Brand Consistency: Reinforce, Rinse, Repeat
If you approach me about your brand, my first action is to assess your brand positioning. Nothing else matters. I want to see how well you understand your customers and how well positioned you are in their minds.
Once we establish a powerful position, we need to reinforce that position with brand consistency. Typically this is called brand governance but I really don’t like that term.
Consistency reinforces your positioning. It is everything else related to your brand. All the things that you’ve come to believe a brand should be:
The smell of the office
The sound the car door makes when it closes
After positioning, this is the most common area that brands fail in. All the brand guides, strategic documents and meetings mean nothing if it isn’t implemented.
When it comes to making branding decisions, you only need to ask yourself one question:
“Does this reinforce my brand positioning?”
If it doesn’t, then you don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.
No decision should be pardoned from this question. From choosing a brand colour, to developing a marketing strategy, to deciding whether or not you should launch a new product and what you should call it.
Nothing is void. Consistency is simply the reinforcement of your positioning. If it doesn’t reinforce your position, do not do it.
Sounds simple right? So, why do so many businesses fail at this?
It’s not all that different to trying to eat healthy.
We have every intention of burning fat and eating healthier. We start the new diet and even join a new gym. We have a plan in place.
You start off strong and diligently follow the prescribed health plan. That is until you’re at a family gathering and your Mum makes your favourite dish. Or perhaps you’re at a restaurant and you see the table next to you order the chocolate cake. Emotion takes over and we begin to derail.
We are emotional beings. Emotions allows us to experience this life to the fullest. But basing our decisions off of our emotions is a detrimental habit for both our personal lives and our businesses.
When a client wants to launch a new product line, I like to find out the reason why. It may be that they’ve seen an opportunity in the market, and are excited to capitalise on it before their competition does. Maybe their competitors are already succeeding in this area and they want to jump on the bandwagon, suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
It’s clear to see that we are motivated by emotions, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What matters is that we stop and look at the situation through a logical lens and ask ourselves “does this reinforce my positioning?”.
The tricky part is that if the answer is “no”, then you need to let it go and stay focused on the strategy that’s been laid out before you.
I cannot overstate the importance of consistency and how much potential it holds to hurt or help your brand.
Clear brands are successful brands
If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that one of my favourite sayings is “clear brands are successful brands”. But what does it mean?
Confusion is the enemy of branding. When a customer doesn’t know what you do, or what you specialise in, then you are unmemorable. That is why business coaches are always urging people to focus on a niche. Yes, the total market size might shrink, but you now have an opportunity to begin the expert in that niche, and serve a group of people who are passionate about that same niche.
Humans have a short attention span, so if your message is unclear, then we will struggle to remember it. Even if we wanted to. I see it all the time driving around town. Trades workers driving in their vehicles which have been wrapped with the company branding and messaging. Every single one is plastered with bullet points of all the services they offer, a phone number, website address, email address, maybe a tagline.
How is anyone supposed to remember any of that, especially whilst driving? If you were the only trades worker in town then yeah, that would work a charm. But considering there’s at least 46,000 technicians and trades workers in Brisbane alone, I would say you need to do something else if you want to be remembered.
When a potential customer sees 10 of those trades workers vehicles on their drive to the office, there is no chance of them remembering any of them. They get lost in a sea of mediocrity.
Now contrast that typical trades worker with a truck that drives past that says “MR DRIP - WE FIX TAPS” in big bold letters. It’s not creative at all. No poetic tagline and big fancy words. But is there any confusion about what they do? Are you confused about what benefit they provide to you? I don’t think so.
There is a higher chance of you remembering MR DRIP over any other stock standard plumber with their generic, serve everyone approach. Their message is clear and easy for us to remember.
But what about market share and turning a profit? How can MR DRIP make money by just fixing taps? Because he doesn’t just fix taps. He does all things plumbing. His messaging is simply an idea that he planted in our minds (positioning) and though it may have only mentioned tap repair, the customer can put the rest of the puzzle together. When they have any plumbing problem there is a high chance that the brand they will remember first is 13 DRIP.
This is a perfect example of positioning and consistency working together. One cannot work without the other.
MR DRIP will no doubt get tempted to promote other services if he has a fear of missing out and being left behind. If he was my client, I would advise against it. Put aside the emotions and stay focused on the strategy.
If you’d like a free brand health check to determine the strength of your brand’s positioning and consistency, click here to apply for one of our free Diagnosis Sessions.