Time and time again when I see ‘businesses’ posting content on social media that has no brand identity or consistency, it makes me cringe. I question whether they are a legitimate business at all. Now, that’s from the perspective of a marketer.
However, admittedly there was a time when I too was just starting out in this field and was the same. I had no idea how to deliver the Give Me Marketing brand message in line with my brand identity, its values, or my digital marketing strategy. Over time, I decided that in order to get my business to where I wanted it to be, it was critical to prioritise developing my core messages, visual branding and other brand elements and exposing my target audience to them frequently and regularly to solidify brand recognition.
Put simply, the practices I had to put in place to make this happen included focusing on three elements:
- Sound: Using the same tone of voice in all my communications (written and verbal), and ensuring the tone is right for my business
- Sight: Presenting my brand logo and other visual branding elements in a similar style, repeating the same colours
- Touch (Customer Experience): Delivering a consistent and positive customer experience to build trust and confidence in my brand through all my customer touch points
All these things helped ensure my brand was more easily recognisable across all my marketing channels and lead to improved brand recognition.
Two Essential Ingredients You Need to Easily Implement Consistent Branding
It did take a while to figure out what ‘ingredients’ I needed to implement brand consistency and I now have a simple two-ingredient recipe that will help you replicate my results, at least to the point where you can ‘put your creation in the oven to bake’, and how it comes out really depends on how much care and effort you put into the process.
Ingredient 1: Graphic Designer
Instruction: Outsource the graphic design
For the longest time, I was trying to wear all the hats in my business. Once I decided that it wasn’t worth my time trying to design sub-standard graphics myself when I’m not a trained graphic designer, things started going a lot more smoothly. I found freelance graphic designers to do the work for me instead and paid them for their time which freed up my time to work on other aspects of my business. I used the likes of upwork.com as well as my own network to source people with the skills and style that I needed to create visual branding elements for my Give Me Marketing consultancy.
Ingredient 2: Brand Style Guide
Instruction: Create a brand style guide and make the assets readily available
Yes, we know there are so many factors that make up a brand and ensuring consistency across every aspect is such a daunting task. My solution to this was to create a brand style guide to define the brand elements and branding rules for Give Me Marketing. This was to keep everyone on my team including myself on the same page and my marketing materials and messaging on-brand. No, you don’t have to be the size of Apple, Nike, or Samsung to need a branding style guide. All these businesses were once smaller than they are now, but creating consistency across their branding helped them get to where they are now.
Here’s an example of the GMM brand style guide which includes the brand’s colour palette, fonts (including when and how they’re used, such as for certain headings), photo and imagery styles. In addition to this it can include any other information that your team needs to know to maintain consistency such as brand voice and copywriting guidelines.
Making a brand style guide means this information is readily available for team members or external communication partners to review and understand approved assets for marketing purposes. We have helped many organisations create one and can help you too. You then place the style guide in a digital asset management/document sharing system such as Dropbox to make them accessible to those who need it. Having a brand style guide also prevents people from recreating assets without brand consistency in mind.
Remember, brand consistency is a must for any company that wants to build brand recognition and foster familiarity and trust with their target audience. Without it, your potential customers won’t recognise your brand, they won’t link your brand with positive emotions, and they won’t have confidence that they’ll have a consistent experience if they choose to engage with your business.