Brand Consistency: Does it really matter?
Ash Thompson — 27th July 2017
Well, does it?There are a lot of ideas that suggest other methods to prove brand value, like the “show me” principle, which is relevant and not to be sneezed at, but we do know that brand loyalty is one of the biggest factors in consumer decision making.
Imagine walking up to a stranger on the street and asking them to draw your logo, from memory. Now imagine two scenarios, the first one being that every time they have seen your logo over the last year it has been consistent, in its correct position, colour, scale, shape and size. Now imagine the second scenario being, yep, you guessed it, the exact opposite. No consistency in the position, colour, scale, shape or size. It is going to be tough for them to recall your brand, it is as simple as that.
Not all brands try to be inconsistent
Brands don't nessesarily set out to be inconsistent, but sometimes inconsistencies happen, it is unavoidable. For example, the sales team have a tight deadline for a presentation that they need to meet, and your in-house designers are swamped with other pressing work. Not making the deadline is not an option, so the sales team decide they should put their designer hat on and hope for the best. But after a while these “hoping for the best” instances start to add up. Before you know it, the majority of your collateral is inconsistent and a mess. A big mess for that matter.
What achieves consistency
A logo or brand is never created as a stark, stand alone mark. Once it is created, the next step is to craft identity guidelines around it, so that everyone is clear on how to use the brand. These encapsulate the tone of voice, visual language, rules for logo placement, correct fonts, colours and so on. By sticking to these guidelines a brand creates consistency and context, it becomes easier to recall in the consumer's mind and ultimately becomes familiar to them. Familiarity builds trust and therefore helps the consumer make a choice when it is time to decide who to buy from.
Creating an identity and guidelines that everyone can agree best represents your brand is only half the battle. The other half is establishing how these guidelines are implemented in the day-to-day of running a business, and also making sure that this is constantly enforced in practice. It is the consistency in every interaction that a customer has with your brand that keeps you anchored in their mind as trustworthy and familiar.
Tackling the Problem
It's not an easy thing to do. What happens when the sales team has that deadline that clashes with an overcommited design team? Throwing people at the problem won't solve it long-term, and so looking at a platform like Outfit can take the pressure off the design team and empower virtually anyone in the organisation to create what they need when they need it. Especially when it is highly templated artwork.
Putting an empasis on brand consistency is a must also. It's one thing to mandate brand consistency and 'tell' people that it is important, it's a completely different approach to have people buy in to the idea of brand consistency, and truly believe in it. Educating the team with real data and information on why consistency matters for your brand is a really great way to help people buy into the larger task.
For a little inspiration take a look at these awesome Brand Guidelines.