If you were asked to define “branding,” what would you say?
We believe a brand is about giving your customer a consistent experience. If I walked into a Chipotle in Rockville today and the walls were pink, and a week later I walked into a Chipotle in New York City and the walls were brown, I’d be confused. Am I in the right place? Am I going to have the same experience here as I had in Rockville? Is this even the same company?
As Chipotle, you’re going to make sure your customers have the same feeling, experience, food, and service in New York City as they have in Rockville. The same idea extends to your company’s brand. From your website to your logo, product packaging, printed material, social media accounts, email marketing and beyond, you need to keep an eye on brand consistency to build confidence and trust.
Unfortunately, we see a lot of companies dilute their own brand, so here are three simple ways to strengthen your brand through brand consistency.
1. Use one logo, instead of inconsistent variations.
We ran into this issue with a client that was using several variations of their logo. Sometimes the logo had an icon, sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes it had a grunge effect, sometimes it was crystal clear. Sometimes it appeared vertically, sometimes horizontally.
To make matters worse, this client has a line of products that are sold in stores, so their inconsistent use of the logo on product packaging was confusing to customers – and looked unprofessional. One of the first things we did was create one new version of their logo that we then applied consistently across the board.
2. Follow branding guidelines.
Whether we create a new brand for a company or go through a brand refresh, we give our client a logo branding sheet of do’s and don’ts and that includes how and where to use it, how to adjust it for different background colors, what other colors to pair it with, and how not to use it. It makes a big difference for our clients’ brand consistency.
Sticking to branding guidelines is especially important during a high-growth phase when it’s important to establish trust immediately. If you’re working on a partnership deal with a large, established company like Walmart, they will look at your company from the brand down. If your brand isn’t consistent, they’ll consider you a very small player and question your scalability.
On the other hand, if you approach branding like a Starbucks or a Chipotle and keep your brand completely consistent, large companies will look at you as capable, trustworthy, and a great potential partner. Of course, reaching that level of refinement in your brand is difficult, but it’s very important.
3. Make sure the brand elements appear everywhere.
The elements that make up a strong brand are:
• Visuals – logo, colors, fonts, and presentation.
• Messaging – tagline, value proposition, etc.
As you might guess, a lot of companies fall short on execution – that is, applying the visuals and messaging everywhere. This is the fastest route off the brand consistency road. You simply can’t have your social media accounts look one way, your website another, and your printed materials yet another. Visuals, messaging, and execution work hand-in-hand, so make sure all three are in place.
Follow these three simple branding tips, and your company will start seeing an increased confidence and level of trust in your abilities. In short, you’ll have a stronger brand. If you want to take these tips a step further, give us a call.