What is Brand Consistency?
Brand consistency is the process of continuously following through on your brand promise, brand mission, and overall brand strategy across every brand touchpoint and marketing material so that consumers have the same brand-specific experiences repeatedly.
Over time, these experiences become ingrained in the minds of consumers, and they’re more likely to remember your brand.
Efficient brand consistency requires a high degree of repetition, a small degree of variance, and consistently enforcing the boundaries around your brand system.
The process of learning takes time.
If consumers only see a brand once, they cannot memorize it.
That’s why repetition is the foundation to build a consistent brand.
Why do brands need repetition?
Brands need repetition because consumers need repeating experiences to memorize a brand.
Consumers need experiences that they can anticipate and classify.
With a high degree of repetition, customers of a brand always have the same experiences, which led to their positive preconception in the first place.
At every point of contact, they have these experiences.
By consistent repetition, you confirm their positive preconception again and again.
Moreover, to ensure repetition, consumers need to experience a brand many times.
How Many Contacts Does Repetition mean?
A great many. And by that, I mean a hell of a lot!
Times, when the “Rule of Seven” by Dr. Jeffrey Lant (“You must contact your buyers a minimum of seven times in an 18-month period for them to remember you.”) applied, are long gone.
Today’s internet-driven world of content-centric marketing requires a lot more times where consumers can experience the same exact brand over and over again.
Consumers need repeating experiences to remember a brand.
Being consistent doesn’t mean that your brand can’t change.
It’s possible to evolve and fulfill customer’s expectations at the same time.
Let’s see how it works.
Should brands not change at all?
In the context of a brand, repetition never means stagnation.
Brands may develop new products, new services, or even change their overall appearance (although a redesign doesn’t make sense in most situations).
However, there is one condition that every change to your brand must fulfill:
With every change, the unique and unmistakable shape of your brand must remain consistent.
That’s why you should manage your brand as a consistent system.
Only in this way you can ensure that everything you do makes your brand stronger by the day.
What’s the best ratio of change and variance?
It depends. Every brand should have a distinct amount of repetition and a unique amount of variance.
That’s why the ratio of variance and repetition varies for every brand.
So every brand is somewhere in between changing everything and changing nothing at all.
- Change everything: consumers cannot develop a positive preconception, and there will never be a customer base
- Change nothing: consumers will never develop any social attraction to the brand and will perceive it as being uninteresting
By looking at these two extremes, you can tell that every brand should be somewhere in between (strongly in favor of repetition).
As the person in charge of managing your brand, it is your job to identify the right ratio for your brand.
Whatever the right ratio might be, depends on your brand.
Once you are aware of the System of your Brand with its brand-typical ratio of variance and repetition, you will be able to strengthen your brand effectively.
You should never make unchecked changes to your brand.
The more consistent consumers perceive your brand, the more they will desire it.
However, there are more benefits to a consistent brand.
Predictability satisfies the longing for unity, which is in our human nature.
This desire grows stronger as our world becomes more complex.
Brands know how to use this longing through their uniform appearance.
Consumers know what to expect from a consistent brand.
That gives them security because they don’t have to be uncertain about the behavior they have to expect from a brand.
That makes it much easier to trust a brand, and so it comes that consistent brands gain loyal customers with ease.
Consistency always involves the differentiation from other brands.
A Consistent brand holds a clear point of view that hardly changes over time.
That makes it much easier to differentiate a consistent brand from other brands.
Brands cannot and should not please everyone.
While poorly managed brands try to please everyone, strong brands accept that there will be consumers in the market who would never consider buying them.
As a result, strong brands have customers that love the brand, while other consumers hate the brand.
Also, isn’t it better to have a polarizing brand than one that everyone finds decent?
Without differentiation, there is no brand. Brands thrive on differentiation.
3. Increase in efficiency
A precise knowledge of the specifics of your brand enables you to make much faster decisions.
As a consequence managing your brand becomes much more efficient.
You can skip lengthy coordination processes, in which everyone in the meeting promotes their opinion, what they think would be best for your brand.
Through a consistent brand, every employee understands the brand.
Therefore, they base decisions in favor of your brand and not in favor of their opinion.