How to maintain brand consistencyDecember 14 2022
Let’s start at the beginning. There’s a lot of talk in online business sphere around consistency – with branding, with social media, and working ON the business. It feels like a lot of advice to lots of everything all the time.
But social media consistency often means be active with regularity. As in, post a few times a day, 400 days a year!
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is when all of the communication, marketing and customer touchpoints of a business easily identify as, and feel like they’re from a particular business.
Imagine your business is a person. They often wear the same general colour palette or silhouette, have a particular kind of humour and you can almost predict how they will behave in different situations.
That understanding comes from the consistency.
The business always send a little extra gift?
It will be noticed when that consistency is broken.
The tone of voice is always serious and sympathetic?
It will be noticed when a random dirty joke is thrown in.
Consistency doesn’t mean regularity here. It means building a steady and familiar style of communication across everything – visual, text, video, email, advertising.
2. Why should brands be consistent?
There’s a few reasons you should care about brand consistency, but I’ll start with this one: Brand consistency increases revenue by 23% (Forbes). Consistency alone can do this! Let alone when that brand design is strategic and thoroughly researched.
Each project I do starts with a question, “What does a successful brand look like to you, tick your top 3 priorities”.
Most of the time people tick “make more sales”, so I know this is important to you. Strategic branding, done consistently will help you achieve this.
What does this magical revenue-increasing trick do?
1. Builds a sense of credibility and professionalism. A steady aesthetic communicates “steady in product/service delivery” and trust that you will do what you say you will.
2. Sets up accurate expectations for your customers. When your designer has created a strategic and well-researched brand design, it accurately communicates your company’s values, quirks, and brand personality.
3. Speeds up communication when the visuals are familiar so more time is spent digesting the text. You only want friction in very strategic ways and places.
4. Speeds up content creation. Less time creating content means more time making sales or doing money-making activities. Or save money on outsourcing by removing content decisions.
How to maintain brand consistency?
Simple, just follow the clear instructions in the Brand Book or Brand Style Guide your designer made for you! Print it out, and look at it every time you need to create something for your business. Use it when giving feedback to subcontractors who are creating content or assets for you.
If you went the budget or DIY route, here’s some basic branding decisions you need to make, and then stick to. You can even create your own Brand Style Guide based on these:
- Heading font – choose a font that reads clearly, creates the right feeling in your audience and works with your logo
- Subheading font – don’t overcomplicate this. It can be the same as the heading just smaller and all caps, for example.
- Body font – this font must be easy to read on both digital and print. This is for sections of text that are longer and not a heading or subheading.
- Primary colour – this is often a colour that’s in the logo, or the colour most-used in visuals, EDM’s, website backgrounds etc.
- Secondary colour – this can be a tone darker or lighter than the primary colour to keep it simple. If you’re confident with colour you can choose something more contrasting.
- Accent colour – for buttons, decorative elements, used to draw attention to the most important part of the graphic/communication.
- Black and white for text/contrast. There are other options, but unless you’re a designer, these will work well.
- I know this is fun, but please don’t add any more colours! And don’t change them in a week! Stick with them for 6 months.
- Social media templates – Make 6-10 x Canva templates for different post/reel types
- Email newsletter templates – make two, one for regular newsletters, one for special events/launches
- Blog page templates – If you’re blogging regularly, make 2-3 blog templates that can be filled easily.
- Ad templates – create 6-10 templates that you can test and then gradually reduce the number once you know which ones perform well.
- Email templates – for emails you send often, like during your sales/client process, write them once, then save them as a draft or as ‘canned emails’ where you can update the name and key details only. Massive time-saver this one!
- Postcard/thank you card templates – create 2-3 designs you can update quickly for different seasons, services, holidays.
- Bonus tip: Template everything that you do on a regular basis! When the templates are created all at the same time (as in all the postcards, or all the social media templates) a visual language will start to show and your brand personality will begin to shine.
From a designer’s perspective, we can see when people DIY branding, partly because they change fonts and colours every few weeks or more! If you stick with a simple colour palette and font system for 4-6 months you will see results.
Once you build that familiarity and expectation with your branding, consumers will start to make decisions more strongly. Strong decisions mean clarity, loyalty and feeling understood.
It takes about 3 months for new marketing to cycle through and starting generating change, so hang in there around the 6 week mark when it feels like it’s not working. This is normal.
It really is this simple! Our basic animal brains are always looking for the easy path, and brand consistency makes every easy for our customers. I’m excited for you and the results you’re about to see!
Candice is the founder of Design Salad, a strategy loving design studio helping climate-consious women business owners shine brighter than ever before.
Design Salad specialises in thoughtful brand strategy and unique brand identities infused with artistry.
Need a hand creating a strategic brand to achieve those goals?
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