Creating and Maintaining A Consistent Brand Image
A brand identity defines who a company is and what it represents. In a sense, it’s a company’s personality.
But how do you develop a brand identity? What is the key to taking this crafted personality and instilling it within consumers and the industry as a whole? It’s one important factor: brand consistency.
It All Starts Internally
A consistent brand helps to boost a company’s value by reinforcing its position in the marketplace, attracting more consumers and heightening the perceived value of its products or services. While most business owners tend to believe that a brand identity is only created through external marketing, a brand identity is actually solidified and enhanced through its closest, most valuable assets: its employees. While a company could have the world’s best marketing team preaching to its consumers, it is up to a business’s employees to deliver on that promise.
While a company could have the world’s best marketing team preaching to its consumers, it is up to a business’s employees to deliver on that promise.
Employees interact with and promote a company on a personal level on a daily basis. They are both the first and most impactful impression of a business, and every interaction or form of communication that an employee shares with a potential consumer is an attempt to instill or reinforce a company’s brand identity and its values. So, as a business builds its brand identity, it’s important to consider internal operation and company culture, in terms of how they impact the brand experience.
Strengthen and Support the Brand’s Identity
Best Buy has built its brand internally, with employees who consistently support its mission and its values. And beyond that, Best Buy has established consistency across all aspects of its identity. Think about it. When a consumer walks into Best Buy, he or she instantly sees a person wearing a blue polo, and then quickly assumes that the individual is a Best Buy employee. Why is it that most consumers subconsciously jump to that conclusion? Where else is this color captured and displayed?
The answer: everywhere.
Best Buy is keen on keeping the consistency of its blue and yellow color scheme across all of its platforms: its logo, its signage, its social media channels and on its employees’ clothing. This consistency becomes engraved in consumers’ minds—enabling blue and yellow to become memorable, and to actually become Best Buy.
Building a Brand Identity From the Ground Up
To be successful in building a brand, a company should focus on instilling its identity across all mediums. To get started, think about the style guide. How can one integrate those aspects into each level of the business?
To be successful in building a brand, a company should focus on instilling its identity across all mediums.
Then, consider the employees. Remember that every interaction between a customer and an employee is a chance to instill a brand’s identity. Brand installation occurs during any instance of communication— in-person interactions (either at the store or on the job site), company phone interactions, and through written interactions (letters and emails). Any area where inconsistencies can be eliminated is an opportunity to strengthen the brand. The more unified and consistent the brand is, the more memorable it becomes.
Create a unified way to answer a company phone call, and then have employees greet in-store customers in a similar manner. The greeting should be specific to the company but unique to the industry. Of course, be sure to keep the greeting in the brand’s tone of voice.
Create a unified way to answer a company phone call, and then have employees greet in-store customers in a similar manner.
Create a letterhead that all letters and printed documents must be printed on, too. Generate an email signature that all employees must use and adhere to when sending out emails. Ensure that the signature can be personalized with each employee’s information, yet still remains cohesive. This ensures that all employees are in sync, across the board, so that each customer experiences a similar and equally satisfying interaction.
Create company shirts and uniforms that are appealing and recognizable to your brand. The shirts may focus on the company’s slogan, or it may focus on a color that easily associates and identifies with your brand. Have employees wear these uniforms to job sites and in the store. Customers will soon begin to identify that color with the business, and then eventually with the business’s specific services or products. Having employees wear the brand helps to solidify the predominance of the brand within the customers.
Eliminating Branding Inconsistencies During On-site Interactions
If your brand requires on-site services, have a detailed checklist or a specific list of questions that each employee must touch upon while interacting with the customer. The questions must be concise, clear and in-line with the brand’s overall tone. When there is an outline that each employee must adhere to, it generates a unified experience and satisfaction across the board, regardless of which employee is on-site providing the service.
Pick a Name (And Stick to It)
Rebranding occurs often. Employees and customers grow accustomed to the formality of a business. Rebranding may lead to a change in the company’s name and a whole lot of confusion. To avoid this, ensure that all employees adapt to and refer to the company by its newly branded name, only. Reference to the brand’s old name or by internal acronyms of the company will cause inconsistency in the brand’s title, thus causing confusion for consumers and, ultimately, damaging the efforts to successfully rebrand the company within the community.
Substitute Inconsistencies for Success
Any area where multiplicity can be removed from employees’ interactions with consumers, and inconsistencies can be removed from the brand’s identity, is an opportunity to create a more unified, consistent brand. The more consistent the business is, the stronger the brand identity becomes. This, in return, makes it more recognizable, memorable and successful. It’s a win, win.