Every day we encounter different brands in different aspects of our lives. However, we often take them for granted, and the details behind their marketing efforts go unnoticed. Their imaging remains the same, so it doesn’t appear they are changing their marketing tactics, right?
Companies work very hard to maintain the same branding and brand image, which is why we assume those companies will always be there, providing the same services and the same products at the same quality.
This is all the result of brand consistency.
A brand – defined by the American Marketing Association (AMA) as a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” – is crucial to maintaining and creating awareness about a company. It is what sets a company apart from its competitors, and it is also the defining representation by which a business is recognized.
Imagine walking into a Starbucks only to be greeted by loud music, brightly colored décor, no seating, and no Wi-Fi. One would feel out-of-place, as if they were not in a Starbucks at all. But why is that? Brand consistency!
Brand consistency is not just about the use of logos or a company name. While it is important to use these in any branding strategy, a company also needs to understand the experience of their brand. That is, how people interact with their company and what they expect from their products or services.
If we sit down and think about what Starbucks has to offer, we can most likely list what our expectations are quickly. Starbucks prides themselves on being a place where individuals can relax. They can meet and interact with others and work productively, all while enjoying various kinds of specialty drinks. Rarely do we have the conscious expectation that when we go to Starbucks, we will listen to soft music, have a place to sit, use their Wi-Fi, and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. But once those subconscious expectations are not met, we feel disillusioned with the brand.
Great branding is about the consistency of a brand as a whole. Thinking about the experience consumers have when they interact with a company’s brand is important to understanding how one’s brand is perceived. That perception can make or break a business.
Maintaining a positive brand image and keeping it consistent will allow customers to trust a business and return to their products or services time and time again.