March 4th, 2016 // Alison Pierre
Imagine if Nike had a Facebook cover photo of some unshaven guy sitting on the couch, watching TV, with dirty dishes stacked on the table next to him. But hey, he’s wearing a fresh pair of Nikes! What about that would inspire you to buy running shoes from them? Even more, how would that image push you to “just do it”? Answer: absolutely nothing. We hope.
Consistency will make or break your brand. It’s not enough to slap your logo on everything you send out. It’s visual. It a message. It’s an impression and an experience. It's in the photography you choose, the words you use, and the way you interact with your customers.
If Nike had really done something as silly as our example, they'd lose the trust and respect of some loyal fans. Luckily, the team behind Nike is intelligent. Their brand and message has been solid since 1971. It’s recognizable and trustworthy, which creates (and keeps) loyal customers around. Now that’s what brand consistency is all about!
Is your brand consistent? Use our checklist and give it a grade.
___ Logo. Does your brand go everywhere with its logo in tow? Make sure it's on your website, social media profiles, packaging, business cards, email signature, and advertising materials. Generally, your logo better be on everything you're associated with.
___ Color Palette. Your brand color scheme is the Yellow Brick Road your customers. If your website color palette is blue and orange, why would Facebook be green? Are we still heading in the right direction? Keep colors consistent so your fans don’t get lost.
___ Typography. Does your website have one steady font style, or does it look like some teenager's archaic AIM profile? Overdoing it with fonts looks cheesy. Choose one main font style (body text), along with one or two to pair with it (think headlines, menu bar links, etc.). Make sure they complement each other and are easy to read. These are now the fonts you will use everywhere.
___ Photography. What kind of photography is on your website and social media sites? People? Places? People with your product? Just your product? It seems small, but this consistency can influence your brand impression. Nike could only show photographs of shoes, but they choose to include people being active because it ties in with their brand message.
___ Website Design. Does your website visually reflect your message? If you have a brick and mortar store, do the store and the website share the same design? Apple does this well. The website and physical store both share similar clean and simple formats. If you’re only digital, make sure your design matches your mission. If a company that helps people get organized has a cluttered website design, the first impression is already poor.
___ Social Media: Profile Pictures & Visuals. When customers look you up on social media, how easy is it for them to find you? When you look up Digital Position on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, there's no guessing which one is us. Our profile picture and cover photos are the same, or similar, across all three.
___ Name & Tagline. Branding 101: Your name and tagline should be the same on your website, social profiles, and all marketing materials.
___ Brand Message. Your core message can't live and die on your website. It needs to be repeated, and even more, your brand needs to live it. When your actions support your message, customers adore you. No one did this better than REI. Last fall they stuck it to the Black Friday ritual with a #optoutside campaign. A retailer that tells you to go outside rather than come empty their shelves? On the biggest shopping day of the year? I don’t know about you, but it made me view them as a truly authentic outdoor store. May have been a bummer for sales, but genius for brand consistency. I have a feeling it'll pay off.
___ Tone. Is your brand’s tone more corporate-professional or more professional-buddy? Your voice needs to stay the same throughout your website and marketing copy, blog posts, newsletters, social posts, and beyond. If you’re fun and quirky on your website, customers who reach out will appreciate and expect the meme you attach to your email. If your tone on the website is very corporate, then that same email will look sketchy and immature.
___ Profile Name & Handles. Is your name the same on all your social media profiles? How about your Twitter handle? There’s no reason why Digital Position should have @ThatCTMarketingAgency as our handle on Twitter. No one would remember how to tweet us, let alone trust us.
___ Rate of Updates. Do you update your website, blog posts, or social media posts weekly, daily, or hourly? Do your followers know and expect this? If a weekly newspaper went, “meh, not happening this week” they wouldn’t keep any readers. If you promise to send one newsletter a month, but then flood subscribers with weekly emails, you can’t expect them to keep calm. Set a frequency and stick with it.
___ Accurate Information. Is the information correct on your social profiles, website, blog, and ads? When you're going through an overhaul of updates, it’s easy to miss things. Maybe your office moved to a new location, but your ads still have the old address. Incorrect info like this can shake up customer trust, so fact-check the hell out of everything.
___ Customer Interaction. Do you respond and interact with your customers in a way that’s timely and consistent with your brand’s tone? Interacting with customers and fans helps out your brand image, but make sure you match your responses appropriately. Your Twitter crowd isn’t the same as your LinkedIn crowd.
___ Ease of Use. Is your website easy to navigate? Does it load quickly? These may seem like issues for your web developer, but they add to the experience your customers get when they visit your site. If your website is difficult, then your brand is difficult.
Can you check off all 14 points today? If not, don’t panic. We’ve given you the checklist, now turn it into a to-do list and start filling in the missing pieces. Start a conversation with us if you’re stuck!
Alison Pierre is an SEO & Content Writer at Digital Position. Alison has a degree in Professional Writing. She is an experienced marketer with years of experience who is responsible for hundreds of articles spanning across all marketing channels.