Let’s be real: we have all encountered someone at some point in our lives who was inconsistent.
One day, they were warm, friendly, and easy to talk to. But the next time you spoke, they were distant, cold, and despondent. This inconsistency makes it tough – at best – to feel comfortable and confident as you engage. And unfortunately, this unpredictability often prevents people from forming the close relationships that might have been.
When meeting people, or encountering brands, we are constantly making countless micro judgments as we assess who they are.
And just as we do with other people, we form relationships with brands. This “connection” is the bedrock of successful brand strategy – to create identities that somehow connect with the target, and may even feel like a natural extension of their own identity. Something they understand, relate to, and can trust.
What is Brand Consistency?
Brand consistency is a foundational element of building a successful brand.
Often, when brands aren’t intentional about consistency, they inadvertently litter various digital assets across the internet. A receptionist may have created the Twitter platform three years ago. A long-gone marketing intern may have launched the Google listing. A business development staffer more recently created the LinkedIn page. The result is often many inconsistent faces of a single brand.
Creating a consistent narrative and consistent information output gives your target the feeling that they understand you and can trust what you are about. They will know how long you’ve been in business. They will understand your suite of services or products. They will be spared the hassle of trying to decipher what you do or how you provide your service from one listing to the next.
The Challenges of Consistency
One of the great challenges in marketing is to gain control of all digital assets and make sure that content is consistent across all channels. Brands want to ensure that the logo a client finds is their most recent, cleanest, hi-res version that fits best on a particular platform. Of course, some platforms require different versions of a logo—but while allowing for site-specific variation, they will be consistent. For example,
Brand consistency means prioritizing the reliability of a brand’s singular identity. On every channel, you can trust that you will find alignment in messaging, narrative, logo, and content.
– Eric Owen
Facebook and Google currently use round icons, while LinkedIn uses a square. A good digital agency will craft logos that best fit each site, but feel the same. Service offerings will also be consistent between channels. A listing of services at a Google page and on the actual website will be reliable, up-to-date, and detailed. Prospective clients will not need to guess at a brand’s strong suits or weakness – all the essential information will be on the table. Brands that wear their hearts on their sleeves convey reliability, trustworthiness, and value. When you meet them, there will be no discrepancy between who they are and how they represent themselves digitally. There will be symmetry between the digital and the analog.
For example, the logo that a client finds on Google, Facebook, and the website is also the logo that meets them as they enter the building. It is also the same logo that graces the sides of your trucks, and the same logo that they will find in an email signature, on a business card, and so forth.
The Benefits of Brand Consistency
A single identity across channels not only creates a sense of trust, but in psychological terms creates brand familiarity.
Let’s take the example of McDonald’s. This iconic brand relentlessly drives their logo and identity forward and makes sure that that the icon and the brand are consistently in front of consumers. When one sees it, without even being aware—the brain creates associations, and often, makes you think: “Hmm, I’m hungry.” Now, maybe you don’t eat McDonald’s, but that brand familiarity is still there. When a brand has created that association psychologically, they begin to build a relationship with the end-user, whether they know it or not. However, brand consistency isn’t just about logos and associations. There are subtleties to brand consistency that are easy to miss. Just as your brand assets are used to talk to prospective clients, they are also< deployed to communicate with online infrastructure. Google and other major search platforms measure content and verify identity by consistent information, all the way down to punctuation and abbreviation. For example, if your Google listing abbreviates the word “street” as St., your Facebook page spells it out as “Street”, and your Yelp page lists “St.,” the search engine will often not recognize those listings as part of a singular entity, and will not favor your brand in search results. Thus it becomes essential that the brand is consistent both ascetically and psychologically for maximum return.
Brand consistency is one of those marketing strategies that offers tremendous bang for buck. It cements your identity and reliability in the hearts and minds of your target and creates a relationship that will be profitable for all concerned.
At Verum Digital Marketing we possess a passion for planning, executing, and managing our clients’ online marketing. We drive traffic, gain traction, and capture business. Our formula of detailed analysis, creative strategy, and innovative practice deliver bottom line results that drive company growth in any market.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help.