Given a ‘brand’ is most commonly defined as a business’s ‘personality’, it’s easy to understand why presenting consistent behaviour is so important. Like forging a new friendship, consistent messaging over time builds a deeper understanding and connection with your consumers. This consistency manifests in trust and ultimately, long term loyalty.
The benefits of creating a strong brand are broad. A few of the most important are as follows:
- Helps your consumers understand your values, benefits and ultimately your uniqueness
- Creates an identity for your consumers to build a relationship with
- Creates trust and recognition to improve marketing cut through
If the experiences your consumers have with your business are inconsistent, the connection they have with your brand will be weak or even negative. Without an understanding of what you represent, it’s difficult for consumers to differentiate you from your competitors, which in turn makes it hard to stand out in a crowd of similar offerings.
Brand Failures Vs Successes
To highlight the importance of brand consistency, it is useful to examine why some businesses are able to diversify into new product categories and some are not. A few of the cringe-worthy fails include Colgate’s line of frozen meals and Cosmopolitan Magazine’s line of yoghurt. Neither of these extensions aligned with what consumers knew about the brands, leading to confusion, mistrust and poor sales. On the flip side, Dyson was able to move successfully from vacuums to lighting because the transition made sense to their consumers who knew the brand as a market leader of quality electronics.
Four tips to creating and maintaining a consistent brand:
- Clearly define what your brand represents; it’s values and beliefs
- Map all the contact points you have with your consumers
- Define the experience you want your consumers to have at each contact point
- Train your staff so everyone is practising what you’re preaching
From a marketing standpoint, the two most important things you can do are:
1. Create brand guidelines
Brand guidelines are how you want your brand to be visually represented. This includes logos, colours, fonts, image/video styles, layouts, etc.
Whenever your business produces visual content, these guidelines are to be followed which creates a consistent message that strengthens recognition over time. A great example is the enduring visual components of Corona’s ‘From where you’d rather be’ campaign.
2. Set your tone of voice
Tone of voice is the brand guidelines for written and spoken messages. It should contextually make sense with your product, industry, values, beliefs and visual representation. Tone of voice dimensions include funny vs serious, formal vs casual, respectful vs irreverent and enthusiastic vs matter of fact.
Sitting alongside tone of voice are key words or phrases that can be repeated to strengthen the consumers understanding of your brand. A great example is Nike, who use aspirational tones and phrases to strengthen their brand. Their most famous phrase, of which you are sure to recognise, is ‘Just do it’.