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In the past, before the World Wide Web made information available with just a few mouse clicks, maintaining brand consistency was easier. It was simply a matter of having a single constant and precise message. The methods of delivery for this message were straightforward enough, with options ranging from prints and signage to forms and stationeries.
These days, achieving brand consistency has become complex and challenging. This is mainly due to the many websites and different platforms that can make or break a brand. Apart from the printed marketing methods, you now need to pay attention and use online resources as well.
As a marketer, you have to maintain a uniform look on your company website, the newsletters and email messages you send, and your brand’s social media accounts. You also have to greatly consider the use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Your brand should adapt to these devices in order to connect to your tech-savvy clients.
The consistency of a brand image gives your audience a sense of familiarity and belongingness. It also drives a single message through every aspect of your marketing campaigns and strategies. Your job is to get the same message across with the same experience no matter what platform or gadget used.
What this is, is a multichannel, multiplatform world.
Brand Identity vs Brand Image
Tackling brand consistency requires knowing the difference between brand identity and brand image (which is not interchangeable, don’t be mistaken about it).
Brand identity is about the visual stuff that lets people recognize you. It includes the brand logo, the fonts and colors you use, and the company or brand tagline. It is also comprised of the images you use as focal points to express your message.
Brand image is about who you are as perceived by your patrons or customers. It includes your personality, the values you adhere to, your style, and your reputation (good or bad). The brand image is quite a big thing to handle because it’s highly dependent on your target market, as well as on their thoughts and feelings about your brand.
Since products are subject to people’s perception, this makes the brand image difficult to control. Brand identity, on the other hand, can be managed. It is a matter of ensuring consistency wherever you land online. Consumers should be able to identify you from the others offering the same product or service and compare what you have to offer. The way people view you help make the necessary adjustments on how they relate with what you share with them.
Social media has drastically changed the platforms used in marketing. The effort exerted has practically doubled since you need to channel who and what you are across different platforms. You also need to get people to set you apart from the rest.
Brand consistency is about getting the attention of the audience and keeping things tight and tied. It establishes “audience recall” which can influence their buying habits. It gives your customers the same experience whether they visit your website, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media channels.
When people are happy about their experience, and they get the same satisfaction wherever they go on social media to check you out, they will remember your brand. If they are on social media and the experience across all channels is consistent, they will not just remember your brand, but share it (and potentially buy your product or service as well!).
The time and effort given to maintaining consistency would pay off if things are done the right way.
Being Consistent on Social Media
The list of current biggies in the social media world includes Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. These bigwigs get many followers with demographics varying from one medium to another. So, it is wise to have a presence in more than one medium to cover a larger ground. You can opt to be in all of them or you could choose three or four and work on maintaining the same message with different approaches.
You need to invest in your brand consistency. The logo, tagline and brand colors are mainstays in all the sites where people could find you. Aside from these visuals of your brand identity, you need content that will drive people’s interest and spike curiosity. Your content should be felt and seen in all related channels. People should feel and see your personality and your values as a brand. You need to build your content online and deliver the same consistent message about what your brand represents.
It doesn’t necessarily mean posting the same material or the same story in every social media account of your brand. There is no sense in posting duplicates or triplicates across different channels. Rather, it means telling the same story with different approaches. And as each story unfolds in the audience’s eyes, they should remember you and connect that story to your brand.
Posting on Social Media with Your Brand in Mind
The images you use can make or break your ad. Everything you put out there must be consistent and must convey the same story. The continuity would be a great reinforcement if your guest follows your web presence. Also, the images you use should instantly be associated with your brand. The composition should be consistent and the story precise.
Here are a few tips you can use to establish an identity and eventually have a very good brand image:
Uniform Logo Size
Use the same logo size in your social media posts. Set a minimum size and use that consistently. Just remember that the logo must not be the entire focus of the campaign material, but should not be easily ignored as well. Position your logo in the same place on all your materials. Remember to align the logo (left, right, or center).
To be easily recognized, use the same fonts. Choose the typeface associated with your brand. Use that same typeface on all social media posts to increase awareness and recognition.
Determine the color/s of your brand and stick to them. Use these colors to create and maintain your identity. You can choose two to four colors. Save these preferred colors by taking note of the hex codes. Use the hex codes to consistently paint your canvas with the same color/s every time.
Know who you are and use the images that will tell people about you. The theme should be constant. Establish a personality that consumers can easily relate to. Know your market. Find the images that are relatable and use them in your campaigns together with other brand identity visuals.
Experiment with filters that are readily available. There are filters to adjust the brightness, contrast, hues, or saturation of images. Once you’ve decided on what filter best suits your brand, stick to that filter and use it consistently to strengthen people’s recollection of you. Use filters to increase curiosity as well. Combined with good captions or taglines, you could hit home and get the attention you want.
Put everything together in a canvass of images and elements held in place by a common marketing message. See to it that you achieve a good balance of images and text. Create a template so that you have a uniform campaign. The goal is to become a familiar entity among your target audience.
How the Big Brands Do It
One of the most successful consumer brands is Coca-Cola. They have been doing their marketing and advertising campaigns unfailingly right all these years. When you go to their Facebook page, you will see the instant association. The same thing goes with other online channels where Coca-Cola is found (which is practically everywhere).
One very good example of Coca-Cola’s successful campaign is their message about enjoying life, which is channeled on their Facebook page. The same message was seen on Twitter, therefore reinforcing the message already posted on Facebook.
On some sites, Coca-Cola uses its tagline (Refreshing the world, one story at a time). Content on all of Coca-Cola’s social media accounts are also related to the tagline and tell the same story.
Google is another good example of very strong branding. People easily recognize Google online. This has been the formula for Google: same font + same colors.
Useful tips on Brand Image Consistency
Maintaining a consistent brand image is everything. Branding represents the company or organization that owns the product. It is about influencing people to follow the product, its organization, the advocacies, and the story.
Regardless of size, brands should be consistent. Since the brand speaks for the company and reflects the values and personality that consumers relate to, maintaining a consistent brand image is critical and could be difficult to some.
Take time to know who your customers are.
Find out what they want and what they expect from companies like yours. Make these inputs the basis of your marketing and advertising goals. So, depending on your audience, make your ad relevant. If you are in the business catering to children’s parties, you may opt for images that are brightly colored and fun to look at.
Study your target market.
Knowing who your customers are means knowing where they go online most of the time. It is also about knowing which social media platforms they use. Having information about your customers will help you make campaigns that will matter to them and give them value. Also, it helps to understand and track the purchasing capabilities of the audience. If you have this insight, it’ll be easier to match the brand that suits your target market.
Set the tone. Set the voice.
Pick a tone depending on your target demographics and set the mood through your post. Different individuals call for different preferences. Keep a consistent tone and use the same voice in all your marketing materials. Maintaining the same voice should definitely be used in forums or on your comment section when you reply to feedback from your audience. Keeping the same way of talking and responding to people builds a sense of comfort and trust among those who relate.
Complement the logo with the other elements in the same canvass.
The logo should not overpower the rest. There should be a balance that could give the audience “the feels.” Complementing elements result in a very strong image.
Come up with a very catchy tagline you can use in all your campaigns whether traditional or online.
The tagline should instantly summarize the actual message and get the guest’s attention. When placed well, a good tagline will go a long way in establishing that big recall from potential customers.
Create guidelines on how all your marketing visuals should consistently appear when used for ads or campaigns.
The visuals include the typeface, the corporate color or colors, the logo, and the tagline which should be imprinted on those who see the post. Putting together a set of marketing guidelines will ensure that the visuals will be used consistently across all channels regardless if there are different people using them. The templates or the standard sizes and colors indicated on the guidelines spell consistency in brand identity.
Importance of Proper Branding
Proper branding is the use of the company’s name, reputation, achievements and goals, and the merging of all these into the sort of entity that represents. Branding establishes the personality and makes it easier to be relevant to people who matter. The time and effort put into creating and building the kind of marketing campaign that would boost sales are a huge investment to make, but the rewards are great when people already know you.
Branding can be a bit more difficult these days compared to when the internet wasn’t as pervasive yet. It is more challenging, but when done right, you have the whole world at your fingertips. Traditional media is around and could still work, but social media on the internet could give you the reach and the precious instant feedback. Branding could help you get to the right people. Your identity, your image should be out there if you want to succeed in your business.