Why Brand Consistency Is More Important Than You Think
This is what my company found out about brand consistency that can help your small business now.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Even for the edgiest of brands, consistency matters. Consistently high-quality products bring back repeat customers and increase brand loyalty, and if your company is offering great products, you'll want to be consistent in another area, too -- branding. How do we know? Because it's a lesson I learned leading my company: branding goes hand-in-hand with not only getting new customers, but also earning customer loyalty.
When I first started my company, I didn't have much direction on branding and sometimes randomly switched between two logos, which made our consumers start to feel a little dubious. By learning to keep our branding consistent, even if we didn't particularly love our logo, we made sure customers developed a strong idea of our brand identity, which is the first step in consumer engagement.
Branding is most effective when it's apparent at every customer touchpoint, which means we needed to make our logo match everywhere--from ads our customers would see on the side of a passing bus to when they were buying our product.
Luckily, it was easier once we looked at Surveymonkey's matrix of customer touchpoints, which covers 21 different situations before, during, and after purchasing, and stressing that even more still exist. Maintaining branding consistency across all these touchpoints is essential, but thankfully, it wasn't super difficult once we knew which strategies to use.
The most powerful logos in the world have truly awe-inspiring levels of customer engagement -- Signs.com reports that 94 percent of the entire world population recognizes the Coca-Cola logo, for instance. That means Coca-Cola can use that logo to instantly create an association for their customers along every touchpoint. Many logos can be recognized instantly -- the Nike swoosh instantly evokes its brand personality without any words whatsoever.
Research at MIT Sloan has found that logos "are the most crucial visual synthesizers of a brand that consumers turn to on a daily basis." Because of their incredible versatility -- almost anything can have a logo on it -- they're a crucial tool for brand consistency.
So that's what we did: we invested real time and money into creating a great, memorable logo, and it did pay off.
2. Social Media Savviness
Something else we learned when it came to showcasing our brand's personality was the importance of social media. After all, however good our logo was, if no one was seeing it, it would have been equivalent to having no logo at all.
71 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand they've had a positive social media experience with. But consumers using social media are facing information overload, which meant that we couldn't just simply post a couple times on our Facebook page. Instead, we had to provide emotionally engaging content through our social media activity, drawing in our users so our posts wouldn't get lost in the shuffle.
We found that what worked best for us was the killer combo of good design, informative content, and entertainment value. It was also key to be savvy about where and when to post. The Balance reports that 3pm on a Wednesday is the peak time in the week to share content on Facebook. So that's exactly what we did.
3. The Importance Of Packaging
According to PEW Research, 79 percent of all American consumers shop online, which meant that, when it came to selling our physical products, we oftentimes ended up using USPS or a package delivery service. And that experience our customers had, of receiving and opening a package, was as much a part of our brand identity as it would be if they were visiting us as a brick-and-mortar storefront. Consistent design that captured our brand's personality was key for driving customer engagement.
We were able to choose the best box for our product -- such as a mailer or a folding carton -- customize its size, and design visuals for both the interior and exterior packaging. This made it possible for us to upload brand-specific visuals, like our logo and mascot, and designed color and font schemes that were consistent with our brand's personality.
4. Customer Service
Customer service is perhaps a less obvious customer touchpoint, since there's no way to slap your logo on a phone conversation. But what we learned is that a lot of customer service doesn't actually take place over the phone anymore -- it happens more through digital platforms, such as social media and email. Those places are a location for visual branding and emotional connection. Audio branding isn't a useless concept either; think of how many companies have their customer service representatives say "thank you for calling X" when answering the phone.
So when we re-thought out our customer service strategies, we had to keep all of these possibilities in mind. Each and every one of these conversations were another version of our brand and a chance to show customers who we really were.
How can consistency improve your branding game?