In last week’s blog article, Miles talked about the 10 ingredients every branding strategy needs, and at the end of that piece, we offered a bonus, for pulling it all together. Today, I think an expansion on that bonus is in order.
So let’s consider this instalment “the rest of the brand strategy recipe.”
Your Brand Strategy: Mix up a Winner
If you read our last article, you already know that the 11th brand strategy ingredient, necessary for the effectiveness of the other 10, is consistency.
What does this mean, anyway? Shouldn’t there be variety in marketing? Shouldn’t your brand be thinking of new and different ways to reach your ideal clients? And doesn’t capitalising on your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) mean abandoning the ideal of being consistent? These are all real questions we’ve been asked—and they’re good ones. However, these questions do indicate that brand owners are craving instruction on the value (and meaning) of consistency in branding.
Let’s start with a brand-flavoured definition:
CONSISTENCY (noun): a steadfast adherence to the principles, values, vision, and mission of a brand, in all applications, communications, interactions, and across all media
Every brand’s goals should include becoming highly recognisable in a saturated market. This doesn’t mean that every touchpoint must be identical to the one before it; however, it does mean that every touchpoint should share the same underlying message—as communicated through colour, imagery, aesthetic, and words.
So here is the rest of the recipe; the part where you mix everything up to make something delicious:
- Step 1, USP: Determine what is different and special about your brand, and integrate that unique trait into every communication (written, auditory, and visual). Avoid coming right out and saying, “This is why we’re unique.” Instead, show it. Demonstrate it. Position it just below the surface so people can find it (or feel it) for themselves and feel vested in that discovery.
- Step 2, Values: Every brand should name their top corporate values, up front and early on in the brand strategy creation process. Then, keep those values top-of-mind through all processes and communications. Again, don’t tell. Show. You will attract clients who share those values, and will therefore “value” your brand for being authentic.
- Step 3, Visuals: One of the critical roles of your logo will be to establish quick recognition in a sea of other logos. Therefore, it should appear often, in the places where your target audience is congregating. It should also appear without inconsistencies, so that every viewing is a step toward total recall. Furthermore, we suggest that you work with a professional brand designer to choose graphics and imagery that will reinforce your USP and values by visually representing them.
- Step 4, Language: Establish a brand language in your brand strategy. Use it to converse with your team, clients, affiliates, and brand champions. Use it in written communications, as well as in audio and video. People will come to expect a particular “language” from your brand (i.e. key words and phrases), and when it’s delivered, they will come to trust your brand. They will also use those words to search for you online, which will open pathways to brand awareness and internet presence.
- Step 5, Your Appearance: This one is often overlooked; however, it can make quite an impact. Whether you’re speaking at an event, attending a networking luncheon, or planning on spending the day in the office, be consistent in your choice of clothing. If you want your brand to be known for astuteness, promptness, and correctness, then traditional professional wear is called for. If your brand is fun, eco-friendly, or highly approachable, then consider a dress-down look. Incorporate your brand colours into your wardrobe. You may even want to consider a brand scent (cologne, perfume).
- Step 6, Processes: Can your clients come to expect a particular process when signing on to your portal, when calling for support, or when placing an order? Does everyone answer the phone in the same manner? Are the email signatures of everyone on your team consistent? If not, then they should be. Design protocol that supports your vision, mission, and values…then make sure the entire team is on-board and carrying out these trust-building practices.
- Step 7, Personal Branding: It’s always a good idea to interject some of your own personality—your own story—into your brand story. And it always helps if your personal brand supports the tenets of your corporate brand. This adds to authenticity, builds trust…and brings with it all the benefits of a consistent brand.
With the help of these tips, you should be ready to whip up a consistent, delicious brand strategy.
Looking for more insight into brand strategy and what it takes to make one brilliant? Then look into our B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, a one-day, fully immersive branding experience that includes pre-course preparatory materials, post-course video support, and much more. Register today. Seats are filling fast.