If you’ve just purchased a business, you’re probably eager to get started putting your own unique stamp on it. But before you do, make sure you consider your messaging and the importance of maintaining consistency in the brand you’ve acquired. Whether you’re sticking to an existing business model or developing your own, brand consistency should be a priority.
Brand consistency increases the value of any business and those that stand the test of time share one commonality — consistency in design and messaging. According to Spellbrand, Beretta, Twinings Tea, The New York Times, Tiffany & Co. and Mercedes-Benz top the list of brands that have endured for many years. In Beretta’s case, the gun manufacturer — and its well-recognized trident logo — dates back some 500 years.
While the consistency of repetition may seem boring as a new business owner, it will actually ensure you’re getting the most traction for your marketing and sales efforts, and reinforce your spot in the marketplace. Incongruent or inconsistent branding, on the other hand, will convolute your message, confuse your customers, and ultimately detract from your business. If you want to attract high-quality, long-term customers, consistency is crucial.
Consistency also helps you establish a strong core foundation from which you can methodically grow your brand and your business.
Not just for your customers
It’s important to remember that brand consistency isn’t just about your customers. It also benefits your business internally. Managing change in a newly purchased business is important, too. Changing your messaging frequently necessitates retraining of staff, and amounts to lost time and efficiency. With consistency, everyone on the team will know what to expect and that will result in your business operating more smoothly.
In order to be truly effective, brand consistency must permeate every aspect of your business, from marketing and messaging through customer contact and product delivery.
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The following elements are integral to successfully maintaining brand consistency:
- Define your message
However you express your brand message, make sure it exemplifies your company’s core mission and values. The next step is to align your company’s behavior with that message to build trust with your customers. If you’re inconsistent or inauthentic, you will quickly lose trust in your marketplace.
- Display consistent, impactful design
The visual impact you make with clients is arguably your most important brand element. Think about the recognition of some of the brands mentioned earlier. Like them, you want your customers to instantly recognize your company by its logo and other imagery. Doing too many different things can be confusing to customers and damaging to your brand. Be strategic and thoughtful in your design, and once you’ve nailed it down, vary little from those design elements. Another benefit of consistent design: it will help your company legally secure its brand assets and prevent other companies from copying or reproducing logos, taglines, website addresses, and social media handles.
- Maintain consistency in tone
The best way to reinforce the message you’ve defined as integral to your company is with a consistent tone in all of your outward communication and customer contact. No matter how you’ve decided to position your company — helpful, authoritative, etc. — make sure your tone always reflects that. Your customers should know what tone and demeanor to expect, with little variation.
- Be rhythmic in your delivery
No matter where you’ve chosen to deliver your message to clients — through a newsletter, blog, or social media — there should be a cadence to it. Your delivery across channels should follow a rhythm on which your customers come to rely. For example, subscribers to Bon Appétit magazine’s website know they can expect a new recipe via email several times a week. They come to expect it and look forward to it.
- Make consistency a priority from the ground up
Every touchpoint in your business can impact brand consistency. Make sure that top-level marketing managers aren’t the only team members focusing on this. Instead, recognize that every employee in your organization can impact your brand. Empower them to do so by making sure they know the core message and mission of your company and can accurately and regularly promote it to customers. Every employee in your organization should be fluent with its taglines, social profiles, logos, and graphics.
Reinvention doesn’t equal relevancy
As a new business owner, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you must constantly reinvent your brand to keep it relevant. The most popular brands with the longest histories prove time and again that this isn’t true.
If you’ve acquired a business that was doing it right, then keep up with its best practices. And once you’ve found your sweet spot, stick to it with little variation. That is not to say your company can’t grow and change, but with a solid foundation in place, it can do so methodically and to the benefit of your business.