Ways to Sustain Brand Consistency
Designing Your Business Communication
The Marketing Blog defines a “brand” as follows: “Emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers. Strong brands elicit opinions, emotions, and sometimes physiological responses from customers.” Many people erroneously believe that a brand is a logo, but a brand is so much more than a company logo and tagline. A brand is everything that helps to define and represent a particular product or service. Brands are not tangible–they are thoughts and emotions and relationships between a company and its customers.
Your brand will determine your logo, slogan, marketing plan, customer base, support staff and everything else associated with making a business successful. The most lucrative and well-known companies are those that have a clear, consistent, coherent brand. All the pieces of the puzzle must be in place in order for a brand to work. If your logo, slogan, theme, and marketing strategies are disjointed and lack unity, it’s impossible to have a brand. Once a brand is created the next step is sustain that brand. Brand consistency is crucial to any business, but you can only achieve brand consistency if you understand what a brand is. It’s a complex concept for some, so if you’re not quite clear on what your brand is or should be, you are definitely not alone. Fortunately, there is a great deal of information on the Internet (and in print) about branding strategy for small and large businesses.
Your brand serves both external and internal purposes. Externally, your brand is your identity that your customers connect with, and relationships are formed with those customers. Relationship formation is important because people buy based on emotion, not logic. But branding is not marketing; branding is who you are–your soul, and that is why you must be in total control of creating your brand. Your brand dictates how you market your business; marketing does not identify your brand.
While taglines and logos are not your brand, they are a part of your brand. Taglines serve three purposes:
- They communicate your brand in a memorable way
- They are a promise–they are a reminder of what your brand delivers
- They indicate what the future holds for your brand
If you feel you need help creating a great tagline, find a tagline specialist to help you. If you want to create one yourself, follow these suggestions. First, understand that the goal is to get and keep your customers’ attention and get them interested in your product or service. Think about your brand’s promise and jot down key words that illustrate that promise. Then, think about the story of your business and write down some ideas that make your company come alive.
Examine other taglines and see what makes them so successful. Notice how many words are in famous taglines. Borrowing ideas is OK as long as the final tagline you create is original. Write several versions of a tagline; play with the words and have fun with it. Make sure it’s catchy and something people will remember. Make sure it flows off the tongue smoothly and is not confusing in any way. Use words people will recognize; tagline creation is not the time to show off your great vocabulary.
Logos are important after your brand is set in stone. While logos should be eye-catching and recognizable, they are often given way more attention than necessary. Here are some elements of a good logo:
- Easy-to-read font (if applicable)
- Originality (for example, a house on a real estate business card is too obvious)
- Avoid multi-colored logos–it’s better to stick with just one or two colors. Research which colors elicit certain emotions. Even when using only one or two colors, it’s important to choose the right ones.
- Clarity and boldness help make logos great
- Use shapes people are familiar with
- Obscurity should be avoided
Now that we’ve discussed two major elements that come after your brand is created, let’s look at how to sustain your brand over time.
Maintaining brand consistency will help your company succeed. Your brand must remain consistent so customers and prospective customers understand what you’re offering/providing. Experts suggest starting and keeping what your brand stands for consistent even when the products are different. If you have a clearly defined customer demographic, then you must not stray from that. Everyone knows that Porsche markets to people who can afford their products; the company does not waiver from that and try to appeal to the hard-working man or woman who does well but certainly cannot afford a car that costs that much. Don’t feel as though your brand must appeal to everyone–that’s virtually impossible.
One big mistake that companies make is they try to extend themselves too far. Levis once tried to sell business suits. Because the name Levis is synonymous with jeans, this simply didn’t work.
If you own a business, your brand defines you. All decisions you make must be aligned with your brand, and as you build your brand, you business identity grows.
Here are some PaperDirect blogs about business and branding:
- Three Elements to Small Business Branding Strategy
- Branding Your Business with Social Media
- Effective Web Content to Brand Your Business