Great advice Anita. So many smaller businesses feel that the need for brand consistency (or a "brand" for that matter) doesn't apply to them. It's usually the most important asset in establishing a memorable public perception with customers for a business of ANY size.
Is Your Branding Consistent?
A unique effective business brand is often the catalyst for launching your business’ presence. Make sure all of your marketing works in tandem with your brand, and that you’re establishing a consistent and cohesive business image.
Big companies know the power of establishing a consistent, recognizable visual brand image. Even if your business isn't as large as Best Buy, you’ll still reap the benefits of keeping your business image and brand consistent. Whether it’s a television commercial, web blog, direct mail campaign, etc., there are inherent benefits in keeping your business image consistent. The main challenges a company typically faces:
- The company isn’t comfortable or confident in the brand – the employees might not like it
- The company is attempting to create the brand using in-house people (perhaps the owner her/himself or an inexperienced designer), who haven’t studied how to create a strong, consistent business brand
- The company jumps from one designer to another, which can cause rifts in its brand consistency
So how can you capitalize on this? You first need a good brand – hire a professional to do this for you. A unique effective business brand is often the catalyst for launching your business’s presence. Make sure all of your marketing works in tandem with your brand, and that you’re establishing a consistent and cohesive business image. An experienced marketer/designer can do this for you. Once you’ve invested in and established a unique, professional business brand that’s working for you, here are the benefits you can expect to reap. In a nutshell, here is what having a consistent brand can do for you:
- You’ll receive your future graphic design projects much faster. Be aware that the initial design always takes the longest. Then, you’ll be amazed at how fast a designer can turn your projects around if she/he has already designed a professional brand image for you.
- It’s more cost effective. The designer won’t have to reinvent the wheel in coming up with a totally new look and feel, so it will take less labor hours. When you work with an experienced designer, she/he will build the cost savings right in, and you’ll see your costs going down.
- Gain credibility through consistency. Prospects can sometimes be apprehensive about working with a company that can’t seem to pick a direction with its image – they often get confused and assume the company can’t make up its mind. Conversely, consistency leads prospects to conclude that the company is confident, stable -- and yes, credible.
- With all of the distractions out there, it will take people a few times of seeing your consistent brand (called impressions) before it sinks in. On average, you’ll need to make at least three consistent brand impressions on a prospect before she/he takes notice of your brand. Staying the course and being consistent will eventually lead to having a recognized, familiar brand image.
- An interesting phenomenon happens: Prospects feel that if they’ve seen something frequently, if it’s being advertised frequently, it must be good. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.
What Happens if You Don’t Have Consistency Between Your Business’ Brand, Advertising and Marketing?
- You lose credibility
- Prospects can’t find you as easily
- Prospects think you can’t make your mind up, that you look unstable
- You appear to have not been in business very long
The Bottom Line if You’re a Business Owner (Even a Sole-Proprietor):
Building a solid, recognizable brand doesn’t happen overnight.
You’ve heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out” – the rule applies here. To get everything you can out of your brand, make sure that a professional designer creates it.
Realize that having a professional brand designed is an investment, not an expense. Jeffrey Fox writes in Marketing Superstar, “Brand names are intellectual assets, often more valuable than tangible assets…Treat great brand names like great paintings; great brands are priceless.”
Make sure your designer knows the power of building a consistent brand across your marketing. As a quick rule of thumb, gather all of your materials and line them up on a table. Are they consistent and cohesive?
If not, find the right person to help you achieve brand consistency and thus leverage your branding efforts. You’ll be amazed at what your brand can do for you!
Learn more about the author, Anita Elder.
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