It isn’t hard to write regularly scheduled blog posts or to put out eBooks or other types of digital content in 2017. In fact, it is so easy to shift an idea into a concept that we sometimes forget to check for brand consistency. With internet access and use of basic business software just about anyone can create online content with their interpretation of your brand messaging and look.
But, it is bad practice to leave your brand open to multiple customizations and interpretations. The brand you cultivate should build trust and a loyal customer base. If your brand is ever changing your followers will not recognize you and all credibility will be lost. Therefore, brand consistency is vital to the success of your business, both online and offline. Every single customer interaction should embody your brand’s values and promises in a way that is easy to comprehend.
Establish Brand Guidelines
It is common for large business organizations (and some smaller corporations) to develop brand usage and style guidelines to ensure that their messaging and asset use is always spot-on with consistency. This tactic not only makes things easier for the marketing department, it also serves as a helpful guide for employees in other departments.
Successful Brand Consistency
Explore the following example, and gain a feel for how comprehensive and thorough a brand guideline can be:
Walmart Corporation: This branding powerhouse has managed to use the Walmart corporate brand in every conceivable way. The detailed brand style guide covers how to use Walmart’s editorial voice, instructions for using the brand logo online, in print, on merchandise and much more. The correct use of fonts, icons, taglines, and logos are also included.
Mozilla: This open source community uses an online style guide to help users learn how to use Mozilla trademarks and logos, as well as Firefox and other affiliated products. This approach helps all employees protect the brands the fall under the Mozilla umbrella
Even though your business may not be as monumental as Walmart, or have the same reach as Mozilla brands, you still need to put in the work to achieve success. These guidelines may appear overwhelming, but they aren’t necessarily what you will need to the job done. However, you must spend some time establishing a foundation that will guide your brand message, and make sure it lines up seamlessly with your business goals and the needs of your target audiences.
Create Content with A Brand Consistency Approach
After you have developed your unique brand style and guidelines for usage, refer to them frequently when creating marketing content.
Once you’ve created your brand style and usage guidelines, refer to them when planning all your content marketing efforts. It has been shown through research that two-thirds of consumers make purchases across channels, both online and offline. With so many these opportunities to make an impression, it is more important than ever to be consistent across all touchpoints.
5 Main Areas to Consider
Your brand logo and all design elements should be used consistently. All employees should have access to this material in the proper proportions. There is nothing worse than seeing marketing artwork that is pixelated, re-colored in odd hues or stretched beyond the original size. To avoid these types of blunders:
- Make a network shared a folder full of company-approved graphic content that employees can access and use. Include explicit instructions on how the images are to be used online and offline.
- Create a deck of branded slides for use in webcast videos and webinars
- Make stock cover photos for social media platforms
- Provide various templates for social sharing and documents
- Channel all print orders and promotional materials through one individual or department
7 Suggested Tools to Use for Consistent Branding
- Frontify to cloud-based software for creating brand style guides
- DropBox Business, Google Drive or SharePoint for secure Image and template file sharing, and storage solutions
- Canva or Visage for brand storytelling, template creation for social media platforms and marketing collateral
- WiseStamp for professional email signatures
Choose appropriate topics that are consistent with your brand’s goals. Create content for your calendar that makes sense and serves a specific niche. For example, write blog posts that focus on industry developments that are relevant to your key customers, particularly if your business has expertise in the issue.
Incorporate offline business events into your online efforts. Your company is being represented at a trade show or has received some sort of recognition or award, be sure your online followers know about it. Anytime you participate in a community event or take on a leadership role, that is a powerful brand-building opportunity. Promote these experiences heavily through social media, blogs, and video posts. Always remember to include your brand name and/or logo to all videos and photos you share.
Maintain your brand’s personality and tone across all channels. If you take on a fun, chatty approach on Twitter, do the same on Facebook. Your brand message on LinkedIn can be more professional in tone, but be careful. Don’t go too far off base so you sound like a totally different company. Compare it to this analogy, when you go to work you act one way, when you get home or around friends, you behave differently. At the same time, you are still the same person. Your personality is essentially the same no matter what the setting. This also applies to your brand.
Engage on the right platforms and social media channels that align with your brand identity and your target audience and current customer preferences. Don’t be swayed by what is new or simply by what others are doing, evaluate whether a given platform makes sense for your brand. Start by asking the following questions:
- Would a similar brand use this new social media platform?
- As a consumer, would you trust a brand on this type of network?
- Is your target audience or current customers presenting on this platform? Are they being targeted on this new channel?
- Are you building a consistent brand experience?
By using the right tools and implementing all these steps, maintaining brand consistency will become second nature with the likelihood of fewer missteps.