Brand consistency

BRAND CONSISTENCY PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN ESTABLISHING YOUR PRESENCE BOTH ON AND OFF LINE
by Darren | 18 February 2015

In the current marketplace, there are now more platforms than ever in which to convey your brand message, making it even more difficult to remain consistent? They range from smartphones, apps and mobile websites to social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, never mind print of which you have guessed I am an advocate. To give your clients and customers a clear understanding of your brand, you must ensure that you deliver a cohesive message across all of your advertising channels. 

Successful branding doesn't happen overnight. It is achieved over time, and does not consist of only the logo. Once you establish a distinctive, simple message, you must stick with it and continue to deliver that message time and time again. Think about the brands that you know and love that have stood the test of time.

Because you are delivering a consistent message doesn't mean you must always use the same words, but it does mean that you must stay relevant and bring fresh, new ideas to your campaigns while ensuring that everything you do remains consistent with your brand message.

How do you want to be perceived? Are you looking to attract large customers who have a greater spend per project or are you after lots of smaller clients? Giving some thought to how you want to be perceived from the outset helps define your brand.

You work hard building your brand and creating a positive impression. Ensure that this message remains clear. It requires a strong brand strategy. Tactics that may have worked well for one marketing channel may not work across all platforms. A cohesive strategy and a clear brand message avoids bombarding consumers with mixed messages on different channels.

Consider the brands you know and love such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Ford. These brands have encountered many ups and downs and still have the ability to evoke emotion. They have gained the trust of consumers by providing them with clear consistent messaging for a great number of years. Coca-Cola does an excellent job of creating a consistent brand experience across many marketing platforms as they tend to focus less on the actual product but take more of a lifestyle approach to their advertising creating an emotional connection between consumers and their product.

Branding is just as important for a small business as a large business. Many of the business owners that I meet understand branding is important, but they don't always know why. They understand that there is a link between a successful businesses and strong brand. Importantly they understand that branding is not just a logo.

Branding defines your business, to yourself, your team and your external audiences. When customers share the same values and beliefs of a brand. It leads to higher sales and better brand differentiation, loyalty, advocacy and protects your price when competitors rely on promotional discounts to drive sales. When customers are emotively connected with your brand you have the ideal platform from which to extend your offering or range.

Here are my ten top tips to aid implementation of your brand.  Don't try everyone out straight away but they are some useful pointers to keep in mind. OK here we go.

Tip number 1. Define your brand.
Ask yourself a few questions:
Can I review the product or service my business offers?
Am I able to identify the space in the market it occupies?
Do I know who my competitors are and how they promote themselves?
Be aware that your brand character promotes your business but it should also connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market making you stand out from the crowd.

Tip number 2. Think of your brand as a person.
This is not an obvious approach but think about it for a minute. Each of us is an individual made up of stories, beliefs, experiences, values and purposes. It defines who we are and who we connect with. It's this that determines how we behave, how we dress, how we think and what we say.

For brand building, this rare intuition causes you to consider your own character as it gives you vital understanding.

Tip number 3. What is it that drives you?
Answer these three questions:
What drives your business?
What is its purpose?
Who are its brand heroes?
Answering these helps establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the identity and character for brand communications.

Tip number 4. Build long term relationships with your customers.
It's very important to build long term relationships to be in a position where your customers buy from you, time and time again. Don't make promises that you can't keep, create trust with honest branding.

People buy from people they know, like and trust. Have a clear understanding of your company and stay true to the values that drive it.

Tip number 5. Use a consistent tone when speaking to your customers through your brand.
How your brand looks and sounds reinforces it. Keeping your tone consistent will help reinforce the character of the business clarifying its offering, making customers aware what to expect from the product or service when they buy from you. The positive customer experience must be delivered each and every time.

Tip number 6. Don't become too obsessed with consistency.
Brand consistency is important. Be careful not to repeat the same message in the same way over and over again. If your colour scheme is predominantly blue and grey, as mine is, there's nothing wrong with injecting an extra colour into your advertising every once in a while, providing the key elements of your brand stay consistent.

Tip number 7. If you're a small business building your brand don't try to copy the look of a big brand.
The best way to approach your branding is to carve out your own distinctive identity. It will take time and perseverance but it will be worthwhile. There is a big consumer trend towards working with an independent business, one that can stay innovative and stand for what they believe in. 

Tip number 8. Don't be afraid to be innovative and daring.
Why should your customers to buy from you instead of the competition? When launching or re branding a restaurant get your staff to dress up in fancy dress or go out on the street offering free tasters from your menu. Something a little out of the ordinary can really make a difference.

Tip number 9. Consider your branding when sending out a communication.
This is even more important if you are launching an offer. Don't risk diluting your brand positioning with indiscriminate discounting. It can work against you making you look desperate for a sale. Offer more, rather than slashing prices. Remember it may more profitable to sell a package rather than an individual item or service. Promotions are an opportunity to reinforce your brand awareness.

Tip number 10. Don't just stamp your logo on everything and sit back.
Be fluid and engaging - respect your customers' intelligence. Don't give everything away up front. It generates intrigue and allows them to unearth more about your brand for themselves. Write a book to showcase your expertise and have the first chapter as a free download. When your customers like what they get, you have successfully intrigued them and they will pay for the rest of the book leading to increased sales.

This is a great way to attract customers who revel in telling other people what they have discovered and what value for money it is. Good luck developing your brand.