You probably already know that brand consistency matters. Cultivating, and then maintaining, a consistent brand presence projects professionalism, establishes brand recognition and builds trust amongst consumers. It really is that important!
It’s an essential element of building a successful brand that can stand the test of time. If you’re still in need of some convincing, we run through the top three reasons why brand consistency is so important for your business, which brands have got it right and how you can replicate their success.
What is brand consistency?
Today’s customers interact with your brand across multiple facets, including digital marketing, social media, events, print marketing and public relations. Without a strong brand strategy in place, it can be difficult to communicate a consistent message to current and potential customers.
It Builds Brand Recognition
In today’s intensely competitive consumer market, it’s harder than ever for younger brands to establish a unique, memorable identity that encourages customers not only to buy their product in the first instance, but to continue doing so well into the future. Particularly with the millennial generation, brand loyalty is no longer a given, but must be earned [through repeated interactions]. The younger generations’ growing buying power and fickle relationship with household name brands presents a unique opportunity for burgeoning brands like yours to compete against larger corporations – with only a fraction of their budget! Brand consistency is a powerful way of building brand awareness and establishing long lasting relationships with customers.
US-based skincare and beauty company Glossier’s rapid rise to cult-status success is a great example of the power of brand consistency. Founded in 2010, off the back of a wildly successful blog, Glossier has built a strong brand identity through cultivating a cohesive online presence across multiple platforms including their website, social pages, email marketing and blog. They’ve achieved this through coordinating consistent, persistent and relevant brand messaging at every touch-point with customers, both current and potential. Self-defined as a ‘people-powered beauty ecosystem’, Glossier firmly centres their customers as the sole inspiration behind their products, which is reflected through the proliferation of user-generated content on their social pages. Coupled with a tightly designed, emoji-heavy website and now infamous pink packaging, Glossier have established themselves as the go-to choice for eco-conscious millennials looking to glam up their next ‘shelfie’ pic.
Their instagram page currently has upwards of 1.7million followers! Crucially, the brand also delivers on their promise of well-designed, cruelty-free products that don’t just look good, they feel good too.
To get started on cultivating your own brand message, why not draft up a ‘brand charter’ document that outlines your core values and ethos. Take the time to hone in on what and who your brand stands for; think of this as your central brand identity that will shape all of your output off and online. One idea is to create this on a shared online document that staff can easily refer back to and even add suggestions or comments.
In Authentic Brands We Trust
Brand consistency helps consumers get to know your brand on a personal level, and feel comfortable enough to trust that you will deliver on your promises. Brand awareness alone isn’t always enough to encourage potential customers to part with their hard-earned cash; especially if you are selling a service, or higher-priced goods that require a significant financial commitment. A consumer may recognize your name, but do they trust it?
Delivering consistent brand messaging is a strong step in the right direction towards letting people get to know and trust your organization. It’s well-known that buying is typically an emotional, rather than logical decision. In simple terms, how a person feels about your brand will most likely win out over the cost and practicality of your products. So, establishing an authentic brand identity that people can trust is essential to securing first-time sales and building long lasting relationships between company and client.
Challenger bank Monzo had a tough challenge winning over consumers when they launched in 2015. It’s notoriously difficult to get people to change their banking provider, but Monzo proved it was a worthwhile pursuit as they’ve successfully built the foundations of a ‘new kind of bank’ and attracted a growing online community of fans. This is in part down to their unique product offering but also to their insistence on transparency at every step of the process. Monzo email regular updates about the business, invite customers to road-test new features in their production stages and blog about the trials and tribulations of being a small, but feisty fish in a piranha-infested pond! Recognizing the potential power of friend and family recommendations in expanding their reach, Monzo built a ‘golden ticket’ incentive into their app- rewarding new customers with a fast-pass ticket to gift to a person of their choice, enabling them to skip the queue for a highly sought after current account and covetable coral-pink card.
Communication is king! Establishing a set of finely tuned brand guidelines helps maintain a consistent and trustworthy brand voice and aesthetic across all platforms, from the products themselves to your online presence and wider marketing output. Ultimately, this document nails down the visual, stylistic and linguistic guidelines that inform the look and feel of your brand at every part of the customer journey. This ensures that your core values (as outlined in your brand charter) are behind all of the brand’s product offering, content and aesthetic- no matter how small – also covering things like creating consistent promotional materials and products. Look to Monzo’s ‘tone of voice’ document for inspiration, this briefly outlines how they write across all of their marketing, terms and conditions, and banking app. Their insistence on maintaining clear, concise language is an essential part of their brand ethos. Monzo recognises that ‘every word adds up to people’s perception of who we are’, and is an important way of showing people what they stand for.
Consumers expect a consistent customer experience across every interaction they have with your brand. It only takes one bad experience in your store, misjudged social message or rude email to cancel out all the hard work you’ve put in to cultivating your brand image and relationship with that customer. However, by consistently satisfying customer expectations and delivering on your promises, it’s possible to build a loyal customer base who trust your brand.
Maintaining a consistent brand message is crucial to developing a brand that consumers can depend on. Take ethical cosmetic giants LUSH for example whose core ‘naked, fresh, cruelty-free’ values run through every aspect of the business, without exception. Essentially, they put their money where their mouth is- choosing to be a major voice in ethical debates such as animal testing and regularly working with campaigners on big issues such as combating single-use plastic.
Consumers have also come to expect a certain experience from a LUSH shop- highly knowledgeable and friendly staff, walls of carefully curated cruelty-free products and a riot of colour and smells that leave a lasting impression on visitors. Because of this continued consistency, consumers trust that they will follow through on their promises to be ethical. This pays off. Astonishingly, LUSH have achieved an almost unrivalled longevity in the ethical beauty market (second only to Body Shop) without spending any money on advertising. Heartening news for start-ups with a small marketing budget!
Hopefully this post has gone some way to convincing you that brand consistency is an essential component of building a strong business. The key to establishing and maintaining brand consistency across every aspect of the business is to implement a strong brand strategy as early as possible. This can seem daunting as a start-up, but remember all of the brands mentioned were in your shoes once upon a time. Everyone has to start somewhere, so what are you waiting for… get going!
Author Bio: Rosemary McKee
Rosemary McKee is an Account Manager at Rocket Badge, the UK’s leading badge manufacturer. With more than 22 years of experience, clients have come to depend on Rosemary’s efficiency and outstanding product knowledge to help them select the ideal badge for their promotional campaigns.