The Secret Ingredient to Brand Success
One of the greatest things about branding is that the keys to success have to be followed by businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a small startup planting your initial branding seeds, a regional business attempting to build momentum, or a multi-national organization at the top of your industry, the same keys apply — You must consistently deliver on your brand promise.
Almost all of us have heard the adage, “First impressions are everything.” This is undeniably true. I’m a firm believer that first impressions set the tone for how you are viewed moving forward, but regarding branding — your first, second, third, fourth & so on are “everything” as well.
At its core, a brand is a promise to your customers that every single time they come in contact with your product or service, their expectations will be met. What expectations? The ones created by you, your “brand promise.” A customer may try your product or service based on a referral from a family member, friend, colleague, or advertisement, but if you fail to deliver on their expectations, it may be their last.
The experience your customer has during their first encounter with your brand will set a standard, and it must be consistently met to create a repeat customer.
What Consistency Creates
Take a second to think of beloved brands here in the United States such as Starbucks, Apple, and Chick-Fil-A. What do these businesses have in common?
They have all built a “tribe,” a cult following that lives and breathe their brand, and organically promote their products & services. These companies would not be as successful or beloved as they are if they did not consistently deliver on their brand promises. Their conscious efforts have created trust and emotional attachments with consumers, and they see the fruits of their labor within their bank statements.
Steps To Ensure Consistency Within Your Brand
1. Establish a visual identity & stick with it
Take the creation of your visual identity system seriously. Your visual identity, which includes your logo, website, and color scheme makes it easy for customers to differentiate you from other businesses, and establish brand associations that will be remembered.
Once you have created your visual identity, its essential dramatic changes are not made for an extended period. Pivots will occur, but keep what you’ve established intact if possible. Over time visual identities develop triggers within the minds of consumers that prompt memories of your brand (whether good or bad) when your logo, tagline, or color scheme is seen.
2. Internal Brand Education
Make sure all internal stakeholders (leadership, sales team, interns, custodians, etc.) are aware of the elements of your brand — why your product was created, why your logo looks the way it does, why you chose the particular colors for the brand, the tone of voice required when communicating with customers, and so on.
If your internal team is unaware of the full scope of your brand, how can you expect them to champion, promote, and sell your services with confidence? Emphasize continued brand education for your team. Make it a priority, and you will see the results in your top-line revenue, I guarantee it.
3. Brand Identity Guidelines
Brand identity guidelines are manuals that explain precisely how elements of your brand should be communicated & presented internally and externally. Brand guidelines are needed to ensure your brand is consistently and accurately portrayed throughout all communicative channels; in-person, over the phone, online, digital advertising, print advertising, and so forth.
To recap, consistency within your communication, accompanied by the delivery of brand promise, will develop trust among consumers, and ultimately create brand loyalty — which will morph into organic brand ambassadorship. So when you have brand loyalists who also promote your brand with passion and enthusiasm to those they know, you’re destined to experience growth in your market.