A seamless brand experience is everything in today’s hybrid world.
Brand success depends on visual impact, product performance, and overall customer experience. You must be attuned to the ever-changing customer needs and provide a seamless experience across all channels. From website and social media posts to emails and in-store interactions, everything you do as part of your branding efforts should create a consistent and positive customer experience.
However, maintaining brand consistency may not be that easy. An added complexity is the endless range of formats – from traditional and digital to new technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality experiences. Inconsistency alienates customers, making them more likely to leave your brand – and less likely to come back in the future.
A strong brand identity combines all these disparate factors into a clear image representing your brand and driving growth. Let’s look at what brand consistency is and how you can maintain it in your business.
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is the continuous delivery of your brand story. Branding isn’t just your logo, brand message, or products. It’s all of these things and a lot more. It’s the values you embrace and the culture you adhere to. A brand is a feeling you evoke in your customers and makes your company unique. It’s your brand story.
Your brand filters from the inside out. Everyone in your organization is a part of it – marketing, sales, customer success, and product development.
To foster customer loyalty, maintain consistency in these three areas:
- Customer experience: Build trust and confidence. Your messaging should be in line with your brand promise.
- Values: Communicate what you can deliver. Focus on your core values so customers know you stay true to your brand.
- Brand identity components: Visual elements make your brand unique and easily recognizable and help you stand out from the competition.
Why is brand consistency important?
Brand consistency helps create trust with your customer base and leaves a lasting impression on them. It also streamlines your marketing efforts and makes your brand easier to recognize. When your brand is consistent, you also have a better chance of connecting with your target audience, as it can be easier to understand your message.
Companies that maintained brand consistency across all channels have seen an average growth of 33%. Brand consistency creates a unified experience across different touchpoints for existing and potential customers. Customers buy from brands they feel connected to, brands that feel authentic.
The last thing you want to do is confuse your market. It takes about 90 seconds for a person to form an opinion about your brand. When they’re confused, the resulting viewpoint may not be positive. You can lose a hot lead or sale or fail to retain customers just because they couldn’t connect with you.
The impact of inconsistent branding can go far beyond the direct, tangible impact. Think about the time and resources it takes to fix poor branding, gradually restore customer trust and loyalty, and reinstate the damage to your brand reputation.
Benefits of brand consistency
You can build trust and engagement with your customers and stakeholders by consistently representing your brand. Communicating with a set brand message and tone makes it easier for customers to interact with you – whether they’re booking a trip, reading your blog, or downloading a white paper.
Makes your brand recognizable
A good brand image makes you easily recognizable and valued. Unique design, style, and messaging help you stand out and boost brand awareness. In fact, choosing the right colors for your brand can increase brand awareness by up to 80%. Tiffany Blue and Cadbury Purple are some great examples of instantly recognizable signature colors.
Customers associate and emotionally connect with a consistent brand. Imagine customers humming your brand jingle when they see your logo or hear your name.
Customers should know what to expect from your brand, products, and services. Sharing consistent messaging at every touchpoint ensures customers have the same experience regardless of where they are in their journey. A reliable brand meets customer expectations, and customers stick with brands they can trust.
Brand consistency evokes positive emotions in your target audience, aligning them with your vision and goals. Think of a customer who wants to live in a sustainable world and opts for brands focused on reducing waste. They feel more connected to brands that can meet their needs and deliver on their promise.
Customers who align with your values are more likely to buy from you. For 64% of customers, value alignment is one of the top reasons they trust a brand. Customers with a consistently positive experience will likely return and become loyal in the long run.
The pinnacle of brand loyalty is when customers share and recommend their positive experiences and generate referrals. These referred customers already have a positive opinion of your business, which makes them easily approachable and more valuable.
How to create brand consistency
Delivering consistent brand messaging is more of a challenge, given the number of channels customers now use. Marketing campaigns have significantly increased in speed and volume, with brands aiming to reach customers on their preferred channels, including digital and physical experiences.
To mitigate the problem of scattered communication, all aspects of your brand should be clearly defined, captured, and made available to everyone in your organization, including employees, customers, and stakeholders.
Here’s how you can create brand consistency in a few simple steps.
1. Set brand guidelines to capture your brand identity
Brand guidelines demonstrate what a company is, what it does, and what it stands for. It contains clearly defined rules and standards for representing your brand worldwide. Your brand guidelines should cover all aspects of your product’s visual design, as well as the brand’s tone and message. In short, everything about your brand identity.
Things to consider when creating your brand guidelines:
- Brand overview: Tell the story of your brand’s heart and soul. How the story began and where it leads to. Include your mission and vision. The overview should cover your brand identity elements, culture, and values that make you unique. Don’t forget to include your written story as a slogan.
- Brand design elements: Describe all visual elements of your brand. Include the logo, brand colors, and typography in a style guide and highlight how to communicate your brand in a consistent messaging, tone, and style. Also, make sure your design is inclusive.
Every department in your business should be able to easily access these guidelines. They will help with marketing copywriting, designing creatives, briefing outside agencies and freelancers, and communicating with clients. Your brand guidelines should be used as a standard tool for new and existing employees to refer to when unsure what to do.
2. Strive for design consistency
Design consistency is the repeated communication of your brand identity that’s easily recognizable to your audience. This includes consistently implementing brand design elements – logo, brand colors, and typography – as well as the tone and style of your messages.
Choose an online proofing platform to review and approve creative work and ensure design consistency. These platforms offer a range of features and help you stay on-brand with your design, including color and font verifiers, rulers, color plate previews for printed formats, and checklists.
Multiple teams are involved in the creative approval process, and each team member may view the best design differently. Before selecting a platform, make sure it has proper workflows in place.
Powerful workflows give you control and flexibility and reflect how your team reviews work. For example, work is deferred from the design, copywriting, and marketing teams before the legal department reviews it.
3. Deliver a consistent customer experience
A brand is the sum of people’s experiences with your company. The buyer journey can begin with a customer interacting with your business across multiple channels, considering your service, and ultimately completing a transaction. From a customer perspective, all these interactions should offer a consistent brand experience no matter what stage of the journey.
Friendly and helpful customer service leaves a positive impression on customers. In fact, nearly half of the customers say they remain loyal to a brand if they have a good first experience.
One of the best ways to deliver a consistent customer experience is customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM software allows you to track and manage all customer relationships in one place.
You can create a detailed profile for each customer, add relevant customer data such as contact information, interaction and purchase history, and customer journey stage, and maintain a clear live record.
Access to key information at the touch of a button helps you personalize brand experiences. It can also greatly improve customer satisfaction by removing frustrations when communicating with your business.
4. Delivering a consistent brand experience
A single customer can be present on ten different channels. You can also interact with them at different journey stages through multiple channels.
Establishing brand consistency is key to ensuring a consistent presence across all these channels and their associated media. Any content you share should match your brand voice, whether it’s a video, image, or text.
Consistently communicating your brand values influences how customers perceive your brand. When you capture and better understand customers’ emotions and preferences, you ensure an unforgettable brand experience. Brand consistency converts customer perceptions into trust and loyalty.
5. Stay true to your values
Brand values shape every aspect of your business. They are the beliefs inherent in your brand and reflect what you stand for, forming the core of your brand’s identity, message, and personality. They guide actions, behaviors, and decisions.
Source: PD Strategies
But how do you stay true to your values?
- Align your sales and marketing activities so customers get what they’re promised.
- Foster employee engagement to drive employee loyalty and productivity.
- Build a connection with your customers, and your target audience will evolve.
- Stay authentic and unique.
Brand ethics and mindful business practices are paramount in today’s world. Businesses and their customers need to share similar values to support each other. Inconsistent messaging and brand perception can reduce customer trust. Customers take their values seriously, and your credibility and loyalty will be lost if you don’t deliver according to your brand story.
Being consistent pays off
Brand consistency is a challenge, given the variety of channels and formats available today and constantly evolving. Brands interact with customers at numerous points in their journey.
When expectations are met, customers feel connected and begin to trust you. They’re then more likely to recommend you to their network because they know you won’t disappoint. With a plethora of tools available today, you can easily maintain brand consistency.
Incorporating your brand story into all aspects of your business creates a strong, recognizable brand, enhancing your brand identity and share of voice in the market. Learn more about the art of brand storytelling.