A brand encompasses the values and images of any given organisation and plays a critical role in customer engagement.
“Brand consistency directly impacts the value of a company.”
A brand encompasses the values and images of any given organisation and plays a critical role in customer engagement. At the center, branding – logos, colour schemes, tone, voice – need consistency.
In fact, maintaining brand consistency across markets is an extremely critical task. Brand consistency can impact a company’s value, customer relationships, and (perhaps most obviously) public perception.
Think of it this way: Imagine you meet a potential business partner, and the first time you interact with them, they show up in a tailored suit and are very articulate. You have nothing but good things to say about them after this meeting. However, the next time you meet in the same environment, they show up in jeans and a band tee, all the while talking to you in slang.
These are two very different images. Naturally, you would become sceptical of this person. You’d approach any future endeavors with a cautionary note, likely untrustworthy of such a person.
The same logic applies to your brand and its effect on consumers. Consistency is crucial in building trust, loyalty, and ultimately business. In fact, according to Beneath the Brand, companies with consistent brands are worth as much as 20 percent more than those with inconsistent messaging.
As evidenced above, inconsistent branding can present major problems for a brand and is crucial in terms of buyer behaviour and expectations. For global brands, the potential impact of inconsistent branding is considerable.
Recognition essentially translates to a verification of authenticity for all of your communications. When penetrating markets new and old, the value of a strong brand identity is immeasurable. It communicates an immediate subconscious trust in your products which can positively impact conversions. Consumers crave this kind of consistency in their interactions with brands.
According to a study by Fierce Retail, 90 percent of consumers reported that they expect a consistent brand experience across channels. In fact, nearly half of respondents expressed frustration over experiences where in-store branding did not align with online branding. An additional 40 percent claimed there was a distinct disconnect between information on various brand channels. Notably, the survey participants cited brand consistency as one of the reasons they remain loyal to their favorite brands.
Zest Digital provided some insight on just how important brand consistency can be in terms of both low- and high-involvement products. When a consumer is purchasing a low-involvement product, such as a packet of biscuits, brand recognition plays a role in that person’s split-second decision. If shoppers recognise your brand and are familiar with the packaging, they will be more likely to grab your product over a competitor’s.
For high-involvement products, such as a car, consumers instinctively prefer brands with well-communicated and consistent values for a couple of key reasons. For starters, these purchases are usually highly visible and ultimately a reflection of the customer. As such, consumers prefer to buy from brands with high-calibre values that are easily identifiable. Additionally, brand consistency relays an inherent level of trustworthiness for the brand which often makes consumers feel more at ease when making a purchase.
In both types of sales, consistent messaging increases the likelihood of a purchase. Recognition plays a big role in consumer preference and is secured by a consistent brand message – organisations with inconsistent messaging risk losing sales to better-managed competitors.
“Organisations with inconsistent messaging risk losing sales to better-managed competitors.”
How to Build Brand Consistency
The value of high-level brand consistency is clear. It allows customers to trust your business and promotes increased customer loyalty. While brands develop and mature over time, brand consistency is not something that should be left to chance. Organisational leaders need to create and enforce a variety of standards surrounding consistent messaging. Let’s take a look at some best practices for building brand consistency:
Create a Brand Guide: As with any standard company procedure, brand consistency warrants an official guide for protocols and best practices. In essence, this document will contain all the necessary elements to ensure your branding is consistent across locations and markets.
Things like font choices, official logo documents and tone should be clearly outlined in your brand guide. By sitting down and creating official guidelines, leaders ensure that all employees have a reference point before disseminating messaging. It is important to make this document readily available to your team. Hand out physical copies and provide digital access to the guide. Make sure to update the documents as needed and inform all parties of any changes to avoid inconsistencies.
Communicate Standards: Company-wide communication is crucial when it comes to securing brand consistency. From disseminating the brand guide to informing everyone of updates, full disclosure of expectations and guidelines is crucial – without clear and continual communication, there is ample room for error.
Internal disconnect is common when it comes to brand consistency. In terms of messaging, there should be complete continuity between departments, explains Hoovers. For example, HR should be communicating the same company values to new employees as the sales and marketing team are to potential clients. Internal disconnects can be detrimental to the external image of a business. Ensure communication is frequent and standardised when it comes to brand messaging.
“Without clear and continual communication, there is ample room for error.”
Leverage Distribution Networks: Your brand is only as effective as the audiences it reaches. For global brands, this can present a problem. Brand distribution can become costly and problematic when it comes to delivering print materials to cities and countries around the world. Often, marketers expect that the fullness of colour that they see in their headquarters, say in London, will be the same colour that’s delivered to audiences in Sydney. More often than not, calling on the services of a copy shop in another country can deliver you an inconsistent product. Printing procedures vary from store to store, leaving you with an offbeat branded flyer, brochure, or booklet.
If you choose to print and then ship, you’ll face the ensuing battle of tariffs, fees, duties and customs issues. Your best bet? Print in the region of your destination.
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