Marketing strategy is meaningless if there is no why. Intentional decisions regarding how you present yourself and your company are crucial to building a trustworthy brand. But, what exactly is “branding?” We all know a good brand when we see it, right?
Branding is a big buzzword these days – and it’s important to clarify that branding is more than just a slick logo. The term encompasses everything (literally, everything) your company is (and in some respects, is not). Here’s a great way of putting it from a great Hubspot blog on brand strategy:
“Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name. In fact, your brand is much more than that – it’s the stuff that feels intangible. But it’s that hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates powerhouse and mediocre brands from each other.”
Obviously, yes, a well-designed, visually appealing logo is an integral part of what makes consumers recognize a brand. But, a lot of successful branding relies on those intangibles mentioned above. Does your brand have a clearly-defined, strong voice? What does it tell your audience about you or your company? Does your branding uphold your the personality, mission and vision of your organization or business? Does it convey the connotation or attitude you’re looking for your audience to walk away with? Is it all cohesive, and just feel like it works?
Think about these questions. Does your brand feel successful? Are you confident you’ve built something trustworthy and withstanding? Whether it does or it doesn’t, a huge part of answering these questions boils down to branding and consistency.
According to this blog (also from our favorite, Hubspot!), the “first rule of building a strong brand” is consistency. Presenting a consistent identity to your audience helps to foster a sense of trust with consumers. And that trust can be your biggest asset in building an easily recognizable image. A company that presents itself inconsistently ends up appearing unprofessional, disjointed, and worst of all, untrustworthy.
Consistency starts with coordinating your visual assets, yes, but it also includes making sure your brand voice is defined with all parties and departments on board and up to speed. For example, let’s break down how a few key roles can work towards branding consistency.
- Copywriters should be well-versed in best practices. Having a unique perspective and range of voices keeps your audience interested, but there’s a fine line between variation and writing that’s downright inconsistent.
- Social media managers should be focused and mastering a few key platforms that benefit your brand, rather than too many channels, which can detract from your messaging.
- Designers should have access to all assets and all visuals and content should maintain brand standards set by a formal visual guide (sometimes called a brand style sheet).
Working towards consistency in your branding may seem like an uphill battle. And it should be a slow climb! Carefully crafting a brand and really digging into the “Why are we doing things this way?” or the “How does this influence our consumers?” and the strategy behind it all takes time. After all, good things take time!
We’ll end on this note with a piece of advice from North Star Marketing’s great blog on brand consistency… “Build equity in your brand by being consistent.” We promise it will be worth it!