Surprisingly as it might sound, marketing and branding is often more about discipline than it is about creativity. One of the keys to successful marketing is the discipline required for consistency.
Consistency of message. Consistency of medium. Consistency of tonality and consistency of your brand personality. Consistency ranks right up at Number One on the Brand Manual ‘Most Important Things To Remember’ list.
So why do marketing managers and businesses not make things consistent? Quite simply put people inside the business get bored of their marketing and branding much quicker than their clients or consumers. The result is ever-changing marketing which may placate internal stakeholders but leaves your customers at best trying to catch-on and at worst giving up in frustration.
Many businesses take a schizophrenic approach when it comes to their marketing
On any one day of a week they may be talking in one way about their business and on another day or week they are talking quite differently. Different tone, different kind of offer, different message.
So why is this a problem to your business and your brand?
Businesses and their brand message are just like people and friendships.
Who wants to be friends with someone when you don’t know what kind of mood they will be in one day to the next? Or you’re not quite sure what they’re going to say next? Or how they’re going to behave from one situation to the next?
It’s a fact of life that when it comes to doing business (just like most friends) we want to deal with people we can rely on, depend on and have trust in.
And the best way to achieve these qualities is to be consistent. Day-in, day-out.
This doesn’t mean that your offer or product can’t change from one customer group to another – it just means your tone and manner (as its referred to in your marketing strategy), along with your brand personality should remain consistent – irrespective of the message or the medium.
Consistency is the simplest marketing concept there is
‘Look Consistent’ means “keep everything looking the same all the time”. ‘Act Consistent’ means “do what you say you’re going to do – every time”.
And incidentally, this isn’t just your sales team – it means the whole team – accounts, purchasing, administration and yes, even your receptionist!
To understand why consistency is so important, you have to understand the following human traits.
People are busy
Because of our increasingly hectic schedules, and time that is blurred between home, work and family, we want to be able to find what we are looking for quickly and with the least frustration possible.
People are under constant communication attack
All people (that includes your potential customers) are bombarded with thousands and thousands of messages daily – in the press, on billboards, on television and radio, at the train station, walking along the street and of course increasingly, when they’re sitting at their multiple screens and online.
So being consistent makes it easy for people to recognise your communication and identify it from all the others and being consistent creates empathy and recognition with your brand.
We are all creatures of habit. Once we become accustomed to the way something looks, we will continue to associate that look with that product or service. If we are used to finding information in a certain place, we will continue to search for that information in the same place.
People resist change
On the most part, once a comfort zone is attained, people tend to stay within that zone. In every part of marketing, there are very simple rules to consistency.
With promotional materials, make sure people recognise at first glance, that each of your promotional materials belong together.
This can be achieved by always using the same colour scheme, the same logo (in the same place), the same typeface and the same basic design. Include your brochures, web site, advertising material, business cards, letterhead, and envelopes in this list as well.
Once you have developed a tagline (and every brand should have one), always use it. Use it in your advertising, on your promotional materials, on your letterhead. Don’t vary your slogan or only use it here and there.
The road to implementation of your brand’s consistency
The best way to be confident your brand is consistent is to develop a Brand and Marketing Strategy to ensure everyone in your organisation understands (and is ‘singing from the same hymn book’)
The way to ensure that the strategy is embedded within the organisation is to develop a set of Brand Guidelines. Think of these, and treat them, as the ‘road rules’ of your business – so everyone and everything is driving the right way and in the right direction.
Your Brand Guidelines will then provide you with the disciplines required to repeat, repeat, repeat for business success.
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