Implementing and maintaining an omnichannel marketing plan often means coordinating multiple moving parts into a well-oiled machine. When you’re working within that machine that involves existing and potential customers seeing emails, landing pages, blog articles, social, and more from your company, consistency is crucial. That consistency is found by establishing a brand and maintaining consistent branding across every channel customers will come into contact with your company: online, email, in person, and over the phone.
Branding is how you communicate to your customers who you are. If done correctly and implemented consistently, imagery can remind consumers of a brand without their name even being on the ad. The icons inside logos from national companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Target are easily recognized to the point where Target can just put the bullseye on a store and people will know what it is. If you see a dark green billboard with white text and a picture of a coffee cup, chances are your first thought is Starbucks. Walking into either of these stores, you’ll come to expect the excellent service you’ve been trained by consistent branding to expect. Examples like this are exactly why creating consistent branding should be a priority for your company.
By using the term ‘consistent branding,’ we’re not talking about creating a logo and putting it on everything you use to market your small business. A good brand is based on who the company is and who they want to appeal to. Companies looking for customers that are Millennials and Generation Z would do better to avoid old-school stuffy fonts like Times New Roman or Arial when developing a branding strategy. Pulling together this information can sometimes be tricky from the inside. Working with a digital marketing agency means working with experts who can look at the big picture and refine your branding with you.
Once you have the key of who you are and who you want to talk to, create a brand guide that outlines everything from the color scheme and fonts to the tone of advertisements and how you want to be perceived by your customers. Keep in mind, brand consistency means also training your team to be on-brand and consistent with the experience you want your customers to have every single time.
#1: Brand Recognition
Remember the examples above where we discussed Target and Starbucks? This is a critical part of small business marketing called brand recognition. You want someone to immediately think of your brand when they need whatever solution you’re selling and being consistent with the imagery you present helps increase the chance of memory recall. The best way to create consistent branding is to build a branding guide and have someone in charge of enforcing it, like your digital marketing agency or an internal person who doubles as the marketing lead. When building your guide, consider:
- Tone: How do you want to be perceived? Serious, lighthearted, friendly, relaxed, and trendy are a few options
- Logo: What image do you want to associate with your brand? Windows, for example, is a multicolored windowpane along with the operating system name
- Color Palette: Different hues evoke different emotions. Blue is calming; red invokes feelings of power, passion, and love
- Imagery: What style of images do you want to use? Should they be younger or older, outdoors or inside, happy or sad?
- Fonts: Just like color, font style can set the tone for the brand. Some fonts are better suited for whimsy, while others are great for a more serious tone
- Slogan/Tagline: If you have a slogan, it should be short, to the point, and memorable. Some classic examples include Nike’s “Just Do It!” or even Staples’ “That was easy.”
- Experience: What is the experience you want customers to have from the minute they pick up your ad? If they’re expecting one thing and receive something different, whether they’re interacting on the phone, email, or in person, that can turn people away from your business.
#2: Trust and Consistency
Brand consistency helps build trust with your customers. Why is trust important to your small business? Because customers who trust your business will do business with you again, and again, and again. Break that trust and you could lose them.
There’s a reason customers attach to specific brands, and trust is at the crutch of it all. People will choose to pay more at Target, for example, because they trust their return process and experience in-store. Phoenix-local eateries like Postino or Zinburger were able to grow quickly because they were able to deliver a consistent, on-brand experience for customers repeatedly.
#3: Differentiating Your Business
Marketing is about more than telling customers what you have; it’s showing them why they should use your business and not your competitors. Your brand differentiates you, in the mind of potential customers, from every other business out there that also sells your products or services. How do you want to be known? What makes your business special?
When you create your branding to showcase who your company is, it’s important to drive that message home again and again through brand consistency.
If you’re ready to take your company to the next level, consider working with a marketing agency that can help fine-tune your brand, who you’re targeting, and how to reach your goals.