A company’s branding is formed by a combination of the company’s name, culture, logo, and other design elements. Branding is responsible for sending out a cohesive message and feeling that defines your company to your customers. So who cares?
Let’s take a look at the effects inconsistent branding can have, and why you should care.
By having inconsistent branding, the authenticity of your company or marketing efforts are brought to question.
For example, let’s say that a potential customer is on your website, and they decide to look you up on Facebook so they can be kept up-to-date on news and specials your company offers. You don’t have a link to your Facebook on your website, so they have to use the search function on Facebook in order to find your company.
Once they’ve searched for your company name, several possible matches pop up. The first match is actually your Facebook page, but the cover photo is blurry, and the graphic elements don’t match the branding on your website. Your Facebook page also hasn’t had any status updates in a few weeks.
Or maybe you’ve redesigned your website, so the branding is completely different than what’s on your Facebook page. Perhaps your new branding sends out an entirely different message than your old branding did. Most likely that person trying to connect with you on Facebook is going to feel confused and unsure as to whether they’re really at the right page. They may choose to just find a different company.
As we witnessed in the story above, when we go against what customers expect, it results in them feeling “not okay”. By having consistent branding across all platforms, you ensure that your customers’ expectations are met, which helps you gain their trust and loyalty.
The Right Impression
Along with the fact that you may be confusing customers with inconsistent branding, you’re also sending out a message that your company is careless and unprofessional. That’s not something you want, right?
The way to avoid this is to make sure all your branding is sending out the same message, across all platforms. That’s not to say that everything needs to look identical, but a customer should be able to easily identify whether or not they are on a page that is associated with your business. This means that anything from your website to social media pages, email newsletters to printed material, should reflect your company’s branding.
One resource that can help keep your company’s branding consistent is to create an identity guide.
An identity guide is basically a manual that keeps track of all the specifics of your company’s branding. It keeps track of all the fonts, print and web colors, logo specifications, and all other relevant styling information. While some identity guides can be incredibly long and detailed (especially with big corporate companies), it can be as simple as a page or two.
Having an identity guide will not only help keep track of all the different elements of your branding, but creating an identity guide will help you truly understand and establish your branding. You’ll also be able to share it with anyone who works on your branding in the future to ensure that your branding stays consistent.