Your brand is a way for customers to identify your business. It is how they recognize and differentiate you from the competition. But, just as a sports team is more than the uniform they wear, a strong brand is more than a logo or tagline. To its most loyal fans, it’s a community. It’s an emotional connection, a badge of honor, and a driving force in why people buy what they buy. According to a recent Nielsen survey, nearly 60 percent of global respondents prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them, and 21 percent say they purchased a new product because it was from a brand they like.
So, how do you become a brand that’s familiar and well-liked? For starters, ensure that your brand is relevant and appealing to your target market. From here, much of your success hinges on your ability to build and maintain brand consistency. It takes hard work and dedication, but with the right preparation and follow through you can bring home the win!
Start with a game plan.
It’s tough to build or maintain brand consistency without a plan. Before you put energy into growing your brand, take the time to document a brand strategy. This is a long-term plan for how your brand will help you achieve your business goals. It’s how you will communicate your unique story and tap into your consumers’ needs and emotions to move your business forward. At a minimum, your brand strategy should outline your brand’s promise, core values, personality, audience, and competitive positioning. These are the intangibles that define your brand and anchor it to a consistent identity. This way, as your brand grows and more and more people communicate it, you have a guiding light to direct their efforts.
Create a visual playbook.
The best brands are recognizable even when their brand name and logos aren’t present. When your brand has a consistent look and feel across every touchpoint and channel, consumers don’t have to think twice about who you are and what you stand for. But a consistent brand identity doesn’t happen on its own. You need to develop and communicate your brand’s unique visual style. Your brand style includes visual aspects like logos, typography, and colors. But, it also includes the characteristics and personality that humanize your brand. Capture this information, along with other tools and brand details, in your brand identity kit. Then share it with freelancers, marketing agencies, internal teams, and anyone else that communicates your brand. Your brand consistency depends on it!
Make equipment accessible.
Many brand inconsistencies arise because people don’t have the resources and information they need. In addition to sharing your brand strategy and identity kit, provide your partners and internal teams with your creative assets. Depending on what you have, these can include brand assets like logos, wordmarks, graphics, videos, sales collateral, photos, stock images, and more. It’s likely not realistic (at least in the long term) to house these assets on local drives and distribute them via email. Ideally, you can store, organize, and manage your digital assets from one central, searchable location. As your team and library of brand assets grow, you want to ensure that everyone that needs assets can access them whenever and wherever they are. For many organizations, a file-sharing tool like Google Drive or Dropbox is a good place to start. For others, a well-intentioned shared drive can quickly turn from an organized solution to a dumping ground full of outdated creative assets. In these cases, it may be time for you to consider a digital asset management (DAM) system.
We interviewed Brittany Hathaway of UMASS Amherst to learn how they use their DAM system to eliminate branding confusion and house their branding materials.
Your employees are an extension of your brand. The way people perceive your brand is a culmination of every interaction they have with it. And, this includes their experience with everyone and anyone associated with your company - customer service reps, chatbots, store clerks, marketers, partners, and more. While building and maintaining a brand starts with a strategy and identity, it’s the people that take the vision to the finish line. So, how do you inform and onboard an entire organization for branding? Prioritize your brand and make it a part of every internal touchpoint, from presentations to corporate speak. Educate people on the importance and impact of your brand. And, make your brand and what it stands for central to new-hire onboarding, on-site training, and internal marketing initiatives. At the end of the day, adoption (much like a strong brand or sports team) relies on consistency.
Referee your brand.
If you’ve ever played the card game, Go Fish, with a five-year-old, you know how poorly and inconsistently they uphold the rules. While this loose arrangement may work for one player (you can guess who that is), it gives the game a bad name and frustrates the other players. A brand with no rules and safeguards is no different. The bigger you get, the harder it is to control the way people communicate and leverage the brand you worked so hard to build. To ensure everyone represents your brand consistently across all channels and mediums, you need checkpoints in place. For some, this means an approval process involving a few team leads or a brand management checklist. For others, it’s important to get away from manual checks and balances. In these cases, systems with built-in user permissions, version controls, rights management, and expiration capabilities can take on much of the heavy lifting.
The highlight reel.
As your organization grows, your audience changes, and your offering advances - your brand needs to evolve in unison. Upholding a consistent, relevant brand takes ongoing work and commitment. Regardless of where your brand journey takes you, remember the importance of preparations like your brand strategy and brand identity kit. Also continue to make your brand assets easily accessible, involve your entire team in brand efforts, and implement necessary checks and balances for your brand.
At Widen, we build high-performing software that empowers organizations to create compelling, meaningful, and measurable digital experiences. Our data-driven, brand management solution is the single source of truth for brand monitoring, consistency, and visibility, serving all functions of a business. To learn more about what Widen can do for you, read more about our brand management capabilities here or . We are here to help!