Why Brand Consistency Is Important
Building a brand is all about consistency.
Your customers expect to have the same experience whenever they deal with your brand without any confusion. This consistency will lead to customer reliability and trust. An important part of creating a consistent brand image is to choose a visual scheme that will always be associated with your name or your company’s name.
If you are an author, that might mean making sure that your Facebook page will support all your books rather than just one by using your name and branding you. As a small business owner, will you brand your company name or yours? Whatever you choose it should be consistent throughout. I often see authors and small business owners use an odd Twitter handle with a different look and feel than their Facebook page, or vice versa; and, their websites something else entirely. This is exactly what you want to avoid.
Take a look at my client, Robert DeLaurentis, for whom I’ve prepared a consistent message that flows across all of his online properties and social media channels:
Design Schemes and Associations
How important is your brand’s visual scheme? Consider for a moment the mistakes big companies have made when they tried to change the visual features of their products. Clear cola crashed and burned, because we expect cola to be black. When a popular condiment maker produced green ketchup, it made appearances as a collectible on eBay, but not on kitchen tables.
Certain colors and design schemes are associated with certain products. If the product has the wrong color or design, it’s off-putting to customers.
Your Visual Brand Language
To create a design and color scheme for your brand, you need to create a visual brand language, or VBL. A VBL includes design elements such as shape, color, materials, finish, typography and composition. All of these items together should communicate your company’s values and personality.
For a good example, take BMW’s front grill. When you see it on an advertisement or website, you automatically think of BMW and all the qualities associated with this luxury car maker. This distinct design feature is used as a visual marketing tool by the company to trigger feelings and associations in the minds of its target market.
An important key to creating a VBL is to remember that it isn’t static, but can be changed and used in different ways. Consider Google’s logo, the basic letters on a clean white background. During different times of year or during promotions, small changes are made to this basic design theme. In fact, today’s Google logo looks like this:
Your VBL can be something flexible as well.
Visuals for Your Niche
Your images should create a brand atmosphere that corresponds with your niche. Consider your target market and what they like. Think about your products and look at how other companies in your niche create their brand atmospheres. For example, some niches tend to favor stark visuals, while others use soft retro filters. Each image a company uses fits with its atmosphere to create a sense of consistency across all of its marketing and content creation.
Your Brand’s Logo
The single most important visual element is your logo. To create a logo, go back to your brand’s unique selling proposition. What is your brand’s promise and personality? These should be communicated through your brand’s logo. Your logo must be based on this foundation and harmonize with your other design elements.
The best practice when designing a logo is to start by choosing a primary and secondary color. The primary color is for your symbol, icon, or lettering. The secondary color is for the background. Take advantage of color meanings and associations when choosing colors.
Use these principles as outlined on Entrepreneur.com:
- Keep it simple — make sure your logo is easy to look at.
- Project your overall image — stay consistent on all platforms with your branding
- Be memorable — let your audience know what your business is about right away
- Stand out from the competition — create a culture around your logo
- Do your homework first — Conduct market research including surveys for feedback
The Importance of Visual Branding
A common business mistake is to bring in outside visual experts as an afterthought rather than a central part of your business’s initial planning. Your brand’s visual plan is just as important as your unique selling proposition or your products: it’s part of your company’s basic image being presented to your target market.