You’ve heard it again and again: Be Consistent.
In order for your brand to be recognisable and trustworthy, you must put out the same messages, demonstrate the same values, and make and keep the same promises over and over.
This shows consumers that you’re committed to your brand and they will feel confident, knowing what to expect from it…every time.
However, you’ve also heard about brands needing to be flexible; that brands need to evolve in order to stay relevant.
So what’s the story?
How are you to know when to move and when to stay put?
This can be a touchy subject—one fraught with decisions.
I’m here to help you with those decisions; to give you some guidelines you can take with you whilst building and maintaining a brand that is consistent, yet evolutionary.
Consistent AND Evolutionary: A Brand Formula
For today’s brand builders and marketers, it’s important to understand that the world around us is in a constant state of evolution. What applied last month won’t necessarily apply tomorrow.
Knowing and accepting this means that you’re ready to use your brand’s promise, mission, vision and values (its constants) to adapt in ways that keep your brand current, whilst staying relevant to your target audience’s needs.
Here are a few examples of elements that are most likely to affect your brand’s evolution…and some advice on how to strike a balance between change and consistency:
- Changing Demographics: Political views are making a progressive shift. Members of the middle class are no longer an overwhelming majority. The definition of family has grown to include any number of relationship configurations. Women are taking on leadership roles in what could be called a gender revolution. Geographical areas are becoming more culturally diverse. The definition of a “hard day’s work” is changing to include the arts and related vocations. In the past, it was easier to pigeonhole people—to determine what they were thinking and feeling just by looking at their age, gender, living situation, occupation and wage. Now, more research is needed. More questions need to be asked. More insight and open-minded listening is required.
- Technology: This is probably the most obvious one. Just as you feel you’re “up to date” with the latest technological developments, you’re suddenly “behind the times.” What’s a brand to do? And how can a brand do it without throwing its audience into a whirlwind of confusion? You must cherry-pick those technologies that will directly benefit your brand, its operations and its ideal customers. If a new technology will not make your (or your customers’) journey simpler, more enjoyable, more productive or more profitable, then it has no place in your brand. Jumping on every new technology that comes along will muddy your brand’s waters and cause uncertainty about your brand’s purpose, message, promise and more. Use technology to better your customers’ experiences, not to exhibit your savvy.
- Global Opportunities: If you’re thinking that you have no business being in the global market because your brand is a small one, you’re wrong. We are living in the age of global connectivity, when you can get a message to someone in China, Brazil, Canada…simultaneously. Many locally based SMEs are discovering that their ideal customers aren’t in their hometown, but instead, on the other side of the world. If your brand is going to do business internationally, that means it will have to change a few things about the way it communicates. There will be language barriers, cultural differences, variances in the meaning of colours and distinctions in ways of selling, buying and doing business. Your challenge will be to adjust to these geographical and cultural differences, whilst remaining true to your brand’s values, mission and vision. Don’t fret too much about this: If you choose an audience that is a perfect fit for your brand, then you will only need to change superficial brand attributes…whilst keeping your brand’s constants intact.
- New Niche Markets: You can be sailing along, comfortably nested in your industry…when along comes an uber-focussed brand that changes the way consumers look at your brand and others like it. The last thing you should do is adjust your brand to directly compete with this new niche brand. The first thing you should do is re-examine your brand’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and determine how you can highlight it to either contrast or out-perform this new addition to your industry. It may be in your brand’s best interest to expand into this niche in the future; however, I suggest you wait to see how the niche performs before deciding to directly compete.
Your brand can have its “norm”…in fact, I insist upon it. However, it is imperative that you keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on in your industry and in the world. There will be some shifts that do not affect your brand. There will be others that, if overlooked, will leave your brand in the dust.
Know your brand, know your ideal customers, know your market…and you will instinctively know what changes are necessary to your journey as an evolutionary brand.
Are you feeling stuck, uneasy about how to elicit change whilst staying true to the core of your brand? With the right advice, you can become a consistent brand-builder AND an evolutionary change agent. Join us for an upcoming B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, in which I will share the three strategies I used to not only take my company from £0 to £18,000 in just 12 weeks, but how I keep How to Build a Brand consistent AND on the cutting edge.