In terms of customer communication, brand consistency can be defined as the way you speak with your audience and deliver messages across all channels your brand is using: email marketing, SMS, web pushes and mobile pushes, YouTube TikTok, etc. As suggested by the term, such communication should be consistent which means you need to stick to a certain established pattern your customers would expect from you through your conversation.
So what are the basic components of brand consistency?
When it comes to consistency, brand voice is what many marketers face challenges with most often. Of course, it's no rocket science to include your logo in each message, but brand voice goes way beyond design alone. It's the established communication manner and the general mode of your messages. Depending on your brand and product, it can be official, neutral, casual or friendly. Companies that sell bags and accessories for teenagers will have a communication approach different from the one used by financial establishments, airlines or marketing platforms. B2C companies tend to sound more friendlier and approachable while B2B platforms would rather prefer a more official language.
Compare two following pieces and answer: which one is taken from the email of the casual clothes provider and which one is written by the luxury resort?
Our up to 25% off outerwear sale is so hot that you might need those special eclipse glasses just to scroll through it. I'm not sure, and I'm too scared to try - but I suggest you give it a go and let me know if it's as amazing as I imagine it is.
Get a taste of the island life in total safety. Reconnect with nature as you discover St Barths' magical hidden treasures. Recharge your batteries with beachfront spa treatments or wellness experiences in the new yoga deck. This season introduces two lavish new suites and a gorgeous guestroom on the top of the rock.
I bet you guessed upon a glance. What made your decision so quick and easy?
If you look at some reputable publishers like the New Yourker or the Guardian, you'll see that their articles always follow a particular style, no matter what authors or editors contributed to them. You don't need to see the credits to know that this particular piece is published by the Economist or National Geographic: you know it from the way the text is structured and organized. I'm sure you'll also be able to differentiate between ads, Facebook posts or emails by McDonald's and Burger King, even without their logos attached.
Good to know, a distinct brand voice isn't a privilege of giant enterprises only. I'd recommend taking a look at how such brands as GORUCK. Chubbies, Patagonia or BarkBox manage their customer communication to see that originality isn't defined by the company size.
Unfortunately, with more and more same-like startups emerging on the market, today we can see many of the so-called "blands"- companies that are the same in both the product and their communication formula. And although this strategy can be valid at the very beginning while the interest to the new company is sparkling, it won't benefit brand recognition and customer retention.
So the earlier you start designing your unique brand voice, the more advantage you'll have over your faceless competitors. The first step to do so is answer the following questions:
Who is my target audience?
What differs me from competitors?
What are my values?
What use do I provide to my customers?
Once you've ready with the answers, use them to build a communication strategy you'll be sticking to across all the platforms. Apart from making you look professional and trustworthy, such consistency would generate you more customers. According to 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust, customers' trust in the brand increases proportionally to the number of channels they use: 66% report that they would trust the brand that uses one channel and 97% say they would trust the brand that uses 6 channels.
Brand consistency by GORUCK: One campaign promoted via Email, Instagram and Facebook
Corporate design should make a powerful combo with a brand voice. No matter what messages you send to your audience, make sure they feature corporate elements that contribute to brand recognition. At basic, these are
Social media icons and contacts.
Take a look at the below examples of a birthday email and web push. Yellow is the corporate color of the brand so it dominates the email and is present in the push. A logo, images, CTA, and separator they are all done in yellow. Both images also follow one concept: apart from delivering the same offer (10% off with a promo code), they feature the company logo, the same image, company name and even the same button text.
Email and web push with the same design elements
Consistent brand design doesn't mean, however, that you need to send out 100% alike copies only. What it means is that when seeing your messages, people should straight link them to your brand. And if you send via many channels, your messages should sound and look as created by one brand and not by several copywriters or marketers from different departments.
This task is easy to achieve if you use a multichannel marketing platform, for example eSputnik, Omnisend, etc. that enable to run marketing in several channels. You can manage all your templates within one system and easily adjust them to one style.
What's also important to make your brand design not only consistent but also recognizable and identifiable is a unique feature that will be typical of your messages only. For example, GORUCK that I've already mentioned put a picture of the dog Monster (brand's mascot and President) at the bottom of every email. Mahabis always use one font for all messages and never use capital letter in their copies except for CTA. And emails by Chubbies are always written in the first person and in their unique manner combining humor and wit.
Examples of emails with unique design features
You might be a brand with roots in Special Forces. You might be a brand that has been fighting for prohibition of tests on animals. You might be the first brand to add a product category for people with special needs. Whatever your philosophy, make it flow seamlessly through your messages. There is no need to stick it out every time you write a couple of lines though. Be consistent, not self-praising.
What's even more important, you need to live to the values you proclaim. If you are an eCommerce supporting recycling, your website should have a separate category of products made of recycled or reused materials. If you are an educational platform supporting women all around, you should host events or webinars on women's rights and movements aim to enhance equality.
Just writing about what you plan to do is not enough. You should actually make a difference. According to the Edelman Trust Report, 53% of consumers say they expect brands to be involved in at least one social issue that doesn't directly impact their business. And such social consciousness can determine their purchase decision and brand trust.
Also, make the right choice of what you support as a company. Social mood, movements and fashion are liquid and can take the opposite direction in no time. If you have new beliefs every month and just follow the general agenda, your customers will feel it. And remember for a long time. If you don't feel like supporting the current state of affairs, just don't. There is not need to intentionally enforce values that don't relate to your brand personality.
To sum up, brand consistency is essential for your business for many reasons. It builds brand recognition, generates trust in your product, enables your company to stand against competitors and creates a more satisfying shopping experience that eventually converts into profit. The form and content of your customer communication should be the same across all platforms. This way, people would see you as a unique brand with its own philosophy and concept rather than just another commercial passer by.
Iuliia Nesterenko is a technical writer at eSputnik. Her focus is on exploring current digital marketing trends and describing new strategies for email marketers.