This article was written to provide you with a high level understanding of how to keep your brand consistent, through your Mission and Values, Brand Guidelines, Content, Fluid Adjustments and Corporate Culture.
Brand consistency is the importance of maintaining the same delivery of the brand’s messaging over time. Your brand’s message is anything that portrays your company and the brand you represent; your logo is always used in a similar way, your fonts are consistent, the same tone is used for your content, and colours you use are consistent across all mediums. Each branding aspect and piece of marketing material used should be like members of the same family, supporting and even looking similar to all the other members of the family. By delivering a consistent brand experience to your consumers it creates a specific style that can be recognized and is how you gain brand-loyal consumers that will choose you over the competition. How can you be sure that you are maintaining consistent branding? Don’t worry, we’ve got a 5 point quick list to check off and keep your branding on the consistency track.
1. Mission and Values
From the beginning your brand should reflect your company’s core values, which relates directly to your mission or what your business is accomplishing. As the old saying goes “actions speak louder than words”. If you are telling your consumers one thing and then your actions are not reflecting that, they may begin to feel confused and not know what to expect from your brand, this isn’t ideal. What do you want consumers to feel when they interact with your brand? You must ensure that your brand sends the right message to your audience about what you do and what they can expect if they choose to engage with you. Confirm that you have your mission statement and core values written down, then refer to them to make sure all of your visual elements of branding and content are aligned with them.
2. Brand Guidelines
Most corporations develop brand style and usage guidelines to make sure all content and brand asset handling is correct and consistent. These internal guidelines help the marketing department lock down usage, as well as any other employees and departments that are involved with content, products, and services – so everyone! HubSpot provides a great example of their brand style guide.
These guidelines may look overwhelming if you have a smaller business or are in the process of developing your brand but keep in mind that your guidelines do not have to be as complex and will evolve as your brand grows. It is important to take the time to establish a foundation of your brands visual aspects and messaging, as this will help to ensure consistency is maintained as your brand develops. Remember that the time you put into it now pays off later, as the name suggests, they will help ‘guide’ future decisions. Making it faster for decision making and reducing brand missteps.
Once your brand style is established and you have created your guidelines, it is important to refer to them steadily as you create your content for marketing, products, and services. Consistency is more important than ever to maintain your brand image with all of the different marketing opportunities to showcase your products and services both online and offline. When creating content, here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to maintain consistency:
- Use your logo consistently
- Provide employees access to a style guide for visual branding elements
- Maintain the same tone of voice and personality in your messaging
- Have a social media team to maintain consistency across all social efforts
- Have a Brand Manager to ensure compliance with branding
- Post content online regularly – develop a schedule
- Post the right content that reflects your brand’s style
- Let your online audience know about offline events/opportunities
Your brand can suffer greatly if the logo is skewed, someone uses the wrong font or your social media post doesn’t have the same impression and look like your website; maintaining consistent content will make sure your consumers know what to expect from you which will develop trust in your brand.
If something doesn’t align with your brand, fix it! Whoever handles the branding for your business should be involved in every level of your company that involves messaging, products, services or anything with visual elements – which doesn’t leave many areas they won’t be involved in. Having someone that knows your brand inside and out can make the quality assurance process much easier. With someone looking at the branding elements constantly, they are much more likely to notice the small details that should be the same yet aren’t. Once these details are noticed, you are able to make the necessary adjustments to correct the mistake. Mistakes are okay as long as you learn from them! Sharing that it is okay for branding mistakes to be pointed out will make it easier to maintain consistency with your brand as people will be much more willing to point out the flaws in hopes of making the crucial adjustments required.
5. Internal Branding and Corporate Culture
Your brand is not just for external purposes, or just for your customers. Your brand is just as important internally, for your employees and the culture you are creating. Beyond your brand reflecting your employees and culture, you will also need them to be invested in maintaining your brand’s consistency! Once you’ve taken the time to foster a brand voice that resonates with your audience, the delivery of your brand will need to match that voice, and your staff are the ones that help to deliver that experience. Sometimes marketing teams get so focused on driving external sales and promotions that they forget about their internal customers. Your employees should want to buy-in and support your brand.
While a style guide will help in supporting the consistent delivery of your brand visuals, it will not be enough to gain employee participation or create a brand-centric culture initiative. It is a great idea to work with HR in order to create a formal corporate culture program that can highlight the importance of branding and brand consistency.
Are you creating a consistent brand experience?
As your company increases in size and numbers, communication increases, it becomes easier for little things to be missed, and for mistakes to happen within your branding. Whether your business has created its overall look, or you are still working on it, take a moment to ask yourself the following question: Are you creating a consistent brand experience? If the answer is no, the above 5 steps will help guide you in the right direction towards consistent branding. If you are wondering why brand consistency is important, read our series on Why Brand Consistency Matters.
Download this resource article 5 Tips to Keep Your Brand Consistent (pdf).