Long before the information superhighway transformed our way of life, and how we process information, it was easy to maintain brand consistency. All you had to do was make sure your business identity and message remained consistent throughout all print ads, signage, stationery and other marketing collateral.
Today, there are many more challenges as your brand is viewed on an ever-growing number of platforms and sites. Consistency is vital. Branding style needs to be uniform across your website, social media channels, and email newsletters with a consistent image regardless of which medium is being used. Whether viewers are engaging on a tablet, laptop or a smartphone, brand consistency should not be compromised.
Maintaining your brand across multiple platforms is about constructing an ecosystem that conveys the same experience to your audience no matter how they are engaging with you. Even well-established, sizable companies are dabbling in this multi-channel arena.
The following list includes useful branding tips and a snapshot of how some companies are succeeding at getting it right. But, to fully appreciate the advantages that come with brand consistency, you should first understand the difference between brand identity and brand image.
What’s the Difference Between Brand Image and Brand Identity?
It is common for many individuals to interchange these terms, people get confused, they assume they are one in the same. They are mistaken.
Brand image is what pops into customer’s heads when they think of you, it is how your business is perceived. This is the impression they have formed of your products and company. Your brand image is a mixture of your personality, style, values and reputation, whether good or bad.
Your brand identity encompasses all visual elements that customers see, including your color scheme, tagline, and logo.
There isn’t much you can do to control your brand image. However, you have total control over your identity, and this can influence your image very heavily. This is all a matter of maintaining brand consistency everywhere your customers see you.
Why is Maintaining Brand Consistency Vital?
The concept of consumers regularly interacting with brands is a new a phenomenon. Back in the day, this occurred in a limited fashion. A person may have had one or two touch points with which to engage with a brand. This made it so much easier for companies to maintain brand consistency in the pre-internet days.
In 2017, and earlier, with ever-evolving social media, it has grown more difficult. But, with more time and effort you will get it right and your devotion will pay off.
Putting in the effort to boost consistency helps improve company recall for your audience. It makes it easier for customers to remember and find you. It reinforces your messaging and story, eliminating any confusion.
This is very important because it will influence consumer buying behavior. People like engaging with brands that are familiar, trustworthy and well-liked. By committing to always communicating a consistent message across multiple platforms, you will reassure your audience of your values.
Brand Consistency on Social Media
Social media is bombarded with giants, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Instagram, and others have taken over the world. Each platform caters to their own (slightly) unique demographic, with a different approach. All this means, is that your brand should hold a presence on more than one platform, maybe several. Of course, the challenge maintaining brand consistency across the board.
On every social media site, you hold a presence, include your company color scheme, tagline, and logo. This should go without saying. But keep in mind, these standards will not guarantee a consistent brand image or message.
You must include something more compelling. Viewers need quality content that reinforces your brand values and tells your story across every social media platform that you use to engage with your audience.
It is not necessary to cut and paste the same content into all your company’s social media pages. That is not even recommended. A better approach is to create a steady stream of story-based copy that strengthens and reflects, your powerful brand image.
The best way to show how this works is to review a couple of successful companies that have gotten it right.
How to Get Branding Right
One of the best examples is Coca-Cola, this powerhouse has been getting branding consistency right for years. Check out the Coca-Cola Twitter account, Facebook page and view the company on Google Plus. On full display, the popular brand is instantly recognizable. Take note of how the savvy company has crafted and posted creative content that reinforces the brand’s fundamental message, the joy of life.
For instance, most of the brand’s Facebook posts discuss enjoying life. On the Coca-Cola Twitter page, the tweets are filled with content that reinforces this message. The tagline on Google Plus states, “Refreshing the world, one story at a time,” followed by content that does exactly that follows the theme.
Another company that really knows how to maintain brand consistency across several platforms is Target. Like Coca-Cola, Target successfully uses the effective content. This giant uses social media to accentuate its commitment to outstanding customer service, providing great value and a satisfying in-store shopping experience.
Browse Target’s Facebook posts. The content is stylish, clean, colorful, and most of all, engaging. Many posts are geared toward product highlights, connecting the to a specific time of year or an upcoming holiday, such as artificial trees in December or fancy sandals for summer.
Also look at the brand’s Twitter feed. The company uses completely different content and images than it does on other social media accounts. Yet, they still manage to reinforce the same brand image and values. It is the same with Google Plus. Target posts varied content but keep their brand message intact.
What Brand Consistency Means for Your Business
The mean truth: your target audience and existence customers are engaging with your brand on a fiercely increasing number of online platforms. There is a higher number of touch points than ever before. You must communicate your brand message consistently across all platforms to remain competitive and be successful. You will improve audience recall and they will be more likely to engage with your brand.