Yes, we’re talking about McDonald's and Mercedes Benz. A half-bitten apple hardly needs an introduction since you may be one amongst the millions using an iPhone.
A brand is your business’ identity and an extremely vital component of your marketing communications. Logos, colors, patterns, typography, and marketing content define this identity.
Branding offers a massive advantage to businesses. Recognition, trust, financial value, inspiration to employees, market development, customer engagement, and brand recall are among the countless benefits a strong brand provides to your business.
Importance of brand consistency
We’ll give you some numbers to make our case stronger. Here are some of the world’s top brands, along with the brand value they command:
||Brand Value (US$ billion)
To be successful, your audience must be exposed to the correct set of branding elements over time, across channels. This is known as brand consistency.
The brand is the sum-total of all the experiences your customers have. Therefore, to build a stronger brand, your offline and online marketing elements should:
- Deliver the same message
- Convey the same values that your business stands for
- Maintain consistency in tone and language
The online presence of your business affords the benefit of reaching millions of customers simultaneously. Brand consistency will ensure that your business’ voice remains steadfast in this digital era. Customers are much more likely to engage with your marketing communications if they have a stronger recall and positive image for your brand. This requires consistency.
Brand consistency assumes higher importance today than ever before. Digital marketing elements include images, videos, interactives, banner ads, sponsored ads, social media marketing, music, emails, among many others. This requires campaigns to be carefully planned and controlled so that all these elements remain in sync. All of these digital marketing elements should be consistent with the information you disseminate offline through newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, and so on.
One noteworthy aspect is customer care. Brand consistency can be maintained only if each employee in your organization behaves as a brand ambassador. It’s therefore crucial that your customer service department, too, adheres to these guidelines.
Must-follow procedures to create and maintain brand consistency
Here are some tips to help you build brand consistency in your company’s DNA:
1. Organizational initiatives
Brand charter: Setup a brand charter that communicates the core branding vision. Make sure everyone can see it and access it.
Avoid departmental silos: Make sure all departments involved in marketing have a seat at the marketing table. The opinions of the team members of each department should be respected. This will ensure 360-degree participation, and no-one will feel sidelined.
Reach out: Cultivate a system of collaboration. Reach out properly and effectively:
- Use collaboration software
- Roll out email campaigns to broadcast your company’s marketing priorities
- Leverage internal social media to get departments in sync
- Conduct regular meetings
Top-down information flow: Executives should allow the flow of information about strategy and initiatives down to each employee. This allows marketers to fine-tune their campaigns.
Bottom-up information flow: Feedback is important. Ensure that a system exists which allows feedback to reach senior stakeholders.
2. Digital initiatives
Content calendar: Information is broadcast over time through various channels like webinars and videos. These should send the same message that your business stands for. Have the content send a loud and clear message, so that little is left for interpretation.
Advertisements: Communicate with your ad agency and carefully choose where your information is being broadcast. Targeting the wrong set of individuals will hardly help.
Social media: This aspect is of paramount importance. It takes hardly any time for a Tweet or Facebook post to become viral. If someone is spreading wrong information, have your social media team control it, or issue a statement.
Influencers: Netizens make a purchase only after they’re satisfied with their choice. Make sure you collaborate with the right set of influencers. Individuals who are considered authorities in the your niche can help you get massive online traffic.
3. Omnichannel initiatives
Customer engagement: Try to integrate your online and offline marketing suitably. You may have a glittering website with ideal UI / UX. However, if the customer’s experience in your offline store is drastically different, you may stand to lose that customer, or your brand value may decrease.
Let’s analyze this further. Consider a seller of high-end smartphones.
Case 1: Strong online brand presence, weak offline presence - A customer who wants a hands-on experience of a swanky smartphone won’t buy it if your store isn’t equally appealing as your product.
Case 2: Strong offline presence, weak online presence – Let’s say your stores are ideal with the best products showcased by trained individuals. BUT your website loads slowly and isn’t optimized for better user experience. What happens? You lose out on the opportunity of engaging physical shoppers online.
How brand inconsistency impacts your business
Until now, we’ve only discussed the benefits of brand consistency. What happens in case of inconsistency?
In 1985, Coca-Cola decided to tweak the formula for its flagship beverage - Coke. This was in response to Pepsi’s campaign, which directly compared the sweetness of its drink to that of Coke.
“New Coke” was announced with a “new formula” to counter the falling market share. The result: angry customers. Coke’s formula (or recipe) had remained the same for 99 years before 1985. It was only natural for loyal customers to feel betrayed if their drink no longer tasted the way it used to.
While the change in taste may not matter to every consumer, what will matter is that their favorite product is no longer the same. The propensity to switch to another soft drink would be obvious.
Another noteworthy case is that of Proactiv, a seller of anti-acne products. Their advertisements, at one point in time, read:
“Got Acne? Just ask your boyfriend what to do. That’s right; you don’t have a boyfriend!”
This campaign backfired massively. Acne gives insecurity to the strongest of individuals. Why taunt them about their relationship status? Being single is a big insecurity for many people and the advertisement made individuals feel even MORE insecure. No wonder the campaign was unsuccessful.