No-one ever asks, “I wonder what this bottle of Coca-Cola will taste like?” We just know.
Why do some brands lead the market, whilst others follow? `How does a brand end up becoming one of the most potent commercial and cultural forces on the planet?
Get under the skin of these brands and ask yourself how and why they have become so powerful and there will be a large number of factors and drivers behind their success. But none will be so powerful as that of consistency.
As media platforms and channels become even more fragmented, consistency has emerged as a key source of competitive advantage. From your brand’s look (logo, colours and typography), to your message (value propositions, vocabulary and tone of voice), and your relationships (customer service and experience), brand consistency needs to be maintained at every level.
Consistency of Purpose
“Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.”
A brand means something to people when it has a core business purpose. This is the brand’s promise, distilled and expressed in the simplest, most single-minded terms – a single word or phrase that is to be your guiding ethos, driving your value propositions and shaping your business culture. It’s the central point from which everything radiates. For Volvo that purpose is ‘Safety’, for Harley Davidson it is ‘Liberating’ and for Disney it is ‘Magical’.
Consistency of Values
“Trust is maintained when values and beliefs are actively managed. If companies do not actively work to keep clarity, discipline and consistency in balance, then trust starts to break down.”
Your values reflect how your business shows up and operates in the world. These are the shared beliefs that drive culture and priorities and provide an essential decision-making framework to guide everyone connected to the brand every day. Building a consistent brand is therefore about staying true to your values – always. It’s the foundation of dependability and trust.
Consistency of Actions
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”
When your brand is acted on consistently by every person at every touchpoint, every minute of every day, it will give you the opportunity to:
• Stand out in the market
• Create a cause through having a core purpose
• Increase customer recognition
• Evoke positive sentiment with customers and influencers
• Build customer confidence, trust, loyalty and advocacy
• Shape how people perceive your organisation
• Re-enforce key messages and identity
• Adopt a more integrated approach to your marketing
• Connote dependability and stability
• Convey your outlook and attitude
• Eliminate brand confusion
• Turn engaged employees into brand ambassadors
• Deliver an enhanced customer experience
• Ensure clarity, without having to constantly re-invent the wheel
• Gain production economies
• Boost your brand equity and company value
As the list of advantages shows, brand consistency doesn’t have to be limiting, boring or static. You just have to look at some of Coca-Cola’s campaigns over the years to see that.
But the market doesn’t stand still. There are also perfectly valid reasons why you may want or need to evolve or change your brand and rally behind a new flag: strategic repositioning, meeting the needs of changing markets, an outdated image, further development of the corporate identity or a change of name or business ownership. The main thing is that when you have made that important decision, you then apply that high level of consistency to your brand right from the start.
A brand is the sum total of the impressions and experiences that customer has with you at every level. Make them consistent. And make them count.