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Brand Consistency for Online Retail: How to Boost Sales, Revenue, and Profit

May 28, 2019 / by Tina Eaton

Nearly 25% more in profit.

That’s what brand consistency could mean for your business.

The unfortunate reality is that far too many companies lack brand consistency. When Lucidpress and Demand Metric surveyed over 200 organizations, they found that less than 10% felt their companies were failing to present a consistent brand narrative while nearly 90% felt doing so was important to the success of their businesses.

Part of the issue seems to be execution. While 95% of organization have created some form of brand guidelines, only 25% reported that those guidelines are consistently used. Nearly two-thirds of companies shared that materials are always, often, or sometimes developed without using brand guidelines. 

This is a recipe for confusion in the market. 

When you fail to build a consistent brand, you miss out on generating leads and nurturing sales. Customers need to first connect with your brand and feel that it is authentic and worth their investment. 

Building a consistent brand is all about developing trust with customers. If they feel that your brand is consistent, customers will be more receptive to it as they will associate it with commitment and quality. 

Let’s dive into some specific strategies you can put into place to ensure brand consistency in your company and secure greater profits.

5 Key Approaches for Keeping Brand Consistency Aligned

5 Key Approaches for Keeping Brand Consistency Aligned 

There is no single formula for ensuring brand consistency. 

Every brand is unique, operates in a distinct market and requires different strategies to get their branding right.

That said, there are a number of general branding practices that can help your brand attract and convert customers:

1. Develop and Deploy Your Brand Guidelines

Your brand guidelines should breathe life into your brand. They should communicate your company values (more on this below). 

This should be the go-to resource in your company when employees are determining what acceptable and effective use of your brand looks and feels like. 

While brand guidelines will vary significantly from company to company, here’s a broad idea of what they should entail: 

  • Mission, Vision, Values
  • Company motto/slogan
  • Company name
  • Design guidelines
    • Logo designs
      • Include specifications for placement in different channels (social media, etc.)
    • Typography
    • Color schemes
    • Image and photo styles
  • Copy guidelines
  • Examples
    • Strong use of the brand
    • Poor use of the brand 

In terms of putting this guide into action, we suggest ensuring that each employee has digital access as well as a paper copy so there’s no excuse for poor branding on the team.

If you’d like to take a peek at an example for inspiration, check out Mozilla’s branding guidelines here.

2. Focus Internally If You Want External Results 

Focus Internally If You Want External Results

It’s easy to forget about the internal customers of your brand: your employees. 

They will determine whether your customers experience your brand voice as intended. To get this crucial employee participation, you’ll need all hands on deck. From marketing to HR, you need to build a strong, brand-centric corporate culture in order for your branding to truly reach customers most effectively.

You need buy-in from your employees when it comes to your brand.

To achieve this, your company might consider a few of these strategies:

  • Offer branded items (“swag”) to employees nurture brand loyalty
  • Create guidelines that spell out each department’s role in supporting the brand voice
  • Develop onboarding and training programs that include the brand values
  • Nurture and empower specific employees as brand ambassadors

Remember that in order for your customers to experience your brand as consistent, your employees must deliver it as such. You’ll need a strong process in place to secure their buy-in and ensure their effective delivery of the brand, it’s just that simple.

3. Design Your Content With A Focus On Brand Consistency

Your content is the vehicle for your brand. It delivers your brand to your customers.

You get to choose the paint, the tires, the type of gasoline, and all that good stuff. So choose wisely, always keeping in mind your brand voice. 

Here’s how to do that in a structured way:

  1. Keep your brand’s voice/tone, logo, and design elements consistent across all channels
  2. Ensure employees have easy access to branding materials
  3. Design a content calendar with topics that enhance your brand’s strengths
  4. Merge online and offline marketing experiences
  5. Link your brand to aligned influencers that help you broadcast and reach customers
  6. Get the sales and marketing teams to partner on a unified brand playbook
  7. Choose channels and platforms that are aligned to your brand identity and customers’ preferences

These days, it’s omnichannel or bust.

Making sure that your presenting your brand in the right way, in the appropriate channels, has never been more critical. The same goes for reducing silos between departments in your company while integrating among internal and external stakeholders to ensure brand consistency—it all helps to keep your brand tight in the eyes of the customer.

4. Move Slow And Steady As You Evolve Your Brand 

Move Slow And Steady As You Evolve Your Brand 

You probably don’t think brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, or Apple are stale.

A big part of their success has been their brand consistency. A steady mix of creativity rolled out over time with a dash of highly-aligned brand content at every step along the way. 

From the first day you begin building your brand guidelines, you’ll want to follow some high-level strategies similar to what these mega-brands have practiced:

  • Develop a clear vision about your brand.
  • Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Have one brand voice and spread it throughout your branded content.
  • Stick to your brand guidelines strictly. (Why else spend so much time creating them?)
  • If you make changes to your branding, do them slowly and methodically.
  • Constantly evaluate the impact of your branding on customers.
  • To the extent you can, don’t shake up your team too radically. (This helps with brand consistency)

5. Make Your Company Values Come Alive In Your Branding

This is the hardest part.

Making sure that on every platform, your brand is performing in a way that is aligned to your company values.

From tweets and shares on Facebook to t-shirts and press releases, the creators and disseminators of your brand should always be looping back to your stated values as a company. This is how trust is established with customers.

A good start is to ground your team in the values your company was founded upon. This happens during onboarding but should be woven throughout the content creation process at every point that branded content is going out the door.

Next, it’s important to consider the value your company provides for customers. More important than even how your branding makes them feel is the perceived and real value customers feel like they’re getting from your products and services. Conveying that real value through your branding should be a consistent goal. 

Lastly, values are a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition. Here’s a great example:

Make Your Company Values Come Alive In Your Branding

Source

Communicating what you stand for as a company and the value you bring to customers should be a key goal as you pursue consistency in your branding.

Brand Consistency Isn’t Easy, But Getting It Right Is Worth It

Recognizing that inconsistent branding can cost companies dearly (and that many companies are not keeping their branding aligned, there’s a huge opportunity out there for companies that nail brand consistency. 

Your branding could be the difference between capturing greater market share or fading away behind the competition. 

Whether it’s brand guidelines, internal culture around branding, or developing all content with your brand voice at the forefront, there’s a great deal your company can do to ensure brand consistency while satisfying customers along the way.

In this increasingly omnichannel world of ecommerce, it’s a big job. But it can be done. Go forth and brand consistently!

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Tina Eaton

Written by Tina Eaton