Brand Consistency – Understanding the Essential Elements
Brand consistency is one of the most effective ways to differentiate your company from competitors, promote quick recognition in the marketplace, and engage customers.
The first step to brand consistency is developing clear, concise and comprehensive brand guidelines. These should include:
- Voice and messaging
- Logo and other brand taglines or marks
- Color palette and typography
- Social media guidelines
Even with guidelines, some companies still fall short. The challenge is that brand consistency lives in the details, and these details need to be managed at every touch point.
1. Keep Your Company Colors Consistent
Strategically choosing your colors is the first step. Consistently executing the correct color match is equally important. Your color tones can vary based on the method of printing (offset vs. digital) and the substrate. This printing variation can even change your color to a different shade! Good printers and branding partners understand these details, ensuring that the production process is adjusted appropriately.
2. Choose Typography Wisely/ Print It Clearly
One of the most overlooked aspects of brand consistency is typography. It is important to select typography that fits the personality of your business. Once you've selected appropriate fonts, use them in all of your messaging.
Fonts are generated through various software programs and exported in formats that match their end use. Getting this formula right will lead to clear, crisp typography. Often, when materials are not exported correctly, typography can appear fuzzy. Your company can invest a lot of time in your choice of fonts and then fail when executing them.
3. Know What To Say and How To Say It
Determine the correct messaging for your business as well as the tone and personality. Some businesses are best served by a serious tone while others are better served by a tone that is informal, even quirky. Do research, study your competition, and decide what kind of message communicates what your brand is all about.
If your company has a tagline, use it consistently. Include your tagline on flyers, radio ads, employee uniforms, store displays and sales materials. Decide what differentiates your business and then repeat that messaging until your customers can't avoid associating your name with your best attributes.
4. Focus on User Experience
Clients often remember how they felt more than what they saw or heard. Give them an atmosphere that creates a positive feeling and they will desire to connect with your brand again.
Identify all the touch points you have with prospects and customers. How can you optimize each touch point? Do these moments all align with your brand? Are you using each touch point to educate, inspire and move the process along?
Use your color, messaging, tone and personality to enhance the customer experience.
5. Control the Process
Managing corporate artwork through a single source facilitates brand consistency across substrates and the franchise community. This can be done by outsourcing aspects of brand management to consultant partners who specialize in marketing, merchandising and enforcing brand standards. Consultants can manage all aspects of the process from graphic design, to product development and fulfillment. They can also serve as a conduit between corporate and the franchisees to facilitate local marketing efforts that adhere to brand guidelines. Maintaining control of native art files is critical. Ensure the quality of substrates as well.
By adopting a consistent approach to branding that starts with your logo and includes every interaction each customer has with your business, you develop the kind of trust and instant recognition that customers require.
Seize each opportunity to teach your customers about your business. Whether they're standing at the point of sale with a product or walking past your display in a store, customers should learn about you. By making good decisions and applying them consistently, you're building the framework for lasting success.
Dan Broudy is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Clayton Kendall Inc., a Pittsburgh based branded merchandise company. He uses his extensive industry experience to help clients manage their brand compliance, graphic design, print production, branded merchandise purchasing, and warehousing and fulfillment. Clayton Kendall provides customized websites with robust reporting features, which set the standard for technological excellence.