When you think about Apple -- images, ideas, and emotions probably immediately pop into your mind.
Technology. Sleek. Silver. Different. Computers. Phones. Steve Jobs. A black turtleneck. An apple with a small sliced removed.
The reason why it’s easy to imagine elements of Apple when you hear their name is because they have extremely consistent branding. For decades, Apple has developed and reinforced a brand image that is easy to identify and remember.
Apple has always valued the importance of brand consistency, and here a few reasons why your business should do the same.
The Importance of Brand Consistency
As Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, famously said, a “brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
A brand is the split-second opinion that a person has about an organization. It represents the overall identity of an organization and impacts the way people think about, talk about, and interact with that organization.
To build a strong brand that means and says the same thing to a lot of people, it needs to be memorable and recognizable, and most importantly -- consistent. Here are a few reasons that show the importance of brand consistency.
It makes you look authentic.
Consistent brand messaging implies that an organization knows who they are and that they are committed to representing that identity. A business with a clear brand identity is authentic because they don’t stray from their core values and positioning.
It develops authority for your brand.
An organization with consistent branding also comes across as more professional and authoritative. When a business sticks to the same standards, messaging, and identity, customers begin to closely associate them with an industry or field. This develops the value of the brand’s expertise and authority.
It establishes trust.
Authenticity and authority gained through consistent branding make a business easier to trust. Customers see that the brand is dependable and reliable. They understand that the brand is committed to their image and has the follow-through needed to deliver on it.
It builds brand recognition.
Customers are presented with hundreds of brand messages a day. So, a brand must use consistent imagery and language if they want customers to pick out and remember their business in the sea of advertising. Consistent branding allows a business to create links between their messages which makes it easier for customers to notice them.
It grows customer loyalty.
Consistent brand messaging helps people get to know an organization. When customers are clear about who a brand is and what they represent, they are more likely to form a bond with that company. They form an attachment to what the brand is about, not just to what products and services they offer.
It streamlines internal decision making.
A clear direction on branding makes it easier for members of an organization to make decisions as they relate to brand propositions, positioning, and content creation. When an organization isn’t sure if something is on-brand, they can refer to the brand standards to guide their decision-making.
How to Implement Consistent Brand Messaging
Now that we’ve gone over the importance of brand consistency, let’s look at a few ways your organization can work to make a more cohesive image for your business.
Create a Brand Guide
The first step to developing brand consistency is creating a document that outlines the values, rules, and standards of your brand. Create a brand guide that includes sections on the following topics.
- Brand Mission. Branding isn’t all about design. It’s also about the value and philosophies that drive a business, so include language about your organization's mission and goals.
- Voice, Tone & Style: Offer both direction and examples of how your brand’s messaging should be delivered. Describe the way your brand sounds and the overall sentiment of your messages.
- Branded Definitions & Phrases: If your brand includes phrases or terms that are exclusive to your organization, outline the use of that terminology.
- Logos: Include directions for how your logo should be used. Also, include variations of the logo so your team can access the most recent graphics when needed.
- Colors: List the color schemes (and the design color codes) that match your brand.
- Fonts & Typography: Provide the font family and typography rules that outline which text formats should be used for both digital and print materials.
- Graphic Guidelines: Explain what styles and themes are appropriate as they relate to branded icons, illustrations, photography, and design elements.
- Media Formatting: Set standards for how to lay out media that is regularly reproduced such as business cards, proposals, blog images, social media graphics, etc.
Utilize Branding Elements on All Customer Touchpoints
Once you establish guidelines, ensure that every element of your organization links back to your brand standards. Include branded elements throughout your customer touchpoints, and make sure your brand is accurately represented through your:
- Marketing and advertising materials
- Website design
- Blog posts
- Email signature lines
- Business cards
- Showroom design
- Overhead messaging and music
- Staff uniforms
- Interactive digital signs
- Product packaging
- Digital menu boards
- On-hold messaging
Think about all of the places where a customer may interact with your business, and ensure that all of the touchpoints reflect your brand.
Track and Regularly Audit Branded Materials
As you create branded materials, keep track of their creation. List the materials you develop and include the date of their creation.
Then, scheduled dates throughout the year to review your materials to make sure everything is aligned with your brand guidelines. Also, set times to review and update your materials as details of your brand will change over time.
Ready to Create a More Consistent Brand?
Now that you know the importance of brand consistency and the tools that can help your organization create a brand that more people recognize and remember -- are you ready to improve your brand image?
If so, get ideas for how you can set up a brand guide that will prepare you for delivering a more consistent brand using our resource: Your Brand Guide: How To Create a Consistent Look and Sound for Your Organization.