Brand Consistency? What does that even mean?
By now you know your brand is more than a logo. It’s everything that represents your company from the content you create to the people you hire. As a small business it is easy to have your hand in all parts of your brand but what about as your business grows? This can cause an issue when it comes to maintaining consistency among your brand. Brand consistency means that every time someone interacts with your brand, whether they see an ad, speak to a representative, or purchase a product, they are getting the same consistent messaging and level of service that you promise.
Let some of the most recognizable brands in the world be your guide. Take Starbucks, Target, and Nike for examples. You can go into a Starbucks anywhere in the world to get your caffeine fix and be confident that it will taste the same as the last time you ordered it at the Starbucks across town. Now look at Target, when you see a Target ad, you know it’s a Target ad without even needing to see their logo. They are known for bright, colorful ads, full of fun animations and collections. Lastly, lets look at Nike. How many of you know that Nike wasn’t always Nike? Previously, it was Blue Ribbon Sports. Ever heard of it? Probably not, but in 1971, they re-branded as Nike, and their iconic swoosh was introduced. Now it is seen on the most recognizable athletes, and people know and trust that Nike is a reliable, quality brand.
All of these brands have something in common. They were small businesses that grew and stayed consistent in their branding, and created a unique customer experience that set them apart from similar businesses. Consistency helps you manage perceptions. It conveys your personality. It eliminates brand confusion. And best of all, consistency builds on previous success!
So you might be wondering, how do I create brand consistency for my small business?
Well I’ll tell you…
- Have a firm understanding of your core values and mission.
- Put your mission and core values down on paper and keep them close. Use them to guide what your customers see, such as your logo and your website. If you are an insurance company that wants everyone to know that you make insurance easy, you’re local, and you’re reliable, then your brand should reflect that in everything you do.
- Build a foundation
- Create a “Brand Standards Guide” that outlines how your logo, colors, fonts, tagline, etc. should be used. Make it simple and easy to review with everyone. You can also work with a graphic designer to build templates for your most common branding pieces, like business cards, email signatures, and letterheads. Having these consistent among all of your employees ensures consistency when employees are communicating with customers and industry contacts.
- Set checks and balances
- Hold your employees accountable to the brand. Train and retrain on how to represent the brand in every aspect of the job. As you grow it will be difficult for you to approve every thing that points back to your brand. Set up approval processes that don’t create a lot of extra work but creates a checks and balance system before new marketing materials are launched. Appoint a few trusted people to be your “brand police.” Have them chase down offenses and keep the peace.
- Be authentic
- Live your brand. Hire people that live your brand. If you believe in your brand and you have employees that believe in your brand, it will be easy to share it consistently with your customers.
Consistency is key to creating a successful brand. Whether you are just starting out or you have been in business for awhile, take a minute and review the four tips. After all, you can never be too consistent!