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  • Writer's pictureEunae

The Price of Inconsistent Branding

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

The ability of any institution to be relentlessly consistent in the application of its brand is vital to the long-term success of the business. Your brand is not just your crest, graphic design and colors. Your brand is who you are, what you promise, and your ability and willingness to keep that promise. The world’s most recognizable brands aren’t ingrained into our brains because they have great logos, or they chose the perfect color palette, or their tagline is exactly what every one of us needed to hear. It’s because they are consistent.

Why does my brand need to be recognized?

You can’t rely on consumers buying products based purely on merit. We’re emotional creatures and, a lot of the time, we buy from brands that we connect with emotionally. In fact, 64% of consumers say that shared values are their primary reason to develop a relationship with a brand.

We align with the brands that we think say something about who we are. And how do we know what they say? Because they’ve said it over and over again through their marketing. Their use of silvers and purples tells us they’re a luxury brand and we will be seen as living a luxury lifestyle if we buy from them. The use of circles in their logo shows a caring togetherness with us, their consumers. Where we spend our money speaks volumes about who we are, even if only to ourselves.

If my products are good, who cares about my logo?

Your brand is your organization’s identity. Customers see brands like people, and they decide whether a brand is the type of person they want to spend their time, money or energy on. If your product has the exact same features and benefits as your competitor’s, your branding is what will set your apart. It’s the story you tell to the world, but if you have inconsistent branding: if your story sounds and looks one way on your website and another in your Instagram captions, your audience are going to have a hard time bonding with you.

When a brand delivers the same branding at every interaction, they begin to feel like an old, dependable friend that we’ll trust to advise and help us. But if the branding changes every time we meet, the company’s credibility is undermined by their inconsistent branding. Not only do we not find this affinity, we don’t see how you can help us solve our own problems. After all, it seems as if you can’t even keep yourself in check. An inconsistent brand screams lack of care at best, and incompetence at worst. And with 41% of consumers saying that consistency is the most important factor when it comes to brand loyalty, you can’t afford to be playing with their trust like this.

Of course, consistency isn’t the only factor when it comes to building brand trust and recognition. You also need to provide a great service. But you’d be mistaken if you thought service alone was enough. Delight without consistency is like that mate that’s super fun, but getting them to commit to, and actually turn up to, an event is close to impossible. You just can’t depend on them, so you’ll soon stop trying and move on.

The price of inconsistent branding

Inconsistent branding has both a direct and indirect impact on a company’s profits. Whether it’s loss of revenue from customers who lost trust in you, investment wasted on campaigns that didn’t align with your promise and vision, or the time you’re spending correcting inconsistencies across the content your teams are producing, the devastation spans far and wide. It’s no wonder that consistent branding has been proven to increase a company’s revenue by 23%.

Brand consistency begins with co-ordinating your assets across every internal and external touch-point. This includes the obvious spaces, such as your website, brochures, campaigns, and social media accounts. But it also includes the hidden inconsistencies, such as the stories your teams are telling and your presentation materials. Your presentation could be the final nudge a prospect needs to invest in your vision and partner with you, so it’s crucial that your story isn’t just strong, emotional and persuasive, but it’s exactly what they expect from your brand.

Don’t confuse your audience with an inconsistent brand story

Though your story is communicated both visually and through the words you say, let’s focus on the latter for now. After all, your narrative and message need to be established first, before you step anywhere near a design studio.

An inconsistent brand voice is a missed opportunity to connect with customers. Your voice should speak to them, it should reflect how they speak, using language that will resonate with your target market. If you do this right, you’ll create a strong and clear reputation, which will boost and reinforce your unique value to your customers.

A core narrative that forms the basis of every presentation you give is an easy way to establish consistency. This doesn’t mean you need to train your sales team to be robotic clones, spouting the same exact words without passion or personality. But creating a master deck that can be used to answer any audience problem can give them a strong framework that they can add their unique personality to.

Once more with personality

If you have lots of people within your company creating content, likelihood is you have a tone of voice guideline to steer them. And if you don’t, you need to do that before you do anything else. A tone of voice guideline establishes the non-negotiables of your brand personality, and the basic copy rules that will make all your content sound unmistakably like you.

If you don’t have a full guideline, you can start by choosing three or four adjectives that describe the personality of your company. In-depth guidelines are a solid way to ensure every person is hitting the right notes when they write, but establishing your personality is a good first step towards consistency.

Inconsistent visual branding

When it comes to monitoring the consistent use of your brand visual identity, there’s a lot to think about, and a lot that could go wrong. But, as the human brain recognizes images faster than words, building familiarity through visual consistency is a smart move. Just as with your tone of voice, one way to tell your teams what’s expected of them when it comes to creating on-brand visual content is by providing a brand guideline.

How consistency influences culture

Your company culture is as much a part of your brand identity as your logo. Culture covers a large spectrum, but a key influencer in your culture is in how supported and developed your people are. If people feel as though their company is dedicated to providing the training and tools they need to succeed, not only will their success be positively affected, but so will their wellbeing and esteem. Your teams will be happier, more productive, and higher performing if they feel empowered.

Consistent, not stagnant

Your audience’s needs will change over time, and your company needs to stay ahead of these changes, while always staying true to your vision. Brands lose their way when they forget to prepare their brand identity for these changes, forget to update their messaging to remain relevant to the present day, and forget to apply the changes across all materials.

By starting a long-term relationship with a design agency, you will not only gain an extension of your marketing team that understands your brand as well as you do, but you will also have a partner that’s ready to update all your marketing materials whenever you need, while keeping your brand voice and visuals consistent.

Build lasting relationships through trust

The decision makers you present to need unwavering confidence in your brand before they commit to partnering with you. Providing a consistent experience from the very first time they lay eyes on your brand until they hit go on your 100th project together, and beyond, tells them that you are a reliable and authentic brand. A brand they can trust.

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