How Brand Consistency Can Help You Put Competitors In Your Rearview Mirror


Consistent branding is important.

Your company’s logo design, business website, business name, mobile app, store signage, marketing, and customer support messaging… must all be instantly recognizable as your brand.

There are multiple reasons why consistent branding is powerful – and inconsistent branding is harmful.

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Why is brand consistency so important?

The goal of any brand strategy is to provide a recognizable, positive brand identity people will remember.

Without a consistent brand presentation, you cannot achieve that goal.

Consistent branding improves brand recognition.

A phenomenon known as context-dependent memory states that people remember information best when they are in the original context in which they encountered that information. However, brand messages usually occur in various places (online ads, business cards, outdoor signage, product packaging, emails, etc…).

This means that your brand messages often lack the context to make it easy for people to remember them.

So, consistent presentation is necessary to bridge the gap and reinforce brand recognition.

This is especially true for new and younger businesses. As we emphasized in our guide on how to start a business,

A strong brand identity is the most effective way your new business can gain a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Consistent branding communicates to the world that you know who you are.

Brands that can’t settle on a consistent presentation or voice project their confusion to the world. This undermines people’s confidence in their company.

Consistent brands build confidence by showing that your business can reliably manage its affairs. This is especially important for brands with multiple products and services. Those brands need to develop a brand architecture framework that helps prospects and customers recognize the common nexus between the products and services.

Consistent branding shows that you stand behind, and live, the identity you’ve shared with the world.

People trust businesses that practice what they preach.

If your brand consistently delivers on promises, presents itself in the same way, and acts per the identity it presents, it proves the authenticity of your brand.

People value and trust authentic interactions.

Consistent branding builds customer relationships.

Like any relationship in life, it takes time to build strong relationships with your customers.

Consistent branding allows your business to be perceived as the same business they met the last time they heard from you. After enough consistent exposure to a brand, customers begin to feel as though they know you – and the relationship begins to grow.

As we explained previously,

The more customers are exposed to something – a product, a service, or your brand – the more inclined they are to like it.

This is a psychological phenomenon known as “mere exposure.”

So, marketing science indicates that the more frequently customers… 1) interact with your brand and 2) recognize it due to consistent presentation, the stronger your brand/customer relationship will grow.

How do you build brand consistency?

It’s impossible to faithfully repeat something if you don’t know what you did in the first place.

And, that’s the challenge many businesses encounter when trying to present a consistent brand.

If you haven’t given any deep thought to your brand – your values, your inherent and projected brand personality, your unique selling proposition, and how those elements will manifest visually – then you simply cannot expect to achieve a consistent brand presentation.

If you don’t know your brand yet, how could anyone else?

So, start by self-reflecting. Determine the values that drive your business and the traits that define it and make it unique.

The best time to do this self-reflection is when you start writing a business plan for your business. That’s the perfect time to think about ways you’ll differentiate from your competitors. Most one-page business plan templates have specific prompts that force you to consider such differences.

Then work with talented designers (ahem – maybe the amazing team of talent at crowdspring?) to develop a visual design that embodies that brand. This will be the foundation for all of the visual elements that customers and potential customers will associate with your brand.

Conduct an inventory if you already have a logo and visual branding elements. Ask yourself if these elements properly represent your brand. If not, it may be time for a logo refresh or a complete visual rebrand.

Create a style guide

Image courtesy of Shakeupid

A style guide is the one source of truth for your visual brand. This document outlines a set of rules to follow whenever a member of your organization wants to publish, present, or promote your brand’s content.

As we previously explained,

If your brand isn’t captured in a style guide, it can quickly drift into an inconsistent experience for your customers and employees.

And, as you know – inconsistent equals bad.

But, a comprehensive style guide will provide all of the information needed for an employee to accurately create consistently branded content:

This includes visual info such as fonts, brand colors, logo, signage specifications, typography style, and any other commonly used branded graphic elements. It should also cover less tangible items like ideal voice and tone, your branding mission and company philosophy.

So, once you’ve clearly defined your brand and developed visuals to support it, make them official in a style guide you can share with every team member.

Give brand messaging time to work

As we mentioned earlier, relationships of any kind take time to build.

And it’s estimated that it takes between 5 and 11 interactions (depending on the source) before a customer is ready to make a purchase.

So, when executing any branding strategy, plan to give it enough time to sink into the public consciousness.

Your business name and logo should remain the same for as long as possible. If changes are made, they should be related to the originals to maintain your valuable brand equity.

Your brand position may change over time as the business landscape evolves. But it should still have a life cycle of years – not weeks or months.

This is just one area where authentic branding has a distinct advantage over contrived branding. An authentic brand is far more likely to have longer staying power since it is grounded in the business’s reality from the foundation up – making it easier to implement and most likely to remain relevant years from now.

If you don’t immediately get the reaction to your brand that you had hoped for, don’t give up too quickly and try something new. Every brand needs time and repeated exposure to truly make a lasting impact.

Deliver a consistent multi-channel experience

Businesses today share their marketing and branding messages in many, many places.

People interact with your brand everywhere, from social media to your website, email marketing to roadside billboards, and mobile apps to your customer support team.

And they should be. It’s best to be in all the places your customers frequent. This makes you easy to find and keeps your business top-of-mind.

But being in all the right places isn’t enough. It’s crucial to present a consistent brand across all these locations if you want people to recognize and remember your brand.

This is especially important when you lead customers on a journey from one point to another. For example… if you send an email with a discount link, the landing page the customers land on should share the same brand messaging and appearance as the original email.

Customers should experience your brand the same way, whether on social media, a mobile app, your website, or in your store.

Brand from the inside out

Your employees are the guardians of your brand.

Employees need to be as well-educated and passionate about their brand as they are. Without their understanding and buy-in, a consistent branding effort is doomed to fail. This is one of the reasons why the best brands happen from the inside out.

Authentic brand values that evolve naturally from your company culture will be easiest for your employees to embrace and enact.

But don’t assume that because your brand values are genuine, your employees will know how to – or that they will – articulate them. Provide brand education for all employees to understand their role in presenting a consistent brand identity for your company.

Consistent = Reliable = Valued

In our personal lives, we value those who are always there for us when we need them. It’s reassuring to know that we can rely on someone.

The same is true for a consistent brand. When people find a brand that not only meets their needs but does so reliably in a familiar way – that breeds loyalty.

Embrace these consistent branding tactics for your business, and, in time, you’ll leave your competition in the dust.

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