The Importance of Consistency in Branding: Tips for Creating a Cohesive Brand Identity
What is branding if not the careful crafting of a story and communication language, where consumers can better relate to your business? It is easy when communicating as your brand to simply jump on any trend that is currently taking the world by storm, reposting that funny meme you found on Facebook, or changing your brand colours more than Australia changes prime ministers.
There is a reason why brands such as Apple, Microsoft and Coca-Cola all have nearly immediately recognisable advertisements and messaging, and this is consistency. Having brand consistency creates brand recognition (The idea of seeing similar marketed material as being owned by that company without seeing their logo). Having brand recognition, particularly when there are positive feelings towards that brand, results in building trust towards the company, leading to company commitment and increased sales from the consumer.
If you give yourself (the brand) a clear ruleset and follow it day in and day out, eventually a marketing language distinctive to your company is created. It may seem harmless to change up the visual or written style of your messaging, “maybe this particular photo will look good in green”, but if your brand colours are distinctly red and blue, from a consumer’s standpoint, it looks as though your brand has cheapened or even worse, is illegitimate.
So now that you have a brief rundown on what branding is and the importance of consistency, you can start to put some branding foundations into practice.
Find your target audience
Think carefully about what it is your brand sells, is it a service, product or information? What type of clientele are you aiming to attract and what is it that is important to them? Do you want to market your brand as a high-end, elegant product or service or do you want to be a valuable first company, giving your clientele value without compromising on quality? This is a necessary first step in any company’s foray into the branding space as it gives a rough guideline to work within. Unfortunately, you can’t simply say “We want everyone to be our customer”, because the sad reality is, it is nearly impossible to please everyone. You need to be able to define an audience and cater to them.
Define your brand’s visual and verbal identity to narrow in on a marketing strategy
We recommend working with a branding agency for this part as they can help to narrow in on the type of language, both visual and written that best represents your company while speaking to your target audience which can often feel like a balancing act at times. But if you do choose to start off on your own, we recommend doing competitor research, finding what works best for them and drawing inspiration from their best ideas. Ensure to make yourself stand out from your competitors however, you can’t run the risk of looking like another face in the crowd so differentiation is key in creating a visual and written identity. Test your ideas to see what speaks best to your chosen audience and experiment in small groups.
Create Brand Guidelines
Once you have defined your audience and worked on your key visual and language marketing, it is time to document them. A brand guideline acts sort of like a contract between your company and anyone wishing to work with it. This is where you define your ruleset of how your logo is to be used when it is appropriate to use your brand colours, the type of language that should be used and the font styles distinctive to your brand. Whenever you, your marketing manager or anyone else creates marketing materials for your company, this is where they should refer to, ensuring that your brand look and messaging are always consistent across all mediums.
A final bit of Advice
We understand that building a recognisable and successful brand is not as simple as following these steps, and hopefully, you understand this too. What we are trying to communicate is that you could have the best-looking branding, the smartest marketing language and an unlimited ad budget, but unless you keep consistent with it all, and this includes sticking with your brand guidelines, consistent image/visual style and cohesive messaging, it all will amount to very little. Just like any job, you have to work on it day by day to start yielding measurable results, but we hope these foundational tips help to get you started on your journey.