One of the biggest differences between a good brand and a great one is consistency. Your brand is the way people perceive you. It’s how they think and feel when they hear your name or see your logo. But it takes time to build your brand—and it requires consistent planning, effort, and action. The results far outweigh the effort, though. If you wonder why brand consistency matters, here are five reasons. Apply these principles and you’ll promote brand trust, awareness, authority, integrity, and revenue.
1. Brand Consistency Generates Consumer Trust
In business, trust is everything. It’s the most important brand asset you can have. Without it, you tarnish your relationship with your customers, clients, fellow employees, and any other stakeholders. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, a good reputation may get consumers to try a product, but unless they trust that company, 67% will soon stop buying it. Brand consistency enables you to build consumer trust. Naturally, that involves doing what you say you’re going to do in all aspects of your business.
For instance, if you tell someone you’ll have their product to them in a certain amount of time, you’d better make sure you follow through with that promise. Otherwise, you’re compromising that trust. If you’re even one day late without a good excuse (and a make-up gesture), you’ve lost their trust. This is a pretty obvious example, but the same principle applies to all aspects of your business. When you’re posting content consistently across your marketing channels, you’re helping to build consumer trust. In fact, consistent branding increases revenue by 23% (more on that later).
When you keep your brand’s marketing messages consistent throughout all your locations, you’re helping to build consumer trust. These may be less impactful examples, but they’re all important when you’re trying to establish and maintain brand consistency.
Consumer Trust Examples
Amazon runs away with the consumer trust award. They sell practically everything. Plus they’re open 24/7, they provide great search and browse options, and they have tons of customer reviews to peruse. Throw in great prices, one-click ordering, free shipping and returns for Prime members, and much more. It’s a recipe for building consumer trust and Amazon has pretty much nailed it.
You can list a lot of other household-name organizations that have achieved similar success in getting their customers to trust them. Apple, FedEx, Coca-Cola, Target, and Ford, just to name a handful. What do they all have in common? They’ve developed a consistency, over time, with their branding. Smaller businesses can take a cue from these organizations. Maybe your brand isn’t as big or as well known—yet. But you can still apply the same principles of brand consistency and achieve consumer trust.
Beware of Marketing Gimmickry
Here’s a word of warning, though. If you use societal issues as a marketing gimmick to sell more product, your brand could be judged with a dubious eye. To alleviate this, put your money where your marketing message is. If you’re going to talk the talk, as the saying goes, your brand better be ready to walk the walk. So, if you’re decorating your product with rainbows to show support of LGBT rights, you should also donate a portion of your sales to a related cause. If you’re putting pink ribbons on your product packaging during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, be sure you’re also devoting funds to a relevant organization. Dressing up your product because it’s trendy or “in” will only raise questions about your authenticity.
Also ensure that your organization practices the beliefs you’re publicly supporting through your marketing campaigns. If you develop a campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but don’t offer health insurance to a majority of your employees, or you produce products full of known carcinogens, don’t be surprised when employees and consumers alike take to social media to call you out on your hypocrisy. Practice what you preach, or step down from the soap box.
2. Brand Consistency Creates Awareness
Is your target audience familiar with your brand? Do they easily recognize your company’s distinctive qualities? This is what’s known as brand awareness, and it can be the difference-maker between a good brand and a great one. This is why brand consistency matters. Almost 90% of marketers say that brand awareness is their top priority. If you get consistent with your brand, you’ll increase awareness of it. Here are some of the ways you can make that happen.
- Work with influencers. Influencers already have an established following that knows and trusts them. If they endorse your brand in any way, that will expand your audience and increase consumer awareness of your product or service.
- Use branded packaging. When a business uses custom packaging to ship their products, it enhances the customer experience. You can tell a story and create awareness of your brand with your design and graphics.
- Win with SEO. Most consumers don’t get past the first page of Google’s search results, so work to get your content there. This will put you in a powerful position (literally) to make your pitch to prospects and increase brand awareness.
- Use social media. Regular posting to popular social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will help you increase brand awareness. Not only can you regularly inform them about what’s happening within your organization, but you can also interact with them. Remember, consistency is key.
- Take advantage of paid ads. Use Google’s AdSense platform to get your name and website in front of your target audience. This will increase brand awareness and drive sales.
Brand Awareness Example: B&H Photo Video
With brand awareness, you want consumers to feel a certain way when they hear your name or see your logo. Again, we could look at a wide selection of national brands that have built their successes off brand awareness, but let’s dial it back a bit to the less obvious. For example, if you’re into cameras and photography, you’re aware of B&H Photo Video. They’ve been headquartered in New York City since 1973 and they only have one location (their Manhattan SuperStore). Despite this, they’re living their best retail life largely through online e-commerce consumer and B2B sales.
Their customers know what they’re getting when they shop with B&H: the latest releases, unbeatable specials and deals, fast (usually free) shipping, great customer service, and an iron-clad, 30-day money-back guarantee. B&H is passionate about the things their target audience is passionate about: primarily photography, cameras, and film. That know-how leads to trust and their brand consistency has created awareness among the photography niche. As a result, B&H was awarded by Newsweek as one of America’s best companies for customer service.
3. Brand Consistency Establishes Authority
Brand authority can be tricky to define. It sounds good if you have it, but what does it really mean? Forbes described it as “a company’s perceived expertise within an industry or topic.” The key word there is “perceived.” If people look at you as an expert in your field, it’s safe to say you have brand authority. It isn’t a title you give yourself, but rather a reputation you earn. When you’re consistent with the way you handle your business, you can establish brand authority.
Consumers need to have confidence in you. They need to believe their money is well spent with your company. Then you’ll have the brand authority you desire.
Seth Godin on Brand Authority
Marketing guru Seth Godin appeared on the #AskGaryVee Show podcast and answered a listener’s question about the value of authority. He said:
“What does authority even mean? I think the currencies of anybody who wants to make change happen right now are attention and trust. And they’re in a virtuous cycle. You don’t get attention unless you’re trusted. You don’t get trusted unless you get attention. … So this attention-trust cycle goes around. The question then is how do you get there? I don’t think you get there by saying how do I hustle a content media play to figure out how to get in front of people who’ve never heard of me and somehow seduce them.”
Godin went on to say that generosity leads to trust. From there, you get attention—and that attention eventually leads to authority.
“I think that people tend to trust folks who step up before they have to. They trust people who keep their promises—especially when it’s not convenient. They trust people who tell them the truth. And if you do those things, they’re probably going to tell someone else. Then you’ll get more attention and more chances to be generous. The cycle goes and goes and guess what? It probably never ends at a moment when you say, ‘OK now it’s my turn to take, take, take.’ We left the take, take, take part out mostly. You don’t feel like you owe Heinz anything. You don’t feel like you owe TWA anything. You’re just in this environment where you know your attention is precious. You know your trust has been abused. If someone shows up and treats your attention with kindness and earns your trust every day, one of the by-products would be that they’ll want to hear what you have to say next.”
Brand Authority Examples
Apple has brand authority within the consumer electronics industry. Adobe has brand authority within the computer software industry—so much so that people often use the name of one of their products (Photoshop) as a verb. Sometimes multiple businesses within the same industry have brand authority, like the telecommunications industry. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all have brand authority, but they’re separate companies. (OK, Sprint and T-Mobile have since joined forces.) That’s not to say you’re powerless over brand authority, though. It’s not all based on public perception. Quite the contrary. Apple earned its reputation as an expert provider of computers and smartphones by their actions. They developed their products and reputation with consistent effort. Adobe and many others have done the same.
4. Brand Consistency Builds Integrity
Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk says building your brand integrity is a piece of cake. You build it through your actions. “Have integrity, thus you build it,” he explained. Naturally, there are some action steps involved. But it boils down to your day-to-day behavior. Over time—if you’re consistent with that behavior—you’ll build integrity. Here are a few guidelines to help you build up the integrity of your brand.
- Stick with what you know. If you’ve developed your brand in a specific manner—with a specific product or type of products—be very careful not to stray from that focus. You’ll end up confusing or maybe even alienating your loyal customers. If you start developing inferior products or offering poor customer service, you could cause irreperable harm. Stick with what you know best and you’ll become a brand with integrity.
- Focus on your customers. Speaking of customers, a basic rule of business is that they’re always right. It’s more of a slogan than a rule. But when your primary focus is on making your customers happy rather than simply doing whatever it takes to make a buck, you’ll become known as a brand with integrity.
- Just be honest. Mark Twain once said: “When in doubt, tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.” That seems like sound advice for business and life. When you adopt and stick with that fundamental principle, you’ll erase any doubts about your brand’s integrity.
- Create reachable goals. Remember that bigger is not always better. Don’t make promises your brand can’t keep, even if they’re well intentioned.
- Develop a code of ethics. Your brand should have core values that define your company culture.
How consumers perceive your brand has a big impact on its value. If you lose your integrity, you lose your value. That’s why smart marketers have to protect their brand’s identity. It begins with knowing what your brand stands for—above and beyond your bottom line.
Brand Integrity Example: Nestlé
What impact do your products or services have on your customers? A few years ago, Nestlé (makers of Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Nestlé Crunch, etc.) decided to remove artificial colors and flavors from their products. It was a bold move that changed the makeup of their flagship products. But they did it because a Nielsen study revealed that 60% of Americans didn’t want artificial colors or flavoring in their food. Sure, it was a marketing strategy by Nestlé, but it was also a reaction to their customers’ desires.
5. Brand Consistency Increases Revenue
It stands to reason that if you’re generating consumer trust, creating awareness, establishing authority, and building integrity, you’re also going to increase revenue for your brand. Consistent branding has been shown to boost revenue by almost 25%, yet most businesses aren’t clear on how to make it happen. In an Inc. report, more than 200 organizations were surveyed and 90% of them believed that consistent branding was important. Surprisingly, only 10% did anything about it.
That’s where brand management software comes to the rescue. Take brand guidelines as an example. Did you know that most businesses have guidelines, but only about 25% bother to enforce them? Brand management software can solve that problem by making your guidelines available to everyone within your organization that needs to see them. When there’s an update, it’s as simple as uploading a new file to replace the previous version. This helps you enforce your guidelines to create brand consistency. Your brand is your story. It’s who you are and what you believe. Consistent branding allows you to clearly communicate your values to your audience so they not only know them, they also believe in them. That’s a sure-fire way to increase revenue and boost the longevity of your brand.
Why Brand Consistency Matters
By developing brand consistency, you can help build consumer trust, create brand awareness, establish brand authority, build integrity, and ultimately, increase revenue. Brand management software helps you to develop and enforce your brand compliance guidelines, plus you’ll gain more control over all your marketing materials—from your logos and digital assets to approved marketing templates.
BlueSky ETO provides brand management software that’s engineered to order. What is ETO software? It’s your very own brand management solution, formulated specifically for your business. It’s uniquely yours and it’s designed for your brand’s specific needs. BlueSky ETO offers customized brand marketing centers, with automated marketing capabilities and digital asset management solutions for your business. Schedule a free brand consultation today to learn how our ETO software can help improve your brand consistency.
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