When it comes to marketing, consistency is key. You want your brand to be immediately recognizable each time a consumer comes into contact with your brand.
A few decades ago, that meant watching over a brand’s presence across a handful of television and radio networks, in a few newspapers and magazines, and maybe on billboards. It was easier to know exactly when, where and how a brand would face the public.
But things are entirely different today. Information about your brand is being consumed around the clock and around the world in countless ways. And consumers – not you – get to determine how and when they access it.
Here are eight tips for ensuring your brand is perceived as you want it to be – wherever and whenever consumers encounter it:
1. Be authentic – Harris quotes Derric Haynie, CEO of the social media marketing company Vulpine Interactive, saying that consistency begins with how authentically the brand reflects the marketer’s values. “A brand is simply how you define yourself to the world (and then retroactively how the world – or each individual therein – perceives you). Changing product lines, offers, copy, and creative should not bring into question the core of who you are and what you stand for. If you find that it is, then you have to question your authenticity and consider changing your brand to better reflect your ‘true identity.’”
2. Put it all in writing – A style guide will be your go-to for keeping your visuals and messaging consistent for your whole group. Plus, it’s much easier to send a written document than it is to explain the nuances of your brand to each and every contractor or new employee.
3. Monitor your tone – Voice is generally understood as an adjective that defines the brand, while tone is a subset of voice that can add flavor based on factors like audience, situation, and channel. While your voice should always be the same, your tone can vary. Monitor you brand across channels for a consistent voice and appropriate tone. Here’s more on the subject.
4. Always question everything – “Make a habit of always questioning the words, phrases, visuals, and other components that you use for every campaign you work on and for every website you develop a presence on for your company,” suggests William Harris in a post for the Marketing Insider Group. “Never deviate from the standards you set in the branding and style guide you create.”
5. Make sure your content can pass the “no-logo test” – “If your logo didn’t appear with your content, could your audience identify the content as coming from your brand? asks Erika Heald at the Content Marketing Institute. Heald cautions that “(An) inconsistent brand experience is more common as an organization grows.”
6. Stay on top of social-media interactions – Any social media marketer will tell you that angry customers usually wind up on Twitter. Make sure your team is ready to reply to their concerns (or shade) in a way that’s considerate and consistent with your brand voice.
7. Empower internal brand advocates – “Your whole team needs to understand your brand values, your tone and style so that all communications are consistent from phone calls to emails, to the message at the bottom of your invoices,” writes Michelle Alexander at Thirst Creative.
8. Maintain emotional consistency in everything you publish – While you’re monitoring your channels for messaging and visual consistency, you should also keep an eye on the consistency of the emotions they evoke.
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