In a world filled with unknowns, we continuously search for the familiar and are drawn to what we deem as “comfortable”. While trying something new can be exciting, we are wired to look for constants throughout our day to day experiences.
Those of us that love to try new foods (i.e. myself) still have our favorites. If you were to ask me what my favorite food is I’d come correct and answer, it’s spinach and cheese deep dish pizza (yeah yeah, Chicago stereotype holding true) from a local staple here in town. But why is it my favorite? In a nutshell, it is consistent and comforting. I know it will be delicious every time, it never disappoints and the overall vibe and messaging of who they are as a small, locally-owned business is unwavering and here to serve the best.
Our lives are filled with curveballs and we tend to find joy and grab onto these small instances of certainty. The point is, this is the feeling consumers strive for and the goal of a successful brand in digital marketing’s saturated market. While standing out and grabbing attention is important, brands also need to continuously exude consistency in their design elements and speak to their audience in the same tone of voice across all of their marketing efforts. It’s more than showing off your cool logo, it’s about what your brand has to say and how you’re saying it.
To build a brand, and a strong brand at that, consistency in the brand experience is the building block of a brand’s identity — you can’t find success without it. Knowing what your brand voice is should come before you even think about your logo design or begin any type of marketing strategy. Taking the time to plan out what your message will be is crucial to building your brand and speaking to your target audience. This is done by having consistent design elements (this includes consistent color scheme across platforms) and messaging across the board, both digitally and out in the wild.
Through owning a cohesive brand identity — whether it’s part of the web design, on social media sites, or grabbing a potential customer’s eye through a catchy first impression as part of an traditional ad campaign — having consistency in a brand to become recognizable to the consumer allows a brand to build trust and solidifies your goods or services as what they need.
Points to Consider for a Cohesive Brand Identity
Your Company’s Brand Needs to Be Memorable
The key to developing a memorable brand is repetition. It’s easy to spot this while thinking about big brand names that we all know and (sometimes) love, like a Nike or Starbucks. But it’s the small business brands that truly need to focus on this aspect in order to grow and gain the trust of new consumers.
It’s been said that people need to see, hear, or read something at least SEVEN TIMES before they will actually recall it.
This tells you that your marketing needs to look the same and have the same messaging whether it be a social media ad, an email marketing campaign, or even a physical brochure you produce. You need your brand’s identity to hold strong and show consistency throughout every marketing effort you are making. Doing so will instill a sense of reliability and show your audience that you mean what you say and know who you are.
Developing this consistency in your brand’s personality is how your brand will be remembered as your audience makes their decision on who to buy from, or interact with, as they try to solve their problem or research their pain points.
Consistency Promotes Brand Recognition
We all have brands that we recognize without even seeing their logo attached. This has been accomplished through marketing consistency and having cohesive branding across all streams. When this can be achieved not only has your brand become memorable it has gained recognition from your audience. WIN.
It could probably go unsaid but the fact is, consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that they recognize and are familiar with. If a consumer is given the choice between two brands to purchase from and one is a brand they recognize while the other is a brand from a new business, the majority of the time they are going to choose the brand they’re familiar with.
Taking the time to understand what your visual brand identity is and showcasing it in a consistent manner allows your audience to remember your brand, trust your brand, engage with your brand, share your brand, and overall, see to it that your brand continues to grow.
Quick Tips to Help Build Brand Consistency
It can seem daunting when it comes to aligning your brand’s tone across all of your marketing streams but sticking to these few key points will allow your brand to flourish and stay top of mind as consumers engage with your brand in their day to day.
1. Know Your Story
You will hear the phrase “mission statement” come up while positioning your brand, and this element is going to hold a lot of weight as you start to build your brand. Your mission statement is the overarching element of your brand as a whole. Every piece of content you put out should speak to your story and what you want your brand to “say”.
2. Create Your Brand Guidelines
In order to ensure a consistent brand across platforms, a brand guideline needs to be in place for all parties involved. And by all parties, this means it’s for the graphic designer as well as for everyone from the social media manager to the sales team to the business owner. Rarely does one single person output all marketing assets so having a guideline for all involved is pertinent to your brand’s success.
Your brand guideline should include details of tone and voice, stylistic preferences, brand colors including a color palette with hex codes, fonts with guidance in typography, social media examples, and any do’s and don’ts that will offer insight to those creating your assets moving forward.
3. Think Ahead and Use a Schedule
Planning ahead and having a digital marketing strategy in place when it comes to marketing your brand is beneficial in many ways. Doing this allows all of your marketing channels to play off of each other and reiterate the messaging being sent out.
Having a big picture view of what you need to complete — and what areas may need some help or a second look — allows your brand to grow that trust and shows consumers that thought has gone into what they’re seeing from you.
A schedule also allows for more time to create solid campaigns without getting tripped up while trying to rush out a deliverable. The more time you spend planning means there is less time you will spend editing or scrambling trying to meet a deadline while trying to ensure you’re representing your brand appropriately. Calendars and checklists are your friend!
4. Make Time for Audits
It’s no secret that as brands grow, the identity may shift a bit. It’s important to set aside time to look over the messaging that is going out and make tweaks or edits where needed. You don’t want to veer too far from your brand’s story (mission statement) but it’s essential to check in to evaluate how your marketing is doing when it comes to promoting your brand’s voice and gaining recognizability with each asset being set forth.
Brand strategy audits allow you to point out what you’ve been doing right (strengths), what could be improved upon in the future, what you are seeing your competitors doing (whether successfully or not), and most importantly, what opportunities your brand could build on moving forward.
Striving for and Achieving Brand Growth
With consistency under your belt, your brand can only move up! Putting these suggestions into practice will inevitably take time (as it should) but devoting your time to building a cohesive brand identity will increase awareness, trust, and recognition for your brand, offering growth opportunities and increased revenue. Don’t rush it, and stick to it.
Make note of the brands you personally know and look to, and brainstorm how, your brand can make a name for itself in a world filled with new brands trying to do the same. How will you stick out? What do you have that they don’t? Why should a new consumer give your brand a chance?
You need to know the answers to these questions, and take the time to nail down your voice and visuals so you can gain your footing while gaining ground as you market your brand across all channels. The consumers are there, you just need to consistently speak to them and gain their trust.