Part 2 – Delivering an Inconsistent Brand Experience
Can your target audience easily recognize your company’s brand? Whether they are viewing your organization’s website, reading a print advertisement, or scrolling through social media, do they have the same brand experience?
Think about some of the most iconic brands in the world. What visual elements do you easily associate with their brand? Does a certain company come to mind when you see the colors red and yellow? What about when you see a swoosh symbol?
Developing a consistent experience is crucial for building brand awareness. As a company, it is important not to confuse customers and have them question what brand they are interacting with. In fact, research from Advertising Week shows that having a consistent brand can increase revenue by up to 23%.
Let’s dig into how you can set your company’s brand up for success by transforming inconsistent interactions into a consistent brand experience!
Signs of an Inconsistent Brand
Branding is more than just your company’s logo – it is important to consider everything your organization delivers as a reflection of the brand. Some key elements to consider outside of your company’s logo when creating consistency include:
Color: What are your organization’s primary and supporting color palettes? Are you incorporating these colors in your company logo, social media graphics, and print advertisements? Can your target audience identify your organization’s brand by its colors?
Fonts: Evaluate the fonts your organization uses in marketing materials. Do the fonts accurately convey the tone of your company’s brand? How many different fonts are used.
Supporting Design Elements: Does your organization’s visual brand include supporting design elements like icons, lines, shapes, or texture? How are those elements integrated into your materials
Brand Voice: What is your company’s brand personality? When your organization speaks to members of your target audience, is the voice uplifting, educational, or humorous? Can your target audience easily identify your brand’s social media posts, advertisements, and blogs based on your style of writing?
To determine if your business makes the grade when it comes to delivering a consistent brand experience, ask yourself this. If the logo were removed from your company’s advertisements, would viewers recognize the piece as your brand? If the answer to this question is no, then your company may be delivering an inconsistent brand experience.
An inconsistent brand makes it harder for companies to gain recognition, awareness, and retention in their prospective customer’s mind. A consistent brand’s visibility is 3.5 times higher than an inconsistent brand, according to Brandly. If everything coming from your organization visually aligns with your overall brand, then your materials are working harder for your business.
Consider the following tips when developing a consistent brand experience!
Use the Right Images
It is no secret that visuals draw the attention of your target audience. But did you know that images can also aid in information retention? When a relevant image is paired with information, the viewer can retain 65% of that information three days later, according to HubSpot. From brochures and flyers to video content and social media graphics, it is crucial to choose the right images when designing visuals for your organization.
Consider a brand that values authentic experiences. It would not make sense for them to use cheesy stock photography that feels phony to their audience. For example, if your shop is light and bright, avoid dark and dramatic photos.
Take the time to thoughtfully select images that will not break away from your company’s brand experience. You want your audience to focus on the overall message and not be distracted by wondering why a visual seems out of place.
Create a Visual Hierarchy
When designing any visual communication, it is crucial to prioritize the main message. At GRIT, we often use the phrase, “If everyone is screaming, no one can be heard.” If everything is big, bold, and highlighted, then nothing stands out.
A visual hierarchy allows the viewer’s eyes to be drawn to the most important information first. This is important because most of your audience will only spend a few seconds looking at a piece. According to Medium, people only view digital ads for a median time of 0.7 seconds!
With such a short amount of time, it is essential to create a visual focal point. Ask yourself, what would you want your company’s target audience to take away? Prioritize that message and allow enough clear space for it to be heard. Use the same hierarchy across all marketing materials to continue building consistency.
Avoid Designing According to Trends and Fads
Trends can be fun to follow, but they are not going to last forever. Imagine spending a considerable amount of time, effort, and money updating your company’s brand visuals according to the latest trend. By the time you are finished, that design fad could already be viewed as outdated.
Instead of spending time designing based on what is currently popular, focus on being authentic to your organization’s brand. Every element of a visual brand – colors, images, fonts, etc. – should be based on thorough research to develop a personal identity for your business.
Also, constantly changing your company’s brand look creates a confusing experience for your audience. The marketing rule of 7 states that potential customers need to have seven interactions with your brand before they take action. Consistency and repetition are key! Your organization’s visual brand should include consistent elements that allow your audience to easily identify it as your company’s each time they come across it.
If you want to participate in trends, social media is a great space that allows for flexibility. Be smart with which trends you choose to participate in by capitalizing on those that naturally align with your company’s brand.
Start Paying Attention to Details
What is the secret to creating consistency across all materials? It’s in the details! Once you have dialed in the look of your organization’s overall brand, start paying closer attention to the details to elevate to the next level.
Communicating your visual brand goes beyond the marketing materials. Review the not-so-obvious elements of the brand. Are team members using the same fonts in their emails? Create consistent email signatures so those outside your organization can easily identify your company’s brand.
How do you refer to your brand? For example, we only refer to ourselves as GRIT, never Grit. Get employees on the same page about important details that are used to communicate your organization’s brand both internally and externally to create consistency.
Taking the time to focus on the details enhances your company’s visual brand consistency and gives it a sense of professionalism.
Achieve Brand Consistency
If there are inconsistencies across your company’s brand, make it a priority to work with your team to strive for consistency across your organization.
Identify a Brand Ambassador: Consider naming someone within the organization a brand ambassador who will lead the efforts.
Perform an Audit: Review all your company’s marketing materials – advertising pieces, newsletters, social media content, website, proposals, and business-related communications – and find the common inconsistencies. Identify the worst offending pieces or those with the most impact and prioritize improving them first.
Create a Plan & Implement Brand Standards: Develop a plan to implement clear, achievable brand standards into materials so everything is aligned. Provide guidance and assets to the internal team to encourage implementation of the new brand standards on existing and new pieces.
Review for Consistency: Have the brand ambassador review new materials for consistency to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Get Support Developing Your Company’s Brand
Whether your organization is in the beginning stages of brand development, ready to build a presence beyond just a logo, or it is time for a visual refresh, creating a consistent and effective brand that stands out in a crowded marketplace takes creativity and strategy. As an award-winning integrated marketing communications agency located in York, Pennsylvania, our team of marketing professionals and graphic designers have years of experience helping clients of all sizes across an array of industries bring their brand to life.
If you are ready to create a consistent brand experience that connects with your audience, get in touch with our team today for support. Then, be sure to stay tuned next month for part three of The 7 Sins of Marketing blog series, which will determine if “more is always better.”