Updated: Aug 13, 2020
After defining your core values, ideal clients, mission statement, growth goals and your competitors it's time to see the scope of the work needed regarding all your brand collateral.
In this example I'm showing you that brand elements can be displayed slightly differently but still retain a consistent 'look'.
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Get as much of your printed literature together (business cards, flyers, etc.)
Spread it all out on a large table
Does it all look like it's from one brand? Do they bear a resemblance to each other?
Consistency isn't about everything looking exactly the same – your logo should have a certain amount of flexibility but there should be a resemblance to your brand so that it's obvious at first glance that it's all part of one brand. This includes:
Printed literature such as business cards, letterheads, invoice, contract, flyers, printed adverts
Social media sites
You email signature strip
By repeating your logo and a set of visual assets like fonts and colours, you'll be helping your potential customers to remember you without much difficulty. If one customer-facing communication is too different from another it'll be nearly impossible to be memorable and the ability to have a memorable brand is really important in starting to build trust and reputation!
In this example I've quickly mocked up some t-shirts that could form part of the brand, perhaps as a casual uniform to wear at trade shows or networking events?
Background image from www.psdmockups.com
Why is it important?
Particularly if you're a small business, you need to create a memorable brand in order to start a longterm relationship with your potential clients. The branding should be well thought out to help grow your business through creating an authentic 'brand promise' and then, with being memorable, delivering on the expectations your customers have because of the branding, it'll then creating a trustworthy brand which in turn will create a business built to last.
What is a brand promise? This can be a statement directly to your customers but, more than likely, it'll be the perception of quality and friendliness that your logo represents. Does your logo give your customers the impression of a high quality service or an affordable one? Is it in harmony with your brand or conflicting to it?
Consistency is important because: repetition > recognition = reputation
Reputation is so important especially when building it for all the right reasons! Working hard to create a reputation built around quality and trust ensures that the growth of your business becomes almost effortless after a relatively short amount of time. It also creates a saleable asset further on down the line, imagine creating a business that you may be able to sell one day, it doesn't need to be your focus at this stage but this is just another advantage to creating a trustworthy business built on a good brand reputation.
What are the advantages?
By ensuring that you have some 'rules' on how your brand is displayed (certain fonts, specific colours and a brand identity/logo) goes a long way to building trust with your customers.
Customers need to trust that you'll remain a viable business, no one wants to buy something that they potentially can't return in a week if it's faulty, or give repeat business to
Customers don't want to shop around every time they need the service you provide, if they like you and your product/service, they naturally want to reward you with their repeat business, they need to trust you'll still be there and not some fly-by-night business
Customers want to know that you're a legitimate business, that you're confident in your offerings and you won't take advantage of them
No one likes to be lied to or made a fool of, showing up consistently in a reliable fashion shows potential customers that you're serious about your business and care about them enough to be there when they expect you to be
What are other ways to show consistency in your business?
Having a brand isn't just about the look of the thing, it's about your habits, strategies, operations and the expectations customers have of you. By defining your brand first, you identify what's important to plan as part of your work schedule, to build your business as well as serving your customers – there are a lot of people out there who need your service but they need to know who you are and how you provide your service. If your brand is friendly and happy then maybe a vlog or a regular email newsletter with some helpful hints and tips around your industry would offer your potential customers a way to learn about you, especially if they identify with you and your brand and how they can be helped by it.
Consistency in your branding is also about:
Being relied on to show up regularly
whether it's by blogging once a week
posting in a social media group – perhaps by setting a week challenge to help your followers grow and improve themselves? Even if they don't become your direct customers, referrals are a very strong possibility so don't be so worried about who you're directly serving, show up as though everyone is just as important as your highest paying client
Consistently delivering a service of a high quality, every person you serve should receive the same care and attention every time. You wouldn't get your hair cut by a hairdresser that surprises you every time depending on their mood! If you can't rely on the quality of service every time you go, why would you ever go back!?
Tone of voice is also important, if you hire a V.A. the way they reply to customers on your behalf should sound like you, this helps build trusts and diminishes confusion (creating confusion is a killer, customers don't have the time to figure out a message that you're responsible for delivering)
Having a pricing system, not making it up on the spot – this means you're fairly treating all your customers in the same way and have a well organised business
Communicating with your customers – do you reply to emails and answer phone calls, return messages promptly? Your customers have a short attention span and it helps you to reply to them while they feel their enquiry is still urgent, leave them too long and they might convince themselves they no longer need you
As you can see, branding is so much more than just a logo, there's so much that is implied and by delivering on customers expectations you start building trust that will work towards building a robust business. If you want some help in looking over your branding and getting some advice on planning for improving your brand, ensuring that all the little, simple, easy things that can make a big difference are defined clearly to you, give me a call or send me an email. I'd love to look through your current brand and give you a breakdown on how it's currently being perceived, give you a brand personality exercise to complete and share with you some ideas on reaching goals that you have for your business. I'm more than happy to offer you a 30 complimentary appointment where we can chat about your business together, I'm confident that just a few small changes will start showing you really big changes and giving you the confidence you deserve.