02 May The Secret to Brand Gold
One of the key tenets of building a successful brand is really no secret at all, yet it often eludes even the savviest business person—unwavering, uncompromising consistency. Consistency is what makes your company a trustworthy, memorable, and, ultimately, prestigious brand.
What do we mean by ‘consistency’?
Consistency in a brand context primarily means two things:
1) Consistency of communication and
2) Consistency of experience.
Consistency of Communication
Whether it’s a post on your social media, a header on your website, or a banner ad in your digital campaign, having a consistent voice, look and personality creates a cohesive overarching identity with enormous benefits to your brand. By being consistent in your visual and verbal communications, you maximize memorability through repetition and familiarity; you foster trust and credibility through a unified presence across various touchpoints, and, ultimately, make your brand more recognizable over time.
“Communication sets ‘em up — experience knocks ‘em down.”
Consistency of Experience
Whereas consistency of communication establishes a promise and story for your brand, consistency of experience delivers on them and results in more loyal ‘superfans’ and brand evangelists. Communication sets ‘em up — experience knocks ‘em down.
Ensuring that your product or service experience is at the same level of quality and engagement each and every time creates a psychological and emotional imprint on your stakeholders.
Let’s say, for instance, you dine at a seafood restaurant for the first time and the food is delicious, the service is excellent and the atmosphere is wonderful. You visit that same restaurant a second time and you find that the food is stale, the service is nonexistent, and the environment is unkempt.
99 out of 100 times, you will never go back again. However, if the first, second, third, fourth times are all equally great, you will never think of another seafood restaurant again. This is your “go-to” place, and you’re telling everyone you know. When you think of cod, catfish, or crab, you think of this restaurant. Not so suddenly, you’ve become a loyal superfan.
This is not some anomaly or fairy tale. This happens millions of times a day, every day in every country of the world, and it’s the ultimately secret to why some brands succeed and others don’t.
So when you have a unified, cohesive promise (consistency of communication), and a reliable product and service (consistency of experience), it’s no question that you have achieved brand gold. It’s even more important in this day and age, where public opinion about specific brands can be so well-informed and brand transparency is unavoidable.
5 Ways to Be More Consistent with Your Brand
1. Use the same visuals and writing style.
Create a palette of colors that you always use for every touchpoint. Use the same fonts everywhere and every time. Use similar photography and messaging. Make sure that all your copywriting sounds like the same person. This may all seem a bit overboard — but it’s the small details like these that create the kind of repetition that results in real brand consistency.
2. Craft your story.
Having a very clear understanding of what your brand stands for is what will help keep your messaging the same across every piece of media. This means writing down a list of all your features and benefits, looking at your competitors and seeing how you are different, and then formulating a simple, elevator pitch that very clearly and succinctly spells out why your audience should care about your brand.
Do you stand for better design? Better value? Are you more expressive, or more buttoned up? More approachable or exclusive? What sets you apart from everyone else? Find out and tell this story at every touchpoint.
A consistent message ensures everything is being drawn from the same well.
3. Create brand identity guidelines.
For our clients, whether we execute major touchpoints for the brand or not, we still create guidelines to make sure there is an authoritative document of what defines the way the brand looks, sounds and feels. This allows all your communications to consequently look, sound and feel like they’re coming from the same company.
4. Develop a list of principles to live and work by.
Consistency needs to start from the inside out. Having clear cultural values fortifies your company’s internal culture, which in turn increases the chance of achieving consistent results for your external audience, as well as identification and loyalty among your internal team too.
5. Most importantly, keep your promises.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but this is probably the one thing that most unsuccessful brands get wrong. Whatever story you are telling; whatever promises you make, always strive to deliver on your proposition. Brands that last are ones from which you can expect a certain level of quality and experience. This continual cycle of setting up your story/promise and then delivering on it, or even exceeding those expectations, creates trust, loyalty and engagement that cultivate lifelong followers.
A Big Mac in Singapore tastes exactly the same as one in Sacramento. You already know you’re going to buy that next Apple product and you haven’t even seen it yet. This kind of brand loyalty is the product of years, if not, decades of consistently doing exactly what you say you’re going to do. This is branding at work.
This is being consistent.
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