You know you have an effective brand when you’re making money, right?
-Unfortunately, this is incorrect.
It’s easy in this technology-driven age to create blog posts, advertisements, e-books, surveys and more to get recognition for your business. But to be considered an expert in your market and to stay there begs the question, “How do I keep my brand consistent?”
First, be aware of what your customers are noticing:
Clarity – The distinct value you’re offering must be clear to your customers
Trustworthiness – Your brand promises must be kept, and potential customers must also have a positive experience.
Quality – Quality of service is extremely important, whether it is the product or the service you offer.
Uniqueness – Communicating your distinct value to your potential customers. If they can get it elsewhere, why would they choose to pay your price?
These are the givens that must always be present in every aspect of your business, hence the term ‘brand consistency’. Presenting a quality service with transparency, being unique, and providing your distinct value makes your product more valuable. Your market will pay your price over others’ brands who remain inconsistent.
Of course initial branding cannot, and will not, take care of itself. Often business owners work tirelessly launching a company, using tried-and-true business strategies, but fail to follow them through. Processes become routine, slogans become worn and out-dated, markets change requiring brand refresh….notice the paint peeling off the walls?
That’s what happens when a brand is built and not fueled or tended.
Your branding strategy can be compared to a potted plant in the following analogy. You plant the seed; you wait and watch until the new growth pops out of the soil. You diligently take care of that plant, nurturing it, giving it nutrients and water, and feel proud as it grows into something close to medium-sized. You put it under a tree in the garden. After all, it is bigger now and you’ve provided some shelter for it. However, now and then you forget to give it water. No problem, it still looks good from a distance. Several months or years go by, you remember your plant and run outside to see a disappointing sight. That plant is literally the same size it was before, It didn’t grow!
Brand consistency isn’t only branding across all platforms once, but consistently holding focus groups with your clients, retargeting your market in new and exciting ways that align with your brand, analyzing your competitors and creating campaigns to be different, to offer a better service. These tactics don’t have to cost much to your business if you can afford creativity, although accepting that brand consistency is not free is the first step to success.
Here are some thoughts to help you refocus, and to step into brand consistency confidently:
What is your mission, what makes you unique and why are you doing business?
Communication and teamwork is key for effective branding. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your team can help build your brand.
Develop a set of guidelines your brand and market lives by, a 5 commandments of do’s and don’ts and stick to them.
Don’t cut corners in branding only to reduce your budget.
Remain authentic to your brand and your market because after all, you should be providing a service to them.
Keeping your brand consistent means you must deliver your promises, listen to your customers, provide the space for feedback to find out what’s working and what’s not. Most importantly, be open to constructive criticism.
Build trust and loyalty with your customers while maintaining your brand standards, and continue to excite the market with innovation.
We can never say we’ve done enough, never give up. The actor, Jimmy Smits had a good saying about his industry:
“There are no right and wrong ways to work in this business, but there are some basic common-sense practices. Work very, very hard and always be prepared; never give up; and once you get the job, give them more than they ever expected – Shine!”