Before the Internet changed how we consume information, brand consistency was a relatively easy task. You had only to ensure that your identity and messaging were consistent across your print advertising, stationery, signage and various marketing collateral.
It’s more challenging today as your brand is now seen on a growing number of sites and platforms. It needs to be uniform on your website, email newsletters, and social media channels in addition to conveying a consistent brand image whether an individual is engaging with it on a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Maintaining brand consistency is about building an ecosystem that delivers the same experience to your audience regardless of how they’re connecting with you. Even large, established companies drop the ball in this multi-channel world.
We’ll provide several useful branding tips below, and take a peek at companies that are getting it right. But in order to fully appreciate the value of brand consistency, it’s important to first understand the difference between brand image and brand identity.
Brand Image And Brand Identity: What’s The Difference?
Many people confuse brand image and brand identity, assuming the two terms are interchangeable. They aren’t.
Brand image is how your company is perceived by your customers. It’s the impression they have of your company and its products. Your image is your values, style, personality and reputation (good and bad) all rolled into one.
Brand identity refers to all of the visual elements that determine how your company appears to your customers. It includes your logo, tagline and color scheme.
You have limited control over your brand image. But you have complete control over your brand identity, which can heavily influence your image. It’s a matter of making sure it’s consistent wherever consumers find you.
Why Maintaining A Consistent Brand Is Critical
In the “old days,” consumers engaged with brands in a limited fashion. An individual might only have had two or three touch points with which to interact with a brand. Maintaining brand consistency was much easier back then.
Today, especially with the rise of social media, it’s much more difficult. But the time and effort you devote to getting it right is a solid investment and pays huge dividends.
Consistency improves audience recall of your company. It ensures your customers enjoy the same rich experience with your brand wherever they find you. It reinforces your story and messaging, minimizing confusion among your audience.
Those influence your audience’s buying behavior because people enjoy interacting with familiar and well-liked brands. You must communicate consistent messaging across multiple platforms to reassure them of your values.
Brand Consistency In The Age Of Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram… the social media space is filled with titans. Each one caters to a slightly different demographic (although there’s a lot of overlap) and in a slightly different way. That means your company should explore a presence on more than one, and perhaps several.
The trick, of course, is to maintain a consistent brand across the lot.
It goes without saying that your logo, tagline and color scheme should be found on every site on which you have a presence. But that alone won’t guarantee a consistent message or brand image.
You need something more. You need to build content that reinforces your story and values across the various platforms on which your audience engages with you.
You don’t have to post the same content across all of your social media accounts. Instead, create an ongoing stream of story-centric content that reflects, and strengthens, your brand image.
The best way to illustrate how to do that is to look at a couple examples.
A Couple Companies Getting Branding Right
Coca-Cola has been getting it right for years. Visit the company’s Facebook page, Twitter account and Google Plus page, and you’ll see its instantly-recognizable brand on full display. Notice how the company uses creative content to reinforce its lifestyle-centric messaging.
For example, most of the posts on Coca-Cola’s Facebook page talk about enjoying life. Its Twitter account is filled with content that reinforces the same message. Check out Coca-Cola’s Google Plus page and you’ll see the tagline “Refreshing the world, one story at a time.” It’s followed by content that does exactly that.
Target is another company that understands how to maintain brand consistency across numerous platforms. Like Coca-Cola, it uses content to great effect. The company uses its social media accounts to highlight its dedication to providing customers with great value and a pleasant in-store experience.
Take a look at Target’s Facebook page. It’s filled with posts that are clean, colorful, stylish and engaging. Many call attention to specific products, connecting them to an approaching holiday or time of year (for example, silver-embossed sandals for spring).
Take a look at the company’s Twitter account. The images and content are wholly different than those used on its Facebook page. But they reinforce the same values and brand image.
And what about Target’s Google Plus page? Once again, varied content, same brand messaging.
On Maintaining Brand Consistency For Your Company
Bottom line: your customers are interacting with your brand on an increasing number of platforms. There are more touch points than ever. Make sure you’re communicating the same brand message across the board. Your audience will be better able to recall your brand and more inclined to engage with your company.
To ensure your brand is well-defined and consistent wherever your customers find you, contact Pearl Brands today