People don’t like change. Ask any food brand that has adjusted a much-loved recipe, or a retailer that has stopped stocking a certain product, or a professional services business that has had to say goodbye to a popular staff member.
Customers like consistency. A consistent brand is a memorable brand—it’s no wonder it has become a cornerstone of today’s most powerful brands.
But companies often talk about consistency in terms of delivering the same product or service at a high level of quality every time. However, the true definition of ‘brand consistency’ goes much deeper than that. And it’s about time we talked about it.
Read more: How to track, measure and improve your brand health, our free online guide.
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is about more than a logo and a slogan. It’s about providing a consistent experience for every customer across all touchpoints; whether that involves watching an advertisement, making a purchase, receiving an email or reading a blog post.
True brand consistency is broad and deep. Ensuring all the TV spots have a similar look and feel is a good start, but does that look and feel also translate across to banner advertisements, website copy or even sales calls? Is the messaging consistent over time and across all mediums? Or does one part of your business set a precedent that others don’t match?
And then there’s company culture and the brand promise. Make no mistake: these aspects are just as important as the more visible parts of a business. A failure to maintain consistency here translates into inconsistent customer experiences. If there isn’t consistent understanding and adoption of a brand promise from within the company, how can you expect it to be delivered externally? And if a brand promise suggests one experience and reality provides another, you’re going to lose customers.
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What does a consistent brand look like?
There are a lot of areas where a brand can fail in delivering a consistent experience. However, there are some key questions you can ask to evaluate your brand consistency:
- Is my brand being portrayed with consistent messaging? This can include what you say and how you say it in copy, visuals and customer interactions. Constantly changing or ‘adjusting’ your key brand message and promise can make it difficult for consumers to recall your brand’s unique offering—and why they should care.
- Is my brand speaking to the same group of people consistently? Consider your audience; is your brand designed for them, or are you trying to be too many things to too many people?
- Are you using the correct channels for communicating your brand? A brand must portray itself in fundamentally the same way regardless of what channel it is on, but it must also consider the impact of the channels it uses. Some channels have certain associations, and a careful brand manager must ensure they are portraying the same consistent brand message even as they adopt a new avenue of outreach.
How to create brand consistency
To provide a consistent experience, you first have to understand what kind of experience you are already providing, and how that experience differs from touchpoint to touchpoint, department to department, design to design. To do that, you need to overcome one of the primary hurdles for brands seeking consistency: resistance to honest feedback.
Nobody wants to hear that their brand isn’t delivering on its promises, but listening to customers, employees and other stakeholders is a key part of understanding where the brand is lacking. Bad reviews, bad scores, negative comments on customer experience surveys; these can be goldmines of actionable insights that can provide you with the direction you need to take better control of your brand. Listening to your audience is a key part of maintaining brand consistency.
One last note: being ‘consistent’ doesn’t mean you can’t change. Being consistent means you have a solid foundation for evolution. Consistent delivery of your brand, from product to people to promise, ensures a solid foundation for expansion. Try to do so without that foundation, and you’ll soon find yourself with a business made up of a thousand different parts heading in a thousand different directions.
Brand consistency is just one part of a stronger, healthier brand. For more information about owning and improving your brand health, check out our free ebook below.