How Does Consistency Make Your Branding More Effective?
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Successful brands know how to create a clear, consistent brand message. When you see your favorite soft drink brand, for example, you know it immediately by the marketing materials used to promote it. Everything from logo, colors, and imagery used, to content, ad copy, and online marketing has a certain look and feel that you recognize instantly and effortlessly. You can create the same type of brand experience for your small business customers simply by choosing marketing materials with an eye for consistency.
Why Consistency Matters
Imagine what it would be like if a major brand discontinued their consistent branding materials and started making choices simply because it’s the most inexpensive, convenient, or effortless selection. Now, their logo is never the same, their packages are completely different from one week to the next, and the look of their website is totally different from any of those.
If they made that change, you wouldn’t know the brand when you saw its marketing materials, so you couldn’t choose it with any consistency. It wouldn’t be a major brand for long. You may have a much smaller brand, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the need to connect with customers through your branding choices.
Consistency has three main benefits…
Suppose you’ve never had one consistent logo. When someone uses your product or service and is completely satisfied, they might go back to search for it again. Yet, even if they found it, they might not recognize it as the same brand. You need a consistent logo if you want people to be aware of your brand before they buy and when they return to look for it again.
People trust brands they recognize. When they see the brand’s packaging or other marketing materials, they have certain expectations. They assume they’ll have the same positive experience they had with the brand before. Even if they’ve never tried your brand yet, the fact that they’ve seen the same designs and colors used whenever it’s mentioned helps them feel secure that your product is reliable or your service is legitimate.
Gaining Customer Loyalty
Once you win over a customer, the next step is to keep them coming back for more. How do you do it? Of course, you have to have a consistently high-quality product or service. That isn’t enough, though. You also have to let them know at a glance that the brand is still the same. The ultimate in customer loyalty is when they seek out your product or service without being asked or reminded. If your marketing materials are inconsistent, it will never happen. You can’t be loyal to a shifting image.
How to Do It
So, branding consistency is important. So what? How can you do anything about it, especially if you don’t have the enormous marketing budget of a major brand yet? Here are some simple steps you can take.
1. Make Sure You Determine Who Your Audience is
This is the number one, because if you don’t know who your audience is and what matters to them, everything else about your branding will be off. If you need some help getting started, download our 3 Step Worksheet + Checklist.
2. Set Guidelines for Your Brand Materials
Sometimes brands give inconsistent messages simply because no one has ever sat down and made decisions about how to present the brand. You need to make some decisions before you put out a single piece of marketing material or at least as soon as you understand the need for consistency. You need specific guidelines that each person can use as they create content for your overall marketing, including website, brochures, and other on and offline efforts now and in the foreseeable future.
3. Use Your Logo and Design Consistently
Choose one logo and stick with it. The same goes for the design of your marketing materials. Use the same font on your website, brochures, and any other written material. Create a style guide that tells artists, writers, and anyone making marketing decisions exactly how you want materials to appear.
4. Choose Consistent Content Marketing Topics
The topics you choose to cover on your blog can add tremendously to your marketing success. If you’re selling running shoes, a blog about nuclear energy is probably going to dilute your message and confuse the user, for example. Stick to your area of expertise so that even when you have variety, it’s all related to your central brand message.
5. Create the Same Customer Perception Online and Offline
Some people see your brand materials more often online while others see them more offline. By having the exact same logo, design, and content online and offline, you increase awareness that, yes, this is the same brand they know about online and in their local community.
6. Be Consistent Across All the Online Channels You Use
It isn’t necessary to use every online channel available to you. Choose one or two social media platforms, maintain a blog, and any others that make sense for your target market. Then, continue your same logo, design, and content across all these channels.
Getting all these decisions right is definitely possible on your own, but it requires a lot of effort and discipline. That can add up to a lot of pressure for you as a small business owner or manager. A professional designer can create a logo, style guide, and marketing materials that get your message across loudly, clearly, and most of all, consistently!
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