With the advent of digital marketing, online shopping and easy shipping from anywhere in the world, consumers now have more choices than ever when it comes to spending their money. For some companies it can be tempting to pull out all the stops in an attempt to attract customers and keep them.
But after all, what consumers want from brands isn’t all that complicated, and it doesn’t have much – if anything – to do with being razzled and dazzled by flashy gimmicks. Consumers want brands that are trustworthy and dependable. And besides actually being trustworthy and dependable (admittedly good first steps), the best way brands can demonstrate they have those qualities in our digital age is through consistent branding.
“The best way brands can demonstrate they are trustworthy and dependable is through consistent #branding” – Click to Tweet
What it’s all about
Branding is everything that goes into an organization’s identity and how it is perceived across all platforms. While branding includes visual components such as a logo, website color scheme and font choices, it also encompasses all communications from the organization, from slogans and taglines to blog posts right down to the comment an employee sends on Facebook when solving an issue for a customer.
An organization’s branding is an opportunity for that organization to decide how they’re going to be positioned in their industry and how they’re hopefully going to be known by their market. Is it going to be a fun, fresh organization? A company that gets the job done when no one else can? It’s all up to the branding. (Also, you know, working hard to maintain that reputation you build. One thing at a time though).
How consistency pays off
Consistency in branding is essential for everything from instant brand recognition to developing long-term relationships with customers. When a brand has a consistent presence across all digital channels, it increases brand recognition, which is what keeps that brand at the forefront of a person’s mind when he or she is considering a purchase. Brand recognition is often how a relationship between a brand and a customer begins.
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That relationship deepens as a brand’s customers and audience feel as though they know what to expect from interactions and experiences with a brand. This consistency in branding develops that all-important feeling of trust the same way providing dependable products and services does. It also helps customers feel as though they know a brand on a personal level, which transforms what may have started as a practical relationship between a customer and a brand into an emotional one. As many marketers already know, purchasing is often more of an emotional decision than a practical one.
It may sound like a complicated process, but there are a few tips that companies can use to ensure they inspire that trust that benefit the bottom line.
Tip #1: You spent time and money on your visual branding, so use it
Studies have shown that a company’s website has about eight seconds to make an impression on a visitor. When it comes to grabbing attention on social media or through email blasts, it might be even less time than that. That means all the snap judgment aspects of branding have to be on point, and that means the visual aspects. No matter what sphere your brand is appearing in, it needs to be instantly familiar.
Your website is likely the cornerstone of your digital marketing efforts, and since it’s the space that allows for the most visual branding, it’s the channel from which all other digital visual branding should stem. Your logo and slogan/tagline are a must across all digital channels, and other details like color schemes, font selections and product or service imagery can be echoed where it’s possible to do so. This will make your brand immediately recognizable and bring up the associations that your branding has hopefully achieved.
Tip #2: You’ve found your voice, so speak with it
A big part of your overall branding is understanding who it is you’re appealing to. Having a firm grasp on who your target audience is will dictate what kind of communicational tone and messaging is most appropriate for your brand. Once you’ve found this ‘voice’ – which you likely already have – you simply need to make sure that voice is being used across all of your marketing channels.
It doesn’t need to be identical, for instance the voice used on Facebook and Twitter may be more casual than the one used on LinkedIn or for blog posts published on your website, but at its core it needs to reflect the qualities of your brand, whether that means fun and quirky, authoritative and experienced, or anything in between. This is how customers come to know what to expect from your brand and begin to see it as dependable and trustworthy.
Tip #3: You know the marketing channels that make sense, so go there
Not every business belongs on every digital marketing platform. For instance, a colonoscopy clinic can probably skip the Instagram account, and a bouncy castle emporium may not need a major presence on LinkedIn. Tip #2 already discussed understanding your target market or audience, which assuredly you do. Use that knowledge to determine where that audience is most likely to be, and concentrate your efforts there.
Not only is spending time and effort on platforms that don’t mesh with an organization’s market or marketing a waste of that time and effort, but it may even come across as wildly off-brand, leading people to wonder if that organization knows what it’s doing and therefore undermining the dependability it needs to achieve.
“Spending time and effort on platforms that don’t mesh with your brand isn't only a waste of resources, but it may undermine your brand” – Click to Tweet
Tip #4: Your offline efforts are important, so make them count
As much as digital marketing efforts are all integrated, so too are offline or more traditional marketing efforts. Your brand should provide one continuous, consistent experience, no matter where it is being represented. That means physical marketing materials like signage, packaging and brochures need to have the same visual branding as digital channels, and over the phone or in-person customer service should strike the same tone.
It’s about creating one seamless, dependable experience for customers, no matter where they are or how they’re interacting with your brand. This makes your brand a natural choice when it comes to purchasing online or offline.
Consistency truly is key
In an age where a brand can interact with customers in so many different ways, becoming dependable is as much about branding as it is about actually delivering reliable products and services. With a good branding foundation and a focused effort on consistency, consumer trust can be easily earned and maintained. It turns out having no marketing tricks might just be the best marketing trick of all.
by Rob Cohen on February 21, 2017
As Creative Director at Penguin Strategies Rob leads Penguin's clients to marketing success by creating visually appealing content that attracts and engages users to the brand and message of each company.