Every year Forbes publishes a list of the world’s most valuable brands. These companies span a wide range of industries, products, services, and solutions. But one thing they have in common is that they all have mastered the art of branding.
Branding is the creation and coordinated use of names, logos, slogans, designs, and other attributes associated with a company or product. Brands also use emotional elements, like photography and videos, to establish and nurture relationships with their consumers. The better the relationship, the better the brand recognition.
However, when organizations fail to feed this relationship with consistent branded elements, they dilute the value of their brand. Over time, this can have irreversible effects for a business. Considering this impact, let’s take a closer look and discuss the following questions that every marketing organization should understand:
- What is brand consistency?
- Why is consistent branding important?
- How do organizations keep branding consistent across teams?
Okay, let’s dive in!
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is when a business delivers elements and messaging associated with their brand in a manner that conforms to a set of uniform guiding principles. Organizations achieve brand consistency by aligning all representations of their brand, such as logos, colors, typography, marketing content, voice of communications, and messaging, with defined corporate values and a clear identity. Brand consistency is a driving force in brand recognition.
Why is consistent branding important?
Since people are more likely to purchase from a company they know, building brand recognition is a vital aspect of any business. When a person is ready to make a purchase, the brands that they think of first have the advantage.
Recalling a brand is similar to recalling a person. When people first meet, they don't remember everything about each other. They can likely recall faces or names. If not, they can probably remember a story or way they felt about a person. But, if at a subsequent meeting that person uses a different name, disguises their voice, or adopts an entirely different style, it could be challenging for others to recognize who they are.
Similarly, when brands expose people to inconsistent brand elements, their audiences may not recognize them. For a person, those elements could be glasses, a hat, or hair color. For a brand, it could be their logo, the words on a webpage, or the style of a photograph. Whatever the case, companies with inconsistent brand elements risk confusing people or even coming across as untrustworthy, low-quality, and unpolished. Ultimately, these mixed messages can get in the way of a brand’s ability to sell their products, grow their business, and build customer loyalty.
How do you keep consistent branding across teams?
Unlike being a memorable person, being a memorable brand requires multiple people to coordinate consistency across in-person and digital experiences. However, as organizations introduce more people, teams, and brand elements into the equation, it becomes more difficult to control consistency. While different tactics work for different brands, the most successful of the bunch keep their brand in check across teams by implementing the following:
- Brand strategy: This is a long-term, documented plan for how an organization must leverage its brand to achieve business goals and create a cohesive customer experience. At a minimum, a brand strategy should outline a brand’s promise, core values, personality, audience, and competitive positioning.
- Brand rules: A brand identity kit contains instructions on how to implement the brand, and should be used by everyone that touches it (e.g., freelancers, agencies, and internal teams). This includes visual aspects like logos, typography, and colors, as well as characteristics that humanize a brand, like tone and voice.
- A single source of truth: Teams need to have a central location to store and access the guidelines and files for brand use. For some, a file-sharing tool like Dropbox or Google Drive is enough — though there often comes a point when it’s not. For others that need a more robust, search-friendly solution that tracks and measures how their teams use files, a digital asset management (DAM) system is the answer. And for manufacturing or retail businesses, a DAM solution with product information management (PIM) capabilities can have a transformative impact on their workflows.
Brand consistency is possible
By putting the right people, processes, and tools in place, organizations are better positioned to deliver on the holy grail of branding — consistency! By giving people secure, self-service access to approved, on-brand materials, brand ambassadors can remove the temptation for teams to create their own customer-facing content or misuse the brand in communications. The Widen Collective®, our DAM platform with PIM capabilities, helps over 660 organizations establish, protect, and grow their brand. To learn more or schedule a free demo, today.
Note: This article was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated to include additional information.