Type ‘branding’ into any of the search engines and instantly you will be bombarded with vast numbers of self-proclaimed guides. They will offer useful tips that will aid you in boosting your personal brand, how to build your online brand presence and how to take a philanthropic approach to marketing.
However, consistency trumps them all – because it’s the most relevant entity when it comes to branding; making your business stand out and build its authority and trust. Let me explain why…
It’s imperative that you understand what consistency is in this context because 60% of millennial customers not only want consistency – they expect it; and they expect it in every single experience, whether that’s instore, over the phone or online. There are many levels of consistency; to writing using the same tone, using the same types of images (memes, stock images, team/business personality images) posting on your blog or social media consistently….I could go on forever.
That’s not to say you can’t mix it up to avoid becoming stagnated, like bringing in a guest blogger or having a social media takeover. But overall, consistency is key, many brands create brand guidelines; a set of rules by which all activity revolves around.
To state the obvious – the goal of any business is to first attract, then retain customers. Building a solid and mutually trusting relationship in any capacity takes time, and the relationship between business and customer is no different. Customers need a reason to return and one of the reasons that they will is because they become familiar with you.
Eric Branter, founder of Scribblrs.com shares his experience in the area, “It’s undoubtedly true that consistency builds trust with customers. However, another major reason consistency is important is it can help separate your brand from the competition. If you have a strong unique selling point that distinguishes your brand from others in your niche and you are consistent in your messaging, your target audience will begin to see what makes you distinct and worthy of their business. As far as how to do it, you have to first clearly identify how you want people to see your brand, and make sure that comes through in everything you do. The messaging needs to be consistent across all channels, from your website to social media posts to emails to print materials and so on. And when your customers do business with you, the experience should mirror what you've been promising them in your messaging.”
What breeds familiarity? Consistency….yes, a pattern is forming here. For instance, if your business offering, brand colours, tone, website or social media was to change on a weekly or monthly basis, it would breed confusion and uncertainty among your customers. Ultimately meaning that they would fail to form a relationship with your brand.
Victoria Ward from creative branding agency Speed concurs, “We make our tagline visible to our customers by placing this across all of our marketing channels. Whether it be Facebook or a post on our website. This ensures that when a customer sees us, we are creating a consistent image throughout.”
In order for people to remember you, the same message must be communicated. This is not to say that you have to cover the same topics again and again – but the general message but be the same; for instance, you will often find that successful businesses use the same call to actions at the bottom of their articles and blog posts. You need to figure it out what action you want your audience to take and tell them to do it – whether that’s filling out a contact form for an Ebook, sending an email query or calling, the message has to be the same each time.
Now talking of your audience, are you writing FOR them consistently? Your audience will ultimately define your brand so it’s critical that you know who they are and how to target them effectively. Without being clear on this information, you run the risk of your brand and its message being confused.
Consistently delivering the same brand message, company tone and visuals is a form of high level, quality marketing – it means that everything surrounding your company is closely integrated. As soon as someone sees your logo, they can immediately recall your products and services; some companies never reach this level of branding or marketing because it can take a long time, but with consistency it can be achieved. Take Apple for instance, all of their messages are consistent; their products have the same look, the same user experience and you can even guess a TV commercial is for Apple before their logo appears. Aim to be the next Apple.
As Eric mentioned previously, the aim of your branding is to create trusting relationships with your audience, building positive connotations and a reputation that is reliable and safe. People will feel less inclined to do business with you if they feel that they are taking a risk. A solid brand that is communicating a strong consistent message will attract new customers to you and mean that current customers keep returning.
In conclusion, consistency is everything in branding and in reality, it isn’t spoken about often enough in the guides that we often come across. Consistency is something that can be achieved by large corporations and start-ups alike. It’s about displaying integrity to the messages that you are sending out there.