Your products and/or services alone will not secure your longevity in business. However, your brand will. This is why it’s important to maintain brand consistency, especially in a world where there is a whole lot of noise to contend with.
You want to be able to offer your target audience a unified experience, no matter the channel or whether it is online or offline. A strong and consistent brand allows you to stand out amongst the noise and aids your target audience’s purchasing decisions.
“Your products and/or services alone will not secure your longevity in business. However, your brand will.” – Alex Strologo
Maintain Brand Consistency
Now, with your brand front of mind, I will cover some valuable tips for maintaining a consistent brand identity. Whether you are establishing your brand or already have one, each tip provides valuable insight and direction for further optimisation. Furthermore, I give some personal suggestions, where I have identified a best practice. Remember, no two brands are the same, you want to be consistent, at the same time, authentic.
1. Brand Guidelines
This is a crucial starting point for individuals and businesses. Brand guidelines are a series of documents that provide details about your way of doing things. They make the execution of tasks a whole lot easier. Just imagine how you would convey your brand to a future employee or outsider, a guideline makes that easy.
Your guidelines should cover everything your brand is and stands for. This includes, but is not limited to, how your creative assets will be created and used and your message and tone. Your brand guidelines’ main point is to ensure overall consistency, so include anything you want to be consistent.
2. Creative Assets
This is a big one for me personally, as I do my best work when I am organised. So, what does it mean to organise your creative assets? Put simply, how you structure your content library. This will be different for every brand. In my case, I keep everything offline and organised by the channel, content type and individual post.
For businesses, I recommend using a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows for the streamlined distribution of creative assets, to which each department has access. Bear in mind, that a CMS, generally speaking, is a tool for managing websites. However, beyond that, they are a great solution for the organisation and distribution of creative assets.
3. Message and Tone
In terms of brand identity, the message and tone refer to the copy practices used by an individual or business. In the same way, you want organised creative assets, you also want to ensure your message and tone are clear, concise and consistent. This is vital to your brand identity as it is the way you communicate with your target audience, other than visually. As mentioned earlier, this is something that should be established in your brand guidelines to ensure consistency across all channels.
4. Team Coherence
Although this can be challenging, it is a key factor in building a strong brand identity, especially for businesses. Your team is made up of individuals, who all have different tastes and preferences. This cannot make its way into your brand identity unless it is intentional.
Through the use of your brand guidelines, you can ensure all team members are on the same page. This can be as simple as providing brand identity training upon employment or regular topical meetings. When your team understands how to implement your brand guidelines, your target audience will recognise the effort, albeit subconsciously.
5. Repurpose Content
Valuable, relevant and consistent content is not only hard to think of, but a challenge to create as well. However, this is not a good enough reason to repurpose it. You do not want to detract from the intended purpose of your content. In saying this, if done strategically the value of your content can be dramatically increased and given a new lease of life.
To make things easier, you want to keep in mind, throughout the content creation process any repurpose plans or situations that may occur. This will allow you to create content that can be used on a variety of channels, rather than just one.
6. Monitor Execution
I want to start this off by saying, this does not mean micromanaging every brand-related task that goes on. This simply means, monitoring how effectively your brand identity is being communicated. This tip works hand in hand with team coherence and can be achieved through the same means mentioned earlier.
Once you have identified any gaps in your execution, it is important to come up with a plan to fill them. For businesses, I recommend creating content that is purposefully catered to the identified gaps, allowing you to narrow your focus. For individuals, take the necessary steps to enhance their consistency. This can be done by revisiting your brand guidelines or getting outside advice.
7. Adapt and Change
If you are in business in the current world we live in, it is safe to say you are well versed in having to adapt and change. This also applies to your brand identity. Now, I am not saying you should be continuously rebranding, that would be detrimental, to say the least.
However, making minor adjustments to your brand identity, to better cater to your target audience is common practice. By doing this, you are actively thinking about your target audience. I like to call this, consistency of thought.
The biggest businesses in the world all do this, because of the understanding that consumer tastes and preferences change over time. Going a step further, the really forward-thinking businesses promote change to their target audience in the hope of preempting future tastes and preferences.
By following the tips in this post, you are giving your brand the maintenance it deserves. Do not look at it as a task that you give a time allocation to and it is done.
Make it something that you have at the forefront of your mind, in everything you do. It is no easy task to maintain brand consistency, especially when catering to an ever-growing number of channels. But with a little effort, you can secure your business’s longevity.