What builds a great brand? There a lot of different ways to answer the question, from looking at what, exactly, defines to your brand to how you spread it and build recognition. Most businesses can name a different part of their brand that’s most valuable. The one factor that should run through every method and every element of it, however, is consistency. Keep your brand consistent from top to bottom. Here are a few different ways you can do that.
Base it on the truth
There’s a great quote from Mark Twain that you should back to every time you think about what your brand is really “about.” He once said: “if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Being able to naturally include the brand message and the brand story by bringing it up in conversation or inserting it in your content wherever it fits can help you reinforce and build some recognition of it. For that reason, make sure you don’t have too much to remember. Base it on the truth. If you don’t, it tends to fall apart very easily. If you say that your business focuses on customer communication and support but you don’t have the structure in place to help customers easily get in touch with you, it makes you look dishonest which hurts the brand.
Have it aimed at the right people
Who is your brand talking to? Different people communicate in different ways and have different needs. If you don’t sort your target market out from the rest of the market, then your branding might be sending mixed messages. Look here for ways to make sure you reach only your intended target audience. It’s worth doing the little creative exercise of making your own ideal customer profile and imagine your brand communicating with it. Use research to understand the demographics you want to reach and that ideal customer profile to imagine how you can best reach them. Always consider your audience when expressing the brand.
Have it informed by a story
When we talk about telling a story, we don’t mean that you have to make something up. Your mission statement can be a part of your brand story. Past customer success can be a part of the story. The problems you help solve are often a big part of the story. The brand story is simply a narrative that you build to help narrow the focus of the brand into a few key, easily communicated points. It can become a shorthand that you use in your marketing to quickly help customers understand what it is you do, what you value, and what sets you apart from the rest of your competitors.
Find your voice
To make that story even more powerful, you need to find the right voice for it. The brand voice is essentially the tone and atmosphere you aim for in all your branding and marketing efforts. Your customers and the industry you’re a part of can make a big difference in which voice you should go for, too. A highly-professional, no-frills voice might not be the most effective for winning over a customer base of young mothers, just as a soothing, empathetic voice might not be the best way to establish your message to an audience of business execs. But finding that voice can help you ensure that all your content and social media messaging has the same feeling and sense of authorship to them.
Keep it on display
No matter where you are, make sure that your brand is on display and that it has consistency to it. If you’re at a business meeting, branded business cards help add a little recognition. If you’re at trade shows, then look here at conference materials that can help make your brand more visible. Repetition is the key to mastery. If your audience is repeatedly exposed to the same logo, same aesthetic, and same language then they are a lot more likely to buy into the message the brand is selling. What’s more, they will more readily recognize it in future. Brand recognition can help you communicate the story and get the message across much more quickly.
Make sure it’s uniform
So, how do you ensure that the visual side of the brand has a consistency regardless of who is spreading it? For instance, if you have a new member of the marketing team come in, how can you be sure that they won’t break the consistency with a brand-new aesthetic? It’s all about creating a brand style guide, also known as a brand bible. Here, you can learn how to set out the color schemes, the shapes, patterns, and logos that help make up the entirety of your brand aesthetic. It doesn’t mean that you can never experiment with the brand, of course. It just means that future changes should be iterative so that they remain true to the spirit of the brand. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you want future branding to continue improving on the wheel you already made.
Have online and offline branding feed each other
A great way to help your offline branding get exposure and help your online branding get a sense of legitimacy is to help them feed each other. They can lay the groundwork for one another. For instance, if you’re attending a live event, then you can attract a lot more attention and potentially engage with more people at the event by advertising it online beforehand. Similarly, you can use pictures and stories from the event to show your online audience that your business has a real-world presence, that it’s part of the industry, and meeting real people. This helps give it a certain believability instead of just being another online-only phantom.
Consistency ensures that your message has power, legitimacy, and is constantly reinforced in the eyes of the consumer. What’s more, it gives the consumer a simple answer to the question “what does your business do?” Start nailing down the core of the brand that you continue to build and expand from.