Here we’re going to look at consistency of brand and why it’s important. Making sure your brand is consistent wherever your business is visible can mean greater recognition and improved market awareness.
What is brand again?
So, first things first, there’s been a lot of debate as to what brand really is.
And I like to kind of sum it up in simple terms in that it’s the outward-facing message, colour scheme, philosophy, and all the other things that your business puts out into your marketplace, in your marketing, and in all of your PR, and all of the stuff that you do and say into your target market.
I know that covers a heck of a lot of stuff, but I’m going to just talk briefly about why it’s important to get a consistent brand out there for your business.
Consistency of brand? Why bother?
First off, what do I mean by a consistent brand? Well, think of it from this point of view. At various points in our business life, we have different messages that go out to our target market.
Occasionally, we’ll change our logo or adjust a colour scheme of our business, and it’s very important that you get all of the public-facing elements of your business consistent across because if there’s anything that seems out of place, it will put a barrier in the mind of a potential buyer.
Have a think about all the varying channels that we have available to us in our marketing and our public-facing aspect of our business now. We’ve got email. We’ve got our website. We’ve got business cards. We’ve got leaflets and flyers, advertising. We’ve got goodness knows how many social media.
It’s very easy to leave one or two of these and/or just forget them. And then we moved the goalposts in what we do in terms of our colour scheme and our branding, etc.
So the key is to think: “if I change this now, what kind of knock-on effect is it going to have? Am I going to have to change all of these different things that I’ve got going in my marketing to make it consistent?”
Because, like I said, if there’s something out of place or out of kilter with what people have seen before, it puts a mental barrier up, a psychological barrier up in the mind of a potential buyer because what people like to see is consistency. If they see a message from you in one place, say on social media and in a particular colour scheme, a particular design, a particular logo, it’s useful to have the same thing on your website.
Yep, it needs to go everywhere…
It’s also useful to have the same thing on other social media as well. This is because people don’t just look at your website and decide to buy. They’ll check you out on other channels. They’ll go to your YouTube channel. They’ll check you out on Facebook. They’ll have a look at your Twitter profile. They’ll take a look at what’s happening on Pinterest, if that’s important to you.
All these different areas need to be consistent across the board because if there’s just one element that seems out of place, all of a sudden, the little barrier comes up in the mind of a potential buyer saying, “Hang on a minute, this doesn’t make sense. What’s going on here?” And unfortunately, these days, with buyers being so savvy about feeling comfortable about buying from potential suppliers, you need to have that consistency of brand across the board.
Message is just as important as brand:
And it’s not just a case of colour scheme and logo and brand and all of the aesthetics. It’s also the message as well.
Over the last six years that we’ve been in business we’ve changed our messaging a couple of times. We’re certainly changed our colour scheming a little bit, and we’ve had to make sure that we go back to all the places where we were listed. We were in quite a few web directories as well. We’ve got a handful of social media channels. We do have YouTube.
So we’ve had to make sure that not just the colour scheme and the logo is correct, but the message we’re putting out there, the key points that we’re putting out there, the philosophy of our business that we’re putting out there is consistent across the board. (for more on colour schemes in your brand check out this blog post: http://buzzwebsitedesign.com/getting-the-colours-right-on-your-website/
Keep a list of where you put your brand
So one of the ways to get to grips with consistency of brand is to make sure that you keep a list of all the places where you know your business is represented, online at the very least.
Dealing with your websites and dealing with your business cards and your advertising is quite straightforward. It’s obvious, but there are many areas which are not obvious like your Google Places listing, your Google My Business, your Google Plus page, your YouTube channel if you have one.
All of these places will be picked up, and you’ll have these things to some extent whether you know it or not. Have you covered all of the social media that you’re listed on? Surprisingly, over time that number can be quite big. We probably have as many as ten different social media, and the chances are good I’ve forgotten one or two of them.
So a good idea is just to keep that list, and if you do change something, go back and make sure that that message, that colour scheme, that logo, that consistency of brand throughout them all.
That way, when somebody does check you out on your social media, somebody does come to your website, somebody does get your business card, they will see that what you’re saying on there is exactly the same as what you’re saying on your website, exactly the same as what you’re saying on your social media and it’s a nice fit. That way your consistency of brand starts to pay off.
And, if it’s a good message, resonates with a potential customer and has got a good call to action, then some people will buy.
But, if there’s just one link in that whole chain of branding exercise or branding channels which is incorrect, trust me, that will be the weak link when people check you out on a series of channels, and it really will put a little bit of doubt in the mind.
Unfortunately, a little bit of doubt oftentimes is enough to stop people buying.
We’d love to hear from you about your branding efforts so please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.