I often work with individuals/companies/organizations to develop a brand identity. And what often happens is that once I'm done and walk away, brand consistency disappears.
Most people don't understand why brand consistency is important. In fact, most people don't even understand what a brand is.
A brand is not a logo.
A brand is not an identity.
A brand is not a product.
A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.
Branding differentiates you from your competition. It attaches a personality and attitude to your product, service, or organization.
This personality is what people relate to.
Why is Brand Consistency Important?
Your brand is firmly attached to every facet of your outward identity. This includes stuff like:
- Email signature and body text font
- Out of office email message
- Social media presence
- Marketing materials, displays
- Slide presentations
- Social media presence
- Price quotes and proposal documents
- Billing documents
- How employees talk about your product, service, organization
- How employees act and dress at meetings, conferences
Consistent branding fosters confidence in your business or product. It develops and solidifies your message. It promotes client loyalty.
Of all the items listed above, your website and email are often what people see first -- and the most often.
Here's a story: A small company that prided itself in giving employees autonomy provided them with a branded email signature and a text font. But when it got push-back from employees who preferred to create their own, those guidelines were not enforced.
The result was that employee email signatures and text font styles were all over the map. Some had the company's main product instead of the company name in their signature. How can you build trust and familiarity if everyone in your company is doing something different?
Who Does This Well?
Companies like Target, Apple, Wells Fargo, and Starbucks are very consistent in their branding across all marketing platforms. Many large health systems, like Advocate and Kaiser Permanente, also have the brand consistency thing down. Most large healthcare design firms and product manufacturers also do branding well.
Do you have to be a big company or organization to achieve brand consistency? No. Small companies or organizations can do it, too. You just have to educate your employees, commit to doing it, and enforce it.
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