What is it?
Brand consistency is all about ensuring your brand is communicated in the same way across the various touchpoints. The look, the feel and the experience of the brand should be the same across all of these. Brands are fighting for customer attention in a highly competitive environment which means that brand consistency has never been more important. Consistency has multiple benefits for a brand. Brand consistency can help to create trust and loyalty which has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. In addition, delivering a consistent brand is seen as being fundamental in creating a successful employer brand. In order to achieve consistency a brand needs to ensure it has a core set of beliefs, a personality and a comprehensive set of guidelines. Starbucks and the Olympic Games are good examples of consistent brands.
Why is it important?
Having a consistent brand across all touchpoints with your target market is essential in creating trust and consumer loyalty. Consumers expect a brand to have the required capacity to respond to their needs, for example, by offering new products they may need or by delivering a constant quality level in its service (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Alemán 2001). A brand is therefore seen as a promise of future performance, which has to be consistently accomplished if the company wants the brand to be trusted by the consumer. This trust has an impact on a company’s bottom line through the increase in a consumer’s brand repurchase intentions. A Lucidpress study found that organisations they monitored could increase their revenue by on average 23% from a consistent brand presentation.
The war for skilled talent has become extremely intense. Many companies are viewing this as a bigger threat than Brexit. This has led to a greater focus on employer branding and firms looking at how they can attract and retain quality staff. A paper from the School of Marketing at the University of New South Wales found that there are two key dimensions of success for an employer brand: attractiveness and accuracy. The emphasis on accuracy highlights the importance of consistency between the employer brand and employment experience, company culture and values. In short, companies must ensure an employee’s experience is consistent from the job application right through to their time working there. The culture and values expressed must be the reality of working in the company.
How to achieve brand consistency?
To ensure a consistent look, feel and experience to your brand there are many steps that can be taken. It is important to note that brands are judged like humans, in what they say, how they say it and what they look like. These elements shape a brands interactions with the outside world.
We can say that brands are like humans in the way they need to build relationships with their audiences. To build loyal relationships, the brand must behave like a human. This will allow it to create emotional and personalised connections with consumers. To humanise a brand, the organisation must come up with specific traits which describe the brands personality. This is one part of a brands core. It must also have an agreed vison, mission and values. Combined these will then guide the tone of voice, strategic messaging and the visual language of the brand.
To ensure consistency, the company must create a comprehensive set of brand guidelines. These will ensure consistency throughout your brand portfolio in areas such as your logo, tagline, typography, iconography, strategic messaging, and color palette. Without these, a organisation loses the opportunity to differentiate itself through consistent application.
Examples of firms who are succeeding
A good example of a company with a consistent brand is Starbucks. Whether you go to a Starbucks in Ireland or one in America you will be met with a friendly and quick service in a modern setting. The range of products is the same all over the world and the personal touch of asking you your name is also replicated globally.
To highlight how important core values are to brand consistency, we can use the Olympic Games. Every four years, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tasks the host country with the design and implementation of their own proprietary trademark, including television broadcasting, sport-specific logos, posters, fonts, and stadium signage. The common denominator that anchors them all is none other than the iconic Olympic rings. One thing that does not change are the core values of excellence, respect and friendship. It is these that enable the brand to attain its consistency. In an article on the brand Otterbein (2016) referred to how “if the core values of your brand have truly sunken into the hearts and minds of your collective audience, those values will guide your audience through shifting aesthetics”.