Your customers will get exposed to your brand on many occasions. Every touchpoint with your brand will give them a chance to form an opinion, to create certain associations or to simply grow more fond of it. When you know all these different channels will shape the perception people have of your brand, you want your core message to be the same across all of them. Creating a seamless brand experience is one of the key elements to build a strong and consistent brand.
Creating a consistent brand brings challenges. It might be because you have a recently launched start-up and you haven’t defined all the guidelines yet. Or you might run a big international corporation and you can’t control all outgoing communication. However, in order to build an authentic brand that people will trust, you need a coherent brand identity. Whether you need a consistent brand image for your e-commerce store or a strong identity for your service-based business, you need to have a branding strategy in place. This will not only make it easier for further decisions concerning marketing or advertisement but will also give you internal directions and guidelines to teach your employees.
Best practices for a consistent brand
Create a brand identity toolkit
The first step to consistent branding is building a toolkit where you collect all branding aspects of your company. This should contain your logo, with exact measurements, background colours, how it can be used, when it’s used with or without tag line etc. Don’t forget to also include your colour scheme, colour codes, fonts and guidelines on when to use them. Make sure all this information comes together in one handy sheet that is easily accessible to everyone that works in your company.
Create a brand guide
Your brand is more than just a logo, a tagline and some fitting colours. Your brand is also represented in all your communication, be it in words or in pictures. That’s why you need clear brand guidelines for everyone that speaks to the outer world on behalf of your company.
A first step is the tone-of-voice. Are you going for corporate and serious or playful and fun? Make sure your social media managers know what tone to use in their posts and your PR-team knows how to translate this into their press releases.
But also visual communication can bring a brand together. What style of photography will you be using? What icons or graphic styles? Are there signages or printed marketing materials? Your graphic designers have to know your brand identity kit as the back of their hand, being able to create all visual communication in line with your brand identity.
Give everyone access
Not only graphic designers should have your brand identity kit bookmarked, everyone working at your company should have easy access to your brand guidelines. You might have shared it with your marketers and web designers, but also think about your HR department or accountants, so they can include the agreed branding items in their recruiting emails or invoices.
Think about your touchpoints
Branding doesn’t just happen on your main marketing channels or during PR-stunts. Think about when your customers get in contact with your brand, and try to ensure a consistent experience across all these outlets. Think about the places where your logo or brand appears, for example in email signatures, business cards, slideshows and presentations, store-decorations, on-hold messages or packaging and labelling.
Create fitting content
When you create content for your brand, be it in a blog post or a YouTube-video, make sure it always contains a part of your brand identity. Every piece of content you create should reflect that same brand story, or at least contribute to the bigger picture. This means that if you position yourself as a serious and corporate organisation, you might want to stay away from funny giphys or memes that don’t really suit your tone-of-voice. There is of course always some wiggle-room, and try to experiment with what your customers would like to see as well.
Focus on different channels
When it comes to a digital strategy, you can’t deny the importance of omnichannel marketing. An omnichannel marketing strategy reaches customers on different channels, where all channels interact and complement each other. Of course, you need to understand that every channel has a different purpose, audience or way of communicating. Your LinkedIn post will probably not be similar to whatever you post on Snapchat, or your investor newsletter will be different than your YouTube ad. But this doesn’t mean you can’t make use of all these different channels. As long as it fits with your brand identity, it’s perfectly fine – and even recommendable – to focus on more outlets. You just have to adapt your tone of voice, without losing touch of your brand identity. Our favourite analogy? You speak differently at home than at work, but it’s still you.
Put it all together
Branding happens in so many ways, with so many different outlets and touchpoints. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that it might be hard to control all outgoing communication. Is your Instagram post in line with your sales pitch? Does your business card reflect the same vision as your Tweets? It might be good to put it all together once in a while to evaluate. See if the bigger picture is still there and if everything is connected.
Need help with creating a consistent branding experience? Talk to us today!