Next to differentiation, brand consistency is one of the most important aspects of a brand. Think of brand consistency like a jigsaw puzzle; all parts should fit together to create the bigger picture that is your brand. When your consumers come across each piece of the brand puzzle, they should be able to relate it to the entire brand picture. Remember, consumers rarely buy something after one or two experiences with a brand, unless it is a repeat purchase. So if the brand experience is disjointed and inconsistent, it confuses the consumer and reduces the chances of purchase.
Being consistent extends to your brand appearance, actions and behaviours.
Brand strategy and creative execution go hand in hand. The brand strategy should be the set of decisions the company makes on what the business it, its values and its positioning. Once defined, your brand strategy should be at the core of everything you do. If your strategy is to be a talking duck, then you should swim, walk and talk like a talking duck.
Confusion arises when the brand strategy calls for a talking duck and the design executed becomes a dancing dog. A lot of research, data, interviews, surveys and reports have been used to distill and uncover the strategy which makes a brand differentiated and relevant. Brand leaders and executives understand the process and the science in strategy development, but it seems all rhyme and reason goes out the window when it comes to reviewing creative designs.
It should not be whether it is good or bad design, but whether the design represents what the brand is about and what the brand is trying to say. Don’t forget the brand is all about being a talking duck, and don’t try to make it look like a dancing dog. And don’t try to make it look like what your competitors already look like, because how is your brand going to stand out from the rest when you look like one of them?
Brand consistency is staying true to your strategy and foundation, but at the same time, saying the right things at the right time. Just like to those jigsaw puzzles, how you appear and behave needs to fit with the bigger brand picture but yet be relevant at the time.
Here’s a hilarious look at some of the typical scenarios where strategy is thrown out the design window. And it seems to be a global sentiment too! Feel free to order some funny posters.
Julia Koh is the Executive Director of Brand 360 Degree Sdn Bhd and loves to see magic happen when creative execution and brand strategy work together.