A consistent brand identity should run through your business like wording through a stick of rock.
And not just in terms of look and feel, but in ensuring that your firm’s actions embody its values, and in delivering services and products that live up to your marketing promises.
You will only achieve this if all your touchpoints are recognisable as representing your brand. Arguably most important here are your marketing assets and communications materials – often the first things prospective customers see.
When it comes to brand, consistency is the watchword. But why is it so essential?
- Because it helps your prospects and customers recognise you.
- It stands you apart from your lesser competitors.
- It allows people to identify your products and services, and actively seek them out.
- It reinforces your brand values.
- It supports the investment you have made in the visual elements of your brand – your logo, imagery, fonts and other visual assets.
Look at some of the world’s leading brands. They may cut across sectors, but have one thing in common; they guard their brand identities fiercely.
So, how do you ensure all relevant parties recognise, execute and support your brand policy? How can you make sure your brand is consistent?
How to achieve better brand consistency
You may not be one of the biggest global brands, but can you still hope to optimise your approach to brand consistency? Fortunately, yes. A more consistent brand can be a challenge, but it’s certainly not out of reach. Read on for our tips …
- Communicate the benefits of brand consistency internally
All too often, brand standards and guidelines can be seen as limiting creativity and stifling originality. In fact, consistency is brand-enhancing, not brand-limiting. Get this across to your internal teams and you will gain their buy-in to a more consistent approach to brand assets. Reinforce the point that consistency amplifies your brand’s strengths while deviating from it compromises them.
- Make the marketing team the biggest brand champions
Start with your own team. Ensure everyone in the team understands and unfailingly sticks to your brand guidelines. There are no excuses for inconsistencies from the marketing team when it comes to brand compliance!
- Develop clear and well-communicated brand guidelines
All firms need a brand handbook. It needs to be clear, communicated and easily accessible – giving people across the business no excuse not to comply. Your marketing team should be able to point people to your brand handbook and explain how your guidelines translate into practice.
- Make all your brand assets easily available
Best practice marketing asset management is essential for a consistent brand. Too often, if people can’t find the assets they need – logos, imagery, colours – they will ‘go rogue’, creating off-brand materials rather than seeking out the right answer.
Remove this temptation by making sure everything they need to be brand-compliant is at hand. Many firms have found that software solutions can help here, incorporating artwork creation, editing and approval tools to enable easy production of brand-consistent materials. Some can even store on-brand templates, allowing users of any skillset to edit documents and customise your own catalogue of brand-compliant artwork. As a result, recreating materials on-demand becomes foolproof.
- Everyone needs to be responsible for your brand
You also need to make it clear that a consistent brand is the responsibility of everyone in your firm. It’s not clever to be a brand saboteur. This means brand training for anyone who produces client-facing materials. And support needs to come from the top of your organisation to make sure your message is taken on board.
- Consider whether you need a brand guardian
Although everyone has a role to play in brand consistency and compliance, some firms have found that appointing one person with overall accountability for championing and policing brand standards can help. A paper published by brand agency Brand Remedy ‘, Why brand guardianship matters more than ever’, argues that having a designated person in this role can be invaluable: ‘The discipline of brand guardianship is ensuring that your visual brand is consistently applied, everywhere’.
- Have a robust sign-off process for marketing collateral
Enforcing a consistent brand means rigorously checking all marketing and comms materials before they’re published, for on-brand design, tone of voice and so on. This can be a labour-intensive task, but it’s vital if you want to ensure that nothing non-compliant slips through the net. Again, specialised marketing software solutions can help here, giving you the ability to store pre-approved images and wording and to mandate sign-off from designated individuals.
Brand consistency – an important but achievable goal
Hopefully, this has given you a quick overview of why brand consistency is so important – and some of the steps you can take to improve consistency in your own marketing communications materials.
To read in more detail about branding in financial services specifically, where many consumers view the market homogenously, and therefore branding can be particularly important, you can download a free copy of our whitepaper on financial services branding.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.