Customers need to, at minimum, know who you are before purchasing from you. If you saw one type of logo, for instance, on a website, but a different typeface and color on branded items and differences yet again on business cards, you would question the brand- is it even the same one? Can they be trusted? Are they professional? You would naturally, be doubtful and less likely to invest in a purchase.
This is the importance of branding consistency. A consistent brand does not plant seeds of doubt in the minds of customers. Its consistency is a badge of honor and makes the company look more professional than less consistent brands. People are naturally more trusting of consistent things. A consistent brand makes the most of every impression and interaction with a customer. It all adds up to a brand experience that makes a person more likely to engage (i.e., purchase, donate, read, mention, etc.)
What Is Brand Consistency?
Brand consistency is presenting your brand in the same way across platforms, interactions, and products while staying true to the brand values. In order to practice brand consistency, you need to have a thorough understanding of your brand identity. This means taking the time to ensure that you have an established brand identity and making sure you stick to those decisions and that identity across all platforms and interactions. At a minimum, you need to be considering a logo, slogan, fonts, imaging, copy, packaging, and customer service. It’s all about ensuring your brand is recognizable and dependable.
Consider this- you’re somewhere new and looking for a quick bite to eat. Suddenly, you see the golden arches. Assuming you’re the sort of person that’s not opposed to the occasional fast food meal, you might decide to go to the McDonalds. At the very least you know exactly who they are, what they serve, how the interaction will go, and exactly what the food will taste like. You know what kind of box the burger will come in, and what carton the chips will come in. That’s because McDonald’s has excellent brand consistency. Across continents and cultures, the Big Mac is unchanging, ever offered under the identifying golden arches.
The Dangers of Inconsistency
Of all the dangers associated with inconsistent branding, the most obvious problem is confusion. If your customers aren’t sure what you do and what you stand for, how can they decide if you’re the right solution to their problems?
The impression you make on your customers with your branding, marketing materials, and website ultimately influences the strength of your business. That’s why even the smallest brand consistency mistake can lead to serious headaches.
When you don’t have a design team guiding your decisions, it’s easy for small brand inconsistencies to appear in everything from your color choices, to your tone of voice on social media. This happens because every person in your organization that produces content for your brand naturally has their own voice, style, and insights. Unfortunately, when this brand inconsistency begins to build up, your business suffers from multiple mismatched identities, and no true image.
Countless studies show that strong, consistent brand awareness is crucial to influencing buyer behavior. The more a company stays true to their image and niche, the more of an authority they become in the eyes of their customers. If your brand image is constantly changing, your company looks as though it’s having an identity crisis. If you don’t know who you are, how can your customers get behind you?
To Sum Up
Big businesses have to deal with forces that erode their brand’s consistency—product fragmentation, multiple departments, offsite agencies, rogue franchisees or distributors, etc. But the brands from large organizations are mostly consistent despite all of that. Why? Because they highly value brand consistency. They know that their brand is nothing if not consistent.
Smaller organizations with less bureaucracy and moving parts should have an easier time keeping their brand more consistent. Yet small and medium-sized businesses tend to be less consistent than their larger competitors, which may look less professional in comparison.
Designers, brand managers, and executives need to hold consistency as a value and diligently work to maintain it. When building a brand, visualize where and how your brand will live and breathe in the real world. How will your logo and brand identity appear on brand collateral, websites, social channels, and exterior signage? How can you maintain consistent elements, so the brand is cohesive?
To keep this consistent, follow your brand style guide, and your brand will shine!
Get in touch with one of our brand consultants to discuss your brand identity and consistency.