Branding is so much more than just your color palette and logo. Branding is every interaction that a customer has with your company. Your website, advertisements, and even the way in which your staff presents themselves come together to be your brand identity. The choices you make must be intentional since they impact the customer's perception of you. As many as 60% of customers switch brands due to an inconsistent experience. As in all relationships, surprises and inconsistencies make you feel uneasy and that is not something you want with your clients.
What is the importance of consistent brand identity?
You want people to see your brand as trustworthy and reliable. This type of positive association comes when you convey a united and uniform front. Achieving brand consistency means that consumers recognize your brand whenever they encounter it. When you go to McDonald's you get the same customer service, the same product, and you see consistent imagery in every location. Years of this consistency have fostered a sense of security and trust with every customer.
How do you maintain brand identity?
Maintaining brand consistency is all about remaining persistent in a few different categories. It's the combination of these categories that makes your brand feel like its own entity. All companies should identify specific brand guidelines which are a set of rules for the building blocks of a brand. The main things to consider are personality, color, logo, typography, and imagery.
Your brand should feel human so it needs to have its own personality. For example, a law firm will be far more serious than a toy store. Personality should be the basis for all your other branding decisions. It affects how you will approach color, fonts, imagery, and so on.
There are a few ways to approach color but ultimately it should be trying to remain in line with the chosen personality. Monochromatic will work best for minimalist companies trying to appear trustworthy, it will also be the easiest to maintain. Analogous palettes, colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, allow for more room for creativity and convey a more energetic and friendly brand. The tones of your color will reflect how energetic and lively your company is, high end fashion normally opts for muted and serious color palettes to attract the right kind of high-end customer. Color is one piece that will touch every part of your branding so the decisions here should be very intentional.
Your logo is a symbol or graphic representation of your brand. It is the first impression, separates you from your competitors, and is the foundation of your brand identity. Consumers make judgments very quickly so having a good logo that speaks volumes of your company in just a few moments is paramount.
Think about the logos you can recall off the top of your head. You are probably seeing things like Apple or Walmart. These logos have remained consistent through time which makes gives them brand awareness, a priceless asset.
The typefaces you use, like color, should continue the story you are trying to tell based on the personality you have picked for your brand. Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman or Garamond, are more traditional and should be used for respectable and serious brands. Sans-serif fonts like Helvetica and Future are used in modern and clean designs that are more direct and contemporary. Lesser used fonts like slab serif, handwritten, and script fonts are more dramatic and off-beat which can be used in very niche industries. For example, Comic Sans should be used only in kindergarten classrooms, no exceptions.
Imagery can be photography, illustrations, graphics, and iconography. These are the visual elements used to add depth and variation to the brand. This is usually where brands tend to become inconsistent. Up until now, we have been talking about the bottom-level building blocks that everything else is built on. Imagery however is more complex and needs a lot more rules to abide by.
All of these categories need to be present in your brand identity guidelines to make a robust and usable brand identity.
What are the benefits of consistent brand identity?
Consumers prefer to do business with companies they feel familiar with. They feel they know what to expect because you have already shown you can be consistent and deliver exactly what they expect. They feel like they know you and are then more at ease. Consistent branding also sets you apart from the competition. Just like every person has a different sense of fashion or presents themselves in different ways, every unique brand says something different. In the global economy, does your brand stand out? Your brand represents you and the goal of branding is to stand out from the countless other organizations out there.
Quite often, companies underestimate the importance of good branding but establishing a good base only helps to attract better customers and build brand loyalty. If you need assistance building a strategic and consistent brand, we'd love to help share your story.