5 Approaches to Maintain
Brand Consistency

DESIGN

October 8, 2020

Being on-brand

When you think “Coca Cola,” you think red—not blue, or pink or maroon—but red. In fact, you think of a red and white color palette and cursive font. Apple is, well, an apple—an apple with a bite in it. FedEx is red, purple, and white, always expressed as one word, and always with the “F ” and the “E” in CAPS.

But Coke isn’t only red on its soda cans. It’s red on social media. It’s red on its website. It’s red everywhere it appears. It’s red because red is Coke’s brand.

What is brand consistency?

Brand consistency isn’t about a group of advertisers in a conference room rattling off their list of “thou shalt not.” It’s about your business being instantaneously recognizable in a consumer landscape inundated with marketing messages. Brand consistency is about promoting the value of your products and services through messaging and style elements and, in the process, building trust and loyalty.

Your brand consists of your organization’s brand identity and visual style. Your identity includes elements such as the fundamental promise you make to consumers, your mission, vision, and key message themes. Your visual style consists of color, typography, graphic elements, and photography. To be compelling, effective branding is all about consistency.

As Medium aptly defines it:

“Brand consistency refers to how “on-brand” all of your company’s marketing content is, with respect to your brand identity and brand guidelines. The most brand consistent companies are the ones who make sure that every piece of content they create strictly adheres to their brand identity and brand guidelines. And in today’s frenzy of content creation, there is a lot of marketing material to keep on-brand.”

5 approaches to maintain brand consistency

The face your business presents to current and prospective customers on all communication channels needs to reflect your brand every time they see it. Increasingly, marketers recognize the value of an integrated strategy that pushes the same messages in the same ways on every channel, whether digital or traditional.

1. DEVELOP BRAND GUIDELINES

Brand guidelines help to ensure all messaging and brand elements are used correctly and consistently. They not only help the marketing department, but they also serve as a guide to any employee that develops content for the organization.  Above all, the guidelines should align with a company’s vision and mission.

2. DISSEMINATE YOUR BRAND GUIDELINES

To better ensure consistency across all communication and marketing channels distribute your brand guidelines to all stakeholders including all marketing and communication managers and executives, designers, partnering agencies, and vendors.

3. CONDUCT A BRAND AUDIT

Bring your digital and traditional marketing teams together to examine all communication and marketing materials to ensure that they are consistent with your brand identity, key messages, and visual style (as outlined in your brand guidelines). Make a list of all inconsistencies and decide who will be responsible for making those changes.

4. REVIEW/UPDATE YOUR BRAND GUIDELINES

Your brand guidelines are a living document that should evolve as the company does. Schedule a regular update for your brand guidelines once a year. Updates don’t have to be about rethinking your entire brand, but rather how to best keep your brand clear and true to your voice and mission.

5. COMMIT TO BRAND CONSISTENCY

Create a process that allows your organization to stay true to your brand, while also being able to stay up-to-date and move with the needs of your market. Commit to a plan that includes an annual meeting to review your brand guidelines and repeat the brand audit process to ensure all communication and marketing materials are consistent.

Conclusion

Don’t leave your brand open to a variety of interpretations and customizations. Your brand should build awareness and develop customer trust and loyalty. Every interaction customers have with your brand should embody the brand promises and values outline in your brand guidelines.

If your organization is in need of brand guideline development or a brand refresh we’d love to help.

Or to learn about our recent branding projects check out our branding and design lookbook.

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