Apple. Microsoft. Coca-Cola. The mere mention of each of these companies brings to mind a specific, unique and lasting set of impressions. Topping Forbes Magazine’s 2012 list of the world’s most powerful brands, these industry giants are known for the products and services they provide, and heralded for their ability to evolve and innovate. However, Apple, Microsoft and Coca-Cola can each attribute their prominent household name status to one critical factor: the establishment of a consistent brand identity.
Consistency is Key in Building Your Brand
In simple terms, a brand is not about services and products. Rather, a brand is about the company itself–its essence, for lack of a better word. Creating a consistent brand experience not only encourages consumers to identify and connect with your company, but also helps them to differentiate between you and the competitors. Without consistency, your company won’t stand out to consumers, making it a challenge to build your small business.
Whether you’re in the business of selling shoes or software, consistent brand identity is critical. Three companies can offer exactly the same product, but the one with the most consistently powerful brand has the potential to become a significant presence, while the others will likely wile away in ignominy. When your brand is known, it has power. When your brand is unknown or muddled by inconsistencies, it is powerless.
Go Forth and Brand
When considering your brand, first evaluate how you want your clients to feel–not only about the products and services you offer, but about the company itself. By defining this somewhat undefinable component, you can formulate a comprehensive strategy to deliver this consumer experience across all points of consumer contact–from company name to logo to the appearance and tone of all elements of your marketing plan.
Once you know your brand, the next step is to commit to projecting it to your target market through one strong, consistent impression. Keep in mind that your brand is the public representation of your business; changing it can have dire consequences in terms of the experience, so be prepared to stick with it.
Try to imagine McDonald’s without its Golden Arches or Google without its Doodle. Because of brand consistency, these logos have become indelibly intertwined with the consumer’s concept of the company itself. Any effort to do away with these symbols would not only be confusing to the consumer, but would also constitute a violation of trust.
A brand, in many ways, is like a promise to the consumer. But remember: consistency is not just in the message you put forth, but also in the products you deliver. Implicit in successful branding is that the products live up to promises made.
Establishing brand consistency is increasingly challenging because of the many modern mediums through which consumers encounter your brand. Gone are the ruling days of print ads and storefronts; social media has become a major branding component, and one that can compromise your message if not properly managed. While online promotions can be a terrific tool in reaching new customers and strengthening your brand, success relies upon the rigorous control of presence and voice.
By consistently projecting and protecting your company’s brand across all channels, you will deliver a brand that not only has a recognizable public identity, but also elicits feelings of trust and loyalty from consumers. After all, while you may be building a company, they are buying a brand.
Joanna Hughes is a professional content writer. She develops articles on everything from the latest fashion trends to how to be first on google.