The Importance of Being Consistent With Your Brand

Being consistent with your brand

One of the most important things – actually, THE most important thing – you can do for your business is to create and maintain a consistent brand.

What exactly is a brand? It’s a name, image, term, sign, symbol, shape and even color (or a combination thereof) that not only identifies your product, service or business, but sets you apart from your competition.

Think Coco-Cola. Is there a more recognizable brand on the planet, with its distinctive bottle shape, typeface and red-and-white image? Also consider Nike, whose swoosh image is so familiar that you don’t even need to see the company name to know what the product is.

Of course, most businesses haven’t been around 1892, like Coco-Cola, which has had well over a century to get its brand right. And while Nike is a relative newcomer on the scene, having been launched in 1971, it too has lessons that can help us improve our own brand recognition and consistency.

Let’s first look at Coca-Cola. The Spenserian script used in the logo was the way people wrote in the mid-18th century and that logo has changed very little in the last 100 years.

cocacola branding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for the most part, neither has the shape of the bottle:

cocacola branding1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice, too, that not only did the logo remain virtually unchanged over the last century, but the color scheme as well. The Coca-Cola brand is worth $173 billion.

The Nike swoosh was created in the early 1970s by a graphic design student and although the colors change virtually with every product, the unique shape has remained the same. Its brand is worth $49 billion.

The key element to take away from these examples: Be consistent. Decide what you want and stick with it. It worked for Coco-Cola and Nike – and it can work for you, too.

But picking a color and shape and type face is the end result of your branding efforts. The first step is figuring out your passion and purpose. Passion and purpose are the foundation of your business, and help you make the important decisions on how to portray your brand.

As Howard Schultz of Starbucks put it, “…the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign.”

Fully understand and describe your dream – the heart of your business. Write down your passion and purpose. Print it out and prominently display it. And consider these other components of consistent branding before you move on to the creative side of your brand. 

  • Inspire loyalty. If you want to stay in business for the long haul, you have to get and retain customers. It makes good financial sense; depending on which source you consult, keeping existing customers costs between 4-10% less than getting new ones. And while competitive prices are important, brand loyalty comes when people feel good about doing business with you.
  • Be consistent. So many new businesses out there seem to change their name and their brands like they change the sheets on their beds. This is what happens when you don’t have a clear purpose in mind. Create your brand and stick with it! And make sure all your messages – in your blog, on social media, in advertisements and on your website – have that same consistent brand message.   
  • Evolve. Sounds like the exact opposite of the previous item, but it’s actually an important part of maintaining your brand…and your customer base. You want to listen to your clients, and change to meet their changing needs. That can be done within the overall structure of your existing brand by making subtle adjustments and small tweaks. For example: Let’s say your market is Baby Boomers who are now reaching retirement age. Accommodate their changing physical conditions by bumping up the size of the type on your marketing materials and website.
  • Offer solutions. Address your customers’ pain points. They care less about how you go about resolving their issues than they do about getting those issues fixed. Write down what issues you help them resolve, and keep distilling that message until you have to a few words that best describes your brand.
  •  Engage. More than ever these days, with social media and other user-generated online content, building a consistent brand means being engaged with your customers. How do you do that? You pay attention to social media (your own and your competitors’). You call them. You send emails or, even better, a hand-written card expressing how delighted you are to be able to serve them. You participate in your community and you give back – however that looks to your business, and in a way that supports and advances your brand message.
  • Involve your team. What happens when you’re out of the office? Do your team members (a) know your brand and (b) exemplify it even when you’re not around? Make sure you communicate your important brand messages, and how you expect them to interact with others.
  • Align your brand with your business practices. If you’re all about simplifying your customers’ lives, be sure your website is easy to use and your pricing structure is easy to understand. If your brand identifies with environmental best practices, don’t just recycle, but use post-consumer recycled materials in your packaging, stationery and shipping materials. If your market is the elderly, be sure to have employees available to carry packages to their vehicles.

What branding challenges are you facing? Please leave a comment below.

 

30 Comments

  1. Agree!  And the coke and nike brands are infamous.  Do you know of any smaller businesses that are using a consistent brand logo, slogan etc?  I can't compare myself to the likes of these giants!  great job and thanks for the reminders we are unique!  P

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    • Patricia, those are some great places to start with. And while they are indeed giants, it's always interesting to see what they are doing so that we can incorporate that into what we do (if it fits into our vision). My advice would be to find similar people in your particular industry/niche and see which ones resonate most with you.

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  2. Great article. It is fun to see how the big brands have evolved.

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    • Yes! They are very inspiring brands, right? =)

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  3. Love this post Edmund!  I loved the Quote you shared from Howard Schultz, I agree with it 100%. 

    Thanks for sharing!

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    • Glad you like it!ย 

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  4. This is so good!! I am going to come back and read this again. I am in the process of rebranding to focus exclusively on my upcoming book and my message. It can be confusing, yet I'm guessing it should be kept simple. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

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    • ‘Simplicity is beauty’… that’s what they say, so I think you should go for it! Good luck on your rebranding!

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  5. That was really neat to see the evolution of Coke. I'm in the process or rebranding myself and I really want to have a logo that sticks that I can keep consistent. Going to have to come back to reference this during the process. Great post!

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    • I’m glad this came in handy =) Good luck on you rebranding!

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  6. Cool to see the growth of Coke. Great post!

     

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    • Thanks you!

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  7. Great article as always, Edmund! God knows that I've had my share of branding issues! I've changed my look several times in my 13 years of being self-employed. After taking an extended break last year, I utilized the time to refocus and change the direction of my business once again. This time will be the LAST! I'm quickly getting back into the swing of things and realize the importance of being consistent! In a sense, I'm starting over with my existing audience but the results have been very good so far! Fingers crossed!

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    • I hope you got it right this time, Melissa! I’m wishing you all the best and success for you business! =)

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  8. Totally agree Edmund.  Consistency is key. Great article with lots of helpful information.

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    • You’re very much welcome!

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  9. Being consistent with your branding is critical! Loved the article with lots of great tips.

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    • Thanks for appreciating it!ย 

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  10. Branding is a tough thing. You want to be consistent and yet you also want to give yourself room to grow and change. It's a tightrope, for sure. Maybe the thing to do is develop a personal brand, so if your business model changes, you still have your core brand — you — which would make any transitions easier. 

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    • Very well said, Jackie! ย You nailed it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  11. Well said Edmund, I get it that branding is important because people tend to move towards the things they recognize and know. Coke was a great example and I liked your point that when working with a team and your out of the office the message looks consistent when posted by others.

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    • Yes. You got it, marita! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  12. I had our own DIY member Elizabeth Maness help me with my blog and branding.  If it's too much for you, hire someone awesome!  ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I agree! You can always ask help from someone, especially from a professional ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  13. I have a question. I would love my "brand" be more recognized, maybe it is and I don't know it. However, I am told my personal name is also my brand, as is my real face image. I have a great iconic image as part of my social media brand, it doesn't always make the connection to social media until you understand the tagline I have! I tie that in as often as I can. I should do that more, I think. So many levels of branding goes on sometimes, it is hard to be consistent. It is a good thing though to be consistent.

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    • Yes, in any case, you want to be as consistent as possible, and often times, simplify the message as much as possible.

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  14. That's awesome. Back in my advertising class, I had to do a report on Coke.. it was very interesting how it started and transpired. But the point of your blog… great ideas and principles. Thanks Edmund!

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    • You’re welcome!ย 

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  15. Great article Edmund such great tips! I am dealing with this exact thing right now!

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    • Thanks! If there’s anything that you want to ask or if you need assistance, you can always inbox me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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