Brandon Bass, Codigo VP of Media
Positioning your business in today’s market is kind of like Blackjack. It’s a gamble and may have highs and lows—but if you keep betting, follow the rules, and choose to consistently either hit or stay on 16, you’re bound to win in the long run.
By now, most businesses with a respectable trophy case know that consistency is one of the most critical strategies for marketing a brand. As consumers, we treat our relationships with brands like our relationships with friends and acquaintances, and based on time spent getting to know them, we learn what to expect and keep them around if we like what they provide. It’s important not only to recognize a brand, but also to experience their message, style, and attitude dozens of memorable times in order to build trust and, ultimately, loyalty.
However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain that consistency in our evolving world of multi-channel marketing madness. Can your brand identity be communicated the same way within your apps, social media presence, and web advertising? Can that same voice be heard in your retail signage, product packaging, and sponsored advertorial content? Because the delivery vehicles for marketing messages have become so splintered and varied, it’s harder than ever to ensure that all the moving parts are well-oiled and in sync— but also more important.
Unifying all of these communication channels to present a clear, concise, and consistent brand identity revolves around brand style, substance, and story.
If you’ve ever seen a TV commercial for an Apple product, you’ve likely recognized the trendy photography, upbeat music, and youthful lifestyles presented and guessed that it was advertising an iPhone feature long before the iconic logo appears at the end. That’s because Apple is hugely successful with style. Their simplicity, stark fonts, and neutral color palette immediately trigger visual recognition. And because their unique position allows them to use this look and feel across hardware designs, software interfaces, and immersive retail experiences, they’ve created a cohesive ecosystem centered around consistency of brand.
Consumers respond to familiarity with overwhelming positivity, so let your visual identity create comfort, whether it’s a feast for the eyes or stripped-down and simple.
Many would argue that how you look is secondary to what you say. While they’re both meaningful, perhaps the more influential approach is to think about how you make consumers feel. It isn’t just the message that connects with an audience, it’s the tone and attitude that speak volumes, especially in social media, sponsored content, SMS marketing, and other channels that rely heavily on text. If your Facebook posts are lighthearted and irreverent, but your in-store digital signage displays austere, direct statements, it can become confusing to the recipient of the message and work against your mission to build trust and comfort.
But how consistent is too consistent? When the exact same advertising copy is seen on a billboard, then on the side of a bus, and then as an in-app ad on the phone, the message can be too repetitive and risks becoming background noise. Great campaigns build on a consistent idea, but offer just enough variation to keep viewers engaged and curious as to how they’ll experience the campaign message next.
Now you’ve created a beautiful visual style and backed it up with the substance of a carefully-crafted message… but do people believe it? It comes down to authenticity; embracing the brand identity through corporate policies, office culture, and employee stories. This is the trickiest part of the consistency equation because it requires in-depth engagement from your audience— the kind built through personal interactions. It’s not enough to like the way a friend presents himself and the words he says. Knowing what’s truly inside makes all the difference.
Work to celebrate the successes of your employees and share glimpses of what it’s like to be a part of the business “family”, then align these with the rest of your identity to round out a brand experience that goes far beyond a logo or corporate color palette. These are the warm, fuzzy moments that transform your business into a “love brand” that loyal consumers will return to time and again.