, but they’ll have them in the right formats, making it much less likely for an off-brand piece of content to be produced.
As well as ensuring assets are approved and consistent, with digital asset management, they are easy to find. A considerable amount of time can be saved searching for assets and seeking approval, which means your teams can spend more time producing consistent brand materials and strengthening your brand recognition.
As it is so easy to create and distribute marketing communications, retaining brand identity can become a real challenge. Achieving brand consistency is a must for any brand wanting to build brand recognition, trust, and loyalty. OpenAsset’s digital asset management solution can help ensure everyone in your organization can easily access approved, on-brand materials and build brand consistency from the outset.