ICSC takes a look at how your branding and communication efforts can establish trust with your customers.
Why is brand consistency important? It’s simple: consistency establishes trust between the brand and your consumers. And trust, in turn, leads to lifelong relationships.
A relationship of trust generally develops in three stages:
- If your brand appears in a manner that is consistent, consumers will start to recognise and remember you.
- Once they start to recognise and remember you, they will begin to feel as if they know you.
- When consumers start to feel that they know you, they will begin to trust you.
If your brand looks different all the time due to the inconsistent use of visuals, colours or fonts, it will be far more difficult to get your customers to remember you. It will be like introducing them to a different version of yourself every time; a scenario which is likely to create a feeling of mistrust or confusion among your customers.
So, how should you go about creating brand consistency? ICSC has a few tips to get you started.
Establish brand guidelines
Brand guidelines are the ‘rules’ that govern how your brand is communicated. As a minimum, your brand guidelines should stipulate the following:
- How your logo is used (and how it may not the used), for example, the positioning of logos, backgrounds, orientation and spacing;
- The colours associated with your brand, including pantone codes for all relevant colours;
- The fonts which you use, with guidance on which fonts should be used for different elements of copy (e.g. headlines, body copy, captions);
- Image guidance, for example, what types of photographs are used and what icons are used;
- Your brand “voice” provides advice on the tone of your message, what types of phrases you use and the general personality of the brand (e.g. friendly, knowledgeable, quirky, trustworthy);
- Pointers for using your brand on social media – such as the tone and length of your messages, use of hashtags, use of links, etc.
Think beyond your website
It’s tempting to assume that a consistently themed website is enough to solidify your brand in the mind of consumers. However, it is vital that every aspect of a consumer’s experience of your brand is consistent. Most consumers won’t stumble upon your website by accident. Chances are good that they will find you via Google Ads, social media or an e-mail link. And once they’re on your website, they may sign up for your newsletter or decide to contact you via e-mail.
This is where consistency becomes more challenging. To establish a feeling of trust, every step of their interaction with you should feel familiar and connected. Your website, company e-mails, social media profiles and other online channels, should have a consistent tone and personality. Your messages on Twitter and Instagram may be more casual than your newsletters or LinkedIn posts, but they shouldn’t feel like they come from two entirely different companies. Regularly checking in with your brand guidelines will help you keep your tone true to the nature of your company.
Pay attention to internal branding too
Brand consistency isn’t just about talking to potential customers. It’s vital that your employees understand and adopt the brand too. When employees ‘buy in’ to your brand, they become ambassadors, which will ensure that the brand experiences trickles down into every layer of customer interaction. It’s a good idea to invest in internal communication campaigns and branding workshops. Also be sure to equip your relevant employees with branding resources, such as access to digital logos and general company marketing material.
Let’s get your brand sorted
ICSC specialises in crafting communication strategies that reinforce your brand in the minds of consumers. We have the expertise to plan your communications strategy from start to finish, and the skills to implement it in an effective and consistent manner. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can use brand consistency to your advantage.