Have you ever gone back to a coffee shop for a piece of cake just to be disappointed that it did not taste the same as the previous time? How about the time when you visited your favourite restaurant in another province and the service was just not the same as what you are used to? What would have happened if your local shopping centre changed the shopping hours every day? How about if the milk you bought came in a different packaging each time or you had to drop your children off at a different school every morning?
Consistency. We all want consistency. It makes sense if you look at it from your own perspective, but why is it then that businesses do not understand the importance of their brand’s consistency? The letterhead, business card, signage outside the building and website all look different. Let alone the use of a standard font in emailing or design in advertisements. No matter how much money you spend and how great each item might appear in isolation, nobody will ever recognise your business – ever!
Your consistent branding efforts allows your business to differentiate itself from the competition and gives you a leg to stand on in the minds of clients. It creates a solid platform for your business to stand on in order to get the messages out to your audience.
The very first document your business should have and invest in is an identity manual. This document contains the rules and guidelines for applying your brand. It is simple and easy to follow. Communicate to your staff the importance of your brand. Provide access to the proper logo file types to anyone who needs them and do not allow anybody to drift off by adding their own ‘flavour’ to the mix.
Let us look at the benefits of applying your brand in a consistent way:
a. Manages perceptions
By thinking carefully and deliberately about your brand you can shape how people perceive your business. Consistency conveys the outlook/attitude of your brand and predicts the professionalism, purpose and stability to your clients and staff.
b. Eliminates confusion
Without standards, your brand could be anything to anyone. If you fail to be consistent your brand can be more of a hindrance than a help. A consistent brand should instil confidence rather than create confusion. If your brand is consistent nobody has to guess what they will be getting from your business and you can just build on previous successes.
c. Builds equity
Without established brand standards, many businesses spend thousands of Rands designing a logo and building a message, only to have it tainted by inconsistent, sloppy application. Every time you apply your brand in the correct way you invest in your brand, but by just advertising with no conscious consistent application of your brand is money wasted. Using consistency to build your brand provides your business with creditability and recognition. Gaining brand recognition then moves you to the next level – trust and loyalty with your clients.
Remember your brand simply is what people think about you – the impressions they have when hearing or seeing your business’s name. In most cases your brand is reflected initially in your logo, then your tangibles (business card/offices) and lastly it is supported by your messaging. These experiences, as a whole, influence attitudes and opinions about your business. If it is not consistent your client will associate your service as inconsistent too.
Do not ever interpret consistency as “boring” or ‘’unnecessary”. Consistency actually paves the way to creativity with impact and is a crucial step towards brand success. Establishing and maintaining a brand that is recognised and trustworthy is truly an art form and does not happen overnight.
For more information contact Emmerentia Fick at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.