Brand consistency

Brand consistency: Your ultimate guide for 2024

Apple. Google. Starbucks. The world’s most famous brands don’t achieve this status by accident – they are masters of brand consistency.

Brand consistency is the foundation from which customers recognise, understand and trust your brand. From your visual identity and colour palette, to your tone of voice – keeping every aspect of your identity unified is critical for long-term success.

As developers of solutions that empower hundreds of global organisations to stay consistent, we’re experts in true brand consistency and how to achieve it.

In this ultimate guide, you’ll discover exactly why consistency is so important, and what you can do to maintain it across every marketing touchpoint:

  • See statistics that demonstrate the value of consistency
  • Learn what tools and techniques are crucial to brand consistency
  • Discover brands that have their identities locked down
  • Find out how to overcome common brand consistency challenges

Want to build a brand that resonates with customers wherever they see it? Then let’s get started…

What is brand consistency?

Brand consistency is when you present a unified, harmonious brand voice across all marketing materials. Websites, emails, social media platforms, brochures, posters – everything your potential customers see carries your unique identity.

Think of it as the glue that holds your brand messaging together, from a huge billboard in a busy city, all the way down to a single TikTok. Maintaining a consistent style across all your marketing campaigns and channels helps familiarise your target audience with who you are, what you stand for, and how you can help them.

4 essential elements of brand consistency

The most successful brands ensure that every strand of their marketing is woven with their distinct personality. That means every key element must be aligned…

Visual identity

McDonalds’ golden arches. The Starbucks Siren. The four fundamental colours on every Google product. Consistent visual elements are crucial if you want people to recognise your brand, as it’s often the first thing prospective customers will connect with.

From your logo and colour scheme, to the brand images, typography and design elements you utilise. These all communicate your brand’s identity, and should never deviate across any of your assets.

“Brand visibility statistic showing how consistent brands are 3.5 times more visible than inconsistent brands. Source: Demand Metric”

Tone of voice

How you communicate with your potential customers plays a huge role in how they perceive your organisation. Do you keep things simple and jargon-free like Apple? Are you motivational and aspirational like Nike?

No matter how you talk to your target audience, your distinct tone of voice and language must be reflected in every message, from a simple Instagram caption to a multi-page brochure.

Brand messaging

The core values at the heart of your organisation should influence every brand element you create. Your brand’s promise, vision and goals transform occasional customers into full-blown advocates, so these messages must be reflected in your marketing materials.

Social media

A go-to destination for billions, brand consistency on social media is essential to establish your identity to a worldwide audience.

Over 75% of consumers use social media to decide what brands to engage with, so you want to ensure everything you share on these platforms reflects your personality – from a YouTube video to a pithy Facebook post.

Remaining consistent across these elements gradually propels brands into people’s hearts and minds – ensuring that everyone understands who your company is, wherever they encounter your messaging.

Why is brand consistency so important?

Brand consistency is a long-game strategy, and vital to ongoing success in any market. 

You want customers to think of you first and foremost for whatever product you sell, service you offer, or cause you represent. And in our experience, consistency in your messaging is the path to fulfilling that ambition. 

But the benefits don’t stop there……

Brand consistency differentiates your company

Your brand is your most valuable asset in setting yourself apart from your competitors. By consistently presenting this across your marketing channels, you help people understand what makes you different and why they should choose you over anyone else.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, a clear, consistent brand presence can ensure your target market sees your unique proposition no matter what platform they engage with.

Brand consistency helps audiences recognise you

Did you know that it takes up to 7 interactions with a brand for the average customer to remember it? That’s a lot of touchpoints! So, if every one of these interactions is inconsistent, your audience might not attribute that credibility to your company.

Maintaining brand consistency across all channels ensures that, as your prospects take the gradual journey of ‘learning’ your brand, they get the same impression each time. This familiarity leads to recognition, boosting your odds of repeat business.

Brand consistency builds trust with your customers

As well as recognition, brand consistency is a hallmark of trust. Modern customers expect a seamless, coherent experience with the brands they engage with. This is the crux of a strong, lasting relationship – if each customer interaction with your brand is slightly different, it makes it much harder for them to understand what you stand for.

Consistent brands create loyal customers, where both sides always know where they stand. By staying aligned on all media channels, you help your audience truly understand you.

Brand consistency supports your bottom line

Loyal customers lead to repeat purchases, which in turn raises your profitability. Research suggests that consistent brands enjoy over 20% more revenue growth when compared to brands that don’t take this as seriously.

Need more convincing? Brands that consistently tell their story also often see their brand value grow up to 20% as well. Plus, inspiring loyal, repeat customers is a more fruitful source of revenue than having to constantly reach out to new audiences.

With today’s consumers expecting quality and stability from companies, consistency is essential to a successful ROI.

“Brand consistency leads to a 2% increase in customer retention and 10% reduction in marketing costs. Source: SmallBizTrends”

Brand consistency grows your authority and equity

Beyond your ROI, strong branding also breeds authority, which in turn builds brand equity. Excellent brand equity is the objective for any commercial organisation and is a good indicator of how much your target audience loves, trusts and acknowledges your brand. 

This is only achievable through sustained interactions and customer experiences, and a key step on the path to brand salience. In fact, becoming a thought leader is how brands like Google, Hoover, Velcro and more entered our everyday vocabulary.

Brand consistency brings your employees together

Brand consistency benefits more than your customer experiences – it also means a lot for your employer brand. In the competition to secure the best candidates, it’s a huge advantage that potential recruits are clear about who your company is and what sets you apart from others in your industry.

Staying consistent across all your employer branding – from your online recruitment page to your onboarding materials – reassures recruits and helps build a united identity among your existing team members.

 “6 stats showing the importance of brand consistency contributing to growth, value, brand recognition and increased revenue”

What happens if a brand lacks consistency?

Inconsistency is a silent brand killer. If you fail to maintain a uniform presence across your various channels, it can:

  • Erode the trust between your brand and your audience
  • Limit your ability to turn occasional consumers into loyal customers
  • Negatively impact the stature and perception of your brand
  • Confuse and irritate buyers, leading to poor customer experiences
  • Reduce your long-term profitability
  • Affect your ability to consistently recruit top prospects

We’ve seen first-hand how inconsistency can severely hurt people’s marketing efforts, making it much harder to grow a core of repeat customers. Learn from mistakes like Coca-Cola’s “New Coke” campaign – make sure your brand message stays aligned.

Is brand consistency only important for large corporations?

Absolutely not. While many of the world’s most renowned brands have achieved this through unwavering consistency, they all started somewhere. 

No matter the size or scale of your business, or whether you appeal to a local or global audience, consistent branding helps customers understand, recognise and trust you. It’s critical to building a loyal customer base – something every startup or small business should aspire to in a world of constant change.

 “Papirfly brand consistency success story for ecommerce”

Creating and maintaining brand consistency

Now you understand how valuable brand consistency is to the present and future of your organisation, how do you create and maintain it? Let’s break it down piece by piece…

Brand strategy

It all starts with your brand and marketing strategy. This establishes the identity, mission and personality you will project across all your marketing channels, so it must be carefully considered. So from the outset, ask yourself:

  • Who are our target audiences? What are their motivations and values?
  • What values do we stand for?
  • What colour schemes, language and more will resonate with our audiences?
  • What marketing channels and types of content will we utilise?

As well as these fundamental questions, your strategy can establish if your company’s branding adapts to different areas of your business. Consider Tesco – it’s a well-known multinational retailer, but also branches out into banking, mobile phones, photo printing and more.

Therefore, Tesco slightly adapts its brand messaging to suit each particular audience, while retaining enough of its core identity to flow its equity across all areas. If your company has distinct services for different audiences – say a service aimed at consumers and another at businesses – you may consider a similar approach.

Brand guidelines

If strategy is the base of brand consistency, brand guidelines are the blueprint to maintain that consistency. This is crucial for ensuring consistency across all brand elements, setting the rules for how your brand must be presented.

What colour palette do we base our designs on? What is our tone of voice? Where do we place our logo on social assets? The answers to these questions and many, many more should be found in your brand guidelines.

So, what should you include in this essential user manual?

  • Brand identity
    • Logo, including variations, spacing and sizes
    • Colour palette, with specific hex codes or Pantone values
    • Typography, with font styles, sizes and weights
  • Visual identity
    • Imagery, listing approved photos, illustrations, icons, etc.
    • Graphic elements, including specific patterns, textures and design elements
    • Layouts, breaking down parameters for different content styles
  • Tone of voice
    • Brand language, describing what terminology your brand employs
    • Messaging, covering communications for different channels and audiences
  • Brand usage
    • Applications, explaining variations of your brand identity on different channels or materials
    • Misuses, clearly showing what not to do with your brand elements

But, it isn’t enough to have brand guidelines – you need to know people are following them. Over 85% of companies have brand guidelines; only around 30% actually use them.

So, it’s important that you make your brand guidelines accessible to anyone who produces branded assets, and train your team in how to use them, whether this is part of your induction process or ongoing rediscovery sessions.

Looking to create the best brand guidelines for your organisation? Read our must-have guide for global brand managers.

“Infographic image showing 85% of organisations have brand guidelines but only 30% use them. Source: Marq”

Brand hub

Evolving beyond guidelines, truly consistent brands create dedicated brand hubs that contain every aspect of their unique identity into one centralised, digital resource.

This is effective as it offers an interactive, comprehensive breakdown of the components, templates and more that will keep your brand aligned on every platform. With FAQs for your users and examples of pre-approved assets, brand hubs are becoming increasingly vital for end-to-end consistency.

Brand templates

Smart design templates take the essence of your guidelines and put them into action in an automatic, second-nature way. 

Harnessing templates removes the pressure on designers and marketers to constantly interpret or recall your guidelines. Instead, these fixed components, colour schemes and more are laid out as required, without any risk of deviation.

This unlocks numerous benefits beyond just a more consistent brand presentation…

  • Brand templates make producing assets quicker and more efficient
  • Brand templates allow designers to be creative and consistent
  • Brand templates reduce decision-making time and streamline workflows
  • Brand templates minimise the time spent proofing and amending assets before they are published
  • Brand templates help create a more professional, quality brand image
  • Brand templates help local outlets adapt company assets for their specific audiences

Simply put, digital design templates are a must-have for unwavering consistency and agile communications – two things modern customers expect.

“Brand templates are being used by 82% of companies to ensure brand consistency. Source: Capital One”

Recycling assets

A great tip for maintaining brand consistency and streamlining production costs is recycling assets. This is not simply posting the same asset over and over again – it means taking an asset and repurposing it for another audience, channel or time of year.

For example, say you’ve produced a two-minute explainer video on a product for your YouTube channel. How many 10-second TikToks or Reels can you make from that video? Could you take visuals and parts of the script to create pamphlets or digestible social assets?

By regularly recycling brand assets, you stretch the value of each resource and help ensure a consistent, unbroken presentation across your platforms.

Digital Asset Management

A high-quality Digital Asset Management (DAM) system is another vital tool in your bid to stay consistent. At its core, a DAM is a central repository of all approved, compliant assets, providing a single source of truth in your organisation.

How does this support brand consistency?

  • It gives your marketers a clear guide of what brand images and assets are suitable for use
  • It lets you see the latest versions of assets, so any old or outdated branding is never shared
  • It allows you to tag assets for specific locations, channels and applications, so these are reserved for specific uses
  • It lets you review and see all assets in one place, and identify any issues before they are presented to the public

A solid DAM system is a powerful ally in the battle for better brand consistency. It’s why we dedicate significant time and energy to making our Place product one of the leading DAMs globally, as detailed in the latest Forrester Wave™ Report.

How do you measure brand consistency?

While there is no set metric you can use to measure brand consistency, there are some steps you can take to track this:

  • Run a brand audit, reviewing the assets you created across your channels in a set timeframe. This will highlight any brand assets that have deviated from your guidelines, so you can identify what went wrong and introduce measures to fix this.
  • Track the usage of your approved assets and templates, as this will illustrate how regularly your marketers are using your brand consistency software and services 
  • Monitor the views of your brand hub, which again offers a window into how often your team is reflecting on the guidelines at the heart of your branding
“Papirfly Brand Management platform product showcase to help organisations create and control brand consistency”

6 brilliant brand consistency examples to learn from

So, you now know the value of brand consistency and what can help you maintain it. Now it’s time to learn from organisations that make consistency a cornerstone of their approach…

1. Google’s clever colour palette

Today, whenever we see the careful combination of red, blue, yellow and green together, our minds immediately go to Google. This ingenious colour scheme has spread from the heading of their search engine into their wide variety of apps to bring them all under one umbrella.

This consistent branding immediately adds authority to any new product Google brings out, and remains at the heart of their near-universal recognition.

2. Nike’s seamless simplicity

Just do it. Swoosh. Four simple words, all instantly attributable to Nike. One of the world’s premier clothing and footwear companies, Nike’s consistent application of their iconic logo on their products, brand materials, packaging and more was vital to achieving this status.

This is coupled with a familiar flow of language and imagery centred on achievement, motivation and empowerment – messages that permeate every piece of content they produce.

3. Starbucks’s standout identity

Starbucks’s globally recognisable brand centres on its consistent use of its iconic Siren logo, personalised customer experiences and cosy ambience. This stability has made Starbucks the go-to name in the highly competitive coffee industry.

This is the power of consistent branding. In terms of products, Starbucks isn’t much different from any other coffee cafe. However, their immediately identifiable visuals – and the meaning they hold to customers worldwide –  place them head and shoulders above the competition.

4. Apple’s universal presentation

It’s arguable Apple is the standard bearer for the benefits of brand consistency. From its sleek product design to its minimalist advertising campaigns, every aspect of Apple’s brand communications promotes simplicity, innovation and premium quality.

This universal application extends from its websites and stores through to its social media platforms and, coupled with the intuitiveness of Apple’s products, has helped the company develop its cult-like following.

“Steve Jobs quote on the importance of brand consistency and the essence of brand marketing”

5. Patagonia’s powerful messaging (H3)

The best brands are founded on beliefs and values that connect with customers on a deep, emotional level. That is the secret to Patagonia’s growth over the decades, continuously pushing its commitment to the environment and ethical behaviours.

Placing this at the core of their brand guidelines, marketing campaigns and initiatives has enabled Patagonia to build a devoted fan base and a strong reputation.

6. BMW’s roadworthy branding (H3)

As the maker of “Ultimate Driving Machines”, BMW has long held a powerful, reliable reputation for quality, dependable vehicles. This is echoed in their brand identity and visuals, blending their superior engineering with their motto of delivering sheer driving pleasure.

But, with hundreds of dealerships scattered over Europe and beyond, BMW know the need to maintain consistency from location to location. Through Papirfly’s brand management platform, BMW NE has closed the distance between HQ and their individual dealerships, keeping communications coordinated and on-brand at all times.

“BMW Brand Success Story using the Papirfly brand management platform. A better path to brand consistency…”

3 common brand consistency challenges… and how to overcome them

Total brand consistency should be the aim of any organisation. But achieving it is easier said than done. Here are three of the biggest pain points to reaching this goal, and our specialist advice on navigating them.

1. Maintaining brand consistency across different marketing channels

Social media. Emails. Digital ads. Posters. Billboards. The nuances of each marketing channel can make it easy for inconsistencies to creep into your branding.

We know from experience that establishing design templates for every channel your organisation appears on is critical to fixing this problem. Rather than put all the responsibility on your team members, this approach ensures that certain brand elements, from your logo positioning to colour choices, are as they should be – from your display ads to in-store banners.

Using intelligent, high-quality templates, you can achieve a consistent presentation at every touchpoint – and make producing these assets significantly faster and cost-effective!

2. Remaining consistent on a local and global level

For organisations that operate in multiple regions worldwide, one of their greatest brand challenges is maintaining consistency on a global scale. It’s understandable – HQ can’t be everywhere at once, so what prevents individual stores and offices from going off-piste to appeal to their audiences?

The key is to find the right balance – a foundation of brand compliance, with room to personalise assets for specific target markets. Global branding with a local touch. Brand templates can play a crucial role here, setting parameters your local teams cannot stray too far from.

A centralised DAM system is also useful. This allows you to tag images and assets for particular audiences, so they can only be employed where relevant. Consequently, you maintain a consistent presence in each location AND achieve the personal touch today’s customers demand.

3. Rebranding your organisation

After a rebrand or a significant update of your branding, there’s always a risk that old brand elements are accidentally published at a later date, confusing customers who are adjusting to the switch-up.

To prevent this, your first step is to ensure your brand guidelines and/or brand hub reflect this new identity. As the home of your branding, this must immediately be aligned with the rebrand to keep your marketers on message.

Then, harness your DAM solution to file away any assets that no longer have the correct branding, or update these under your new guidelines. This will ensure your central repository is free of any old designs, so your teams can pick from these with complete confidence.

Want to know more about rebranding? Download our essential guide to a successful rebrand.

The role of AI in building brand consistency

As AI continues to evolve, its benefits to the marketing industry aren’t going unnoticed. One area it can definitely play a part is nailing down consistency – making this a more effortless, intuitive process for marketers worldwide.

Here are some of the ways it can achieve this:

Chatbots that speak your language

As chatbots and AI prompts become more sophisticated, companies will eventually be able to program these to understand and mimic their brand’s language and tone of voice when responding to customers. Eventually, this will mean users receive personalised responses, which still align with your overall brand messaging.

Faster, more accurate asset location

In your DAM systems, AI allows for faster and more accurate tagging of assets, so you can identify the right one to use in any campaign or location. Plus, as contextual searches become stronger, users can find on-brand, relevant assets for their specific needs in seconds, streamlining your production processes.

AI-generated brand assets

Taking templates to the next level, AI technology is gradually gaining the ability to produce high-quality images, videos, designs and more, while working within set brand guidelines. With this greater degree of accuracy, marketers will one day have the tools to create branded assets with total confidence and outstanding efficiency.

At Papirfly, we’re constantly experimenting with the potential of AI to improve all areas of brand management. If you want to learn more about the latest developments to our platform, check out our regularly updated release notes.

“Papirfly download for a guide to more consistent and efficient content production for businesses”

Papirfly: A platform made for consistent brands

We hope our ultimate guide to brand consistency has helped you understand its value and showed you how it can be achieved. 

At Papirfly, brand consistency is one of the fundamental driving forces behind our end-to-end brand management platform. Our solutions are helping over 600 brands worldwide stay on top of their assets, so they never stray from the guidelines at the heart of their brand identity…

  • POINT: Empowering every person who uses your brand with one online brand portal
  • PLACE: Establishing a single source of truth for your on-brand assets with our globally renowned DAM
  • PRODUCE: Intelligent templates that allow you to create an infinite number of assets quickly and consistently

Discover how our brand consistency software and services can help you stay on message at every touchpoint with unrivalled ease.

“Papirfly solutions and brand consistency services - CTA to brand management software platform”
Brand consistency

Mastering global brand consistency while empowering local markets – key insights from Rabobank’s strategy

Papirfly’s Brand Management Specialist Justin Diver was recently joined by Roel Smit Rabobank’s ‘Product Owner of Brand Portal’ for an insightful webinar “Elevating brand reputation globally while empowering local markets’.

During the discussion Rabobank shared effective strategies and experiences, offering invaluable insights for brands looking to balance global consistency with local relevance.

Webinar highlights and key insights

1. Strategic brand management across borders

Rabobank has successfully managed to maintain its brand identity across a global workforce of 43,000 by integrating strategic brand management tools that accommodate both global oversight and local flexibility. The discussion highlighted how technology can facilitate the decentralised execution of brand strategies, ensuring that local teams have the tools and autonomy needed to adapt brand messages to their specific markets.

2. Efficient asset production and campaign execution

The webinar delved into how streamlined processes for asset production and campaign execution can significantly enhance operational efficiency. By adopting a centralised platform for brand management, Rabobank has managed to reduce time-to-market for campaigns while ensuring that all marketing efforts are consistent with the brand’s core values.

3. Measuring success through brand metrics and ROI

Tracking brand metrics and understanding the return on investment (ROI) from brand management activities are critical for justifying marketing spend and guiding strategy adjustments. Rabobank’s approach to quantifying the effectiveness of their brand management strategies offers a blueprint for other organisations aiming to measure and enhance the impact of their branding efforts.

4. Navigating challenges in brand consistency

Maintaining a unified brand identity across diverse markets presents significant challenges. Rabobank explained how they address these issues and highlighted the importance of having robust systems in place that support both global brand consistency and local market adaptation.

Linking brand management to brand equity

For organisations aiming to mirror Rabobank’s success, understanding foundational steps to building brand equity is pivotal. Our detailed guide, The 4 Key Steps to Building Brand Equity, outlines essential strategies for strengthening market presence and achieving sustainable growth, reflecting the practices discussed during the webinar.

To discover more about how Rabobank utilised Papirfly’s brand management platform to achieve global consistency and local relevance in brand management, watch the webinar in full below.

Brand consistency

Mastering brand salience begins with brand consistency

What is brand salience?

Brand salience is the multifaceted way in which your brand is thought of or noticed when a customer makes a purchase or a decision. It is a foundational component of achieving brand equity – the culmination of consumer perceptions, loyalty, and the inherent value attributed to your brand, forged through sustained interactions and experiences.

Brand salience then refers to the degree of which you are maintaining your brand’s position with key moments of interaction. When done successfully, your brand has firmly established itself in the minds of consumers, standing out prominently in the ever-crowded marketplace.

Mastering brand salience

At the highest levels of brand salience, the ideal is to have your brand name be synonymous with the solution that customers are seeking. For example, we don’t “search the internet for information using Google”. Instead we “Google” things. We talk less and less about watching TV, and more and more about binging Netflix. 

These brands are so easily recogniseable that we’ll even refer to them when in actual fact we are using their competitors. We’ll “Google” a problem using Bing, or we might refer to “watching Netflix” when we may generally mean another streaming service. Similarly, we might order Coca-Cola or “a Coke” in a restaurant, be sold a Pepsi, and continue to refer to it as a Coke.

In these examples, a particularly strong brand has entered culture to the extent that it has become a household object. These are also the brands that will be referred to in films, music and TV shows. Their presence helps artists to quickly set a scene that audiences are familiar and intimate with.

When it comes to your industry and niche, whether your brand becomes a verb or not, the opportunity for your brand or product name to be at the forefront of your target audience’s mind when considering their pain point is always up for grabs – wherever they are in their buying journey.

What creates brand salience?

There are different ways to think about brand salience. One famous model, put forward by Kevin Lane Keller in his book Strategic Brand Management, frames brand salience as ‘how aware your potential customers are of your brand’. Importantly, this should be the right type of awareness – positive emotions and associations, not scandals and bad press. 

In Keller’s model, brand salience can be summed up with the question “Who are you?”. To consider how salient your brand currently is, you should consider questions like: 

  • Is our brand easily recogniseable? 
  • How well are our branding efforts communicating a clear and consistent brand identity? 
  • Is our brand clearly differentiated from its competitors? 

The important thing is being at the top of your customers’ minds, with the emphasis on timing crucial for successful branding. In a digital economy where time is short and attention spans are limited, your window of opportunity is small – every moment, every thought, and every association counts, at every point of contact. 

Achieving brand salience

The key is to have an easily recognisable and well differentiated brand, which customers recall the moment they need to make a purchase. This means brand consistency across memorable high-quality interactions throughout your marketing channels go a long way to help.

But how do you build this understanding into your branding efforts? There are two key points to consider here: memory, and attention. 

A matter of memory

Quickly, think of a brand you use or buy from regularly. The chances are that several different memories of consistently positive interactions will come up.

Everything potential customers know about your brand, everything they have in the back of their minds, and everything they associate with it comes from a string of memorable moments. 

Similarly, think of someone you trust in your personal life. In the same way you will likely recall several consistent, positive moments that confirmed this was someone you could trust – selflessly making you or someone feel good and therefore forging a positive connection.

While the people who make us feel good in our lives are close to hand, your brand may be far away from customer’s minds. Having a clear and consistent marketing strategy that builds trust with your target audience over time is essential. You want to associate your brand with strong, positive emotions which will be recalled when a potential customer goes to make a purchase.

Not only will customers be reminded of your product, they will also think of the types of experience associated with your marketing campaigns – as well as values, commitments and partnerships that they know you stand by.

Building up your brand with consistent messages and visual elements that reinforce positive and aspirational states of mind, you’re much more likely to be recalled positively at the time of purchase.

Are you paying attention?

However impressive the associations you’ve built up with your brand, they count for little if they don’t come to mind when it’s time to buy.

Whether it’s in a brick and mortar store, or via a digital platform, you need to make sure your brand jumps out at your customers. Successful branding stands out, no matter what the competition is doing, how you’re feeling, or what the weather is like.

This is where the work you’ve put in to build up positive emotions and associations with your brand pays off – and is paid forward by loyal customers, with 94% of consumers claiming they would recommend a brand to others with which they are emotionally engaged.

Trust and empathy plays an important part here too. We rate brands far more on feelings and associations than on information alone. Rather than talking just about what we do, gaining people’s attention by consistently placing them – or people that could be them – at the centre of the message is key. Often speaking directly to their needs.

For example, if we were told “We help you to just do it” next to a Swoosh, the brand (which we don’t even have to name or clarify the true slogan for – great brand salience right there) may not be as motivating and inspiring to millions of people worldwide.

Past experiences of a customer’s attention being ‘grabbed’ by a brand will shape the likelihood that a customer will pick up your product over one of your competitors. As a result, you need to make sure that every customer experience is consistent with your branding intentions – building momentum and trust with each experience.

Putting brand salience into action

Achieving brand salience is a complex and ongoing process that involves various factors beyond consistent branding efforts. The important thing is to remember that the aim of your marketing is not simply to persuade customers to buy your product. It is also to build up and refresh positive memory structures, so that your brand grabs their attention when the time comes to make a decision.

Being ready for those decisive moments means adapting to the needs of your customers, wherever they are in the world – by location and digital channels. Maintaining brand consistency, while being agile in your marketing operations, can empower teams anywhere in the world to activate your brand.

The best way to maintain brand consistency is to establish clear brand guidelines that are available and enforced across your business, as well as centralising all digital assets in one place so teams know where to find those images that are crafted into amazing assets that create positive memories and grab their attention.

Empowering your people to build brand salience in a way that is intuitive and effective ultimately creates the foundation of your brand equity success.

Brand consistencyLeave a Comment on BOOsting brand consistency in your Halloween marketing

BOOsting brand consistency in your Halloween marketing

Something wicked this way comes. While Halloween is a thrilling time for marketers to get into the spooky spirit of the season to frighten and delight their customers, an ever-lurking fear lies behind every door in branding and marketing departments – how can our marketing stand out while not compromising brand identity? 

Creating a Halloween marketing campaign can feel like walking through a haunted house – you’re excited when you step through the door but constantly waiting for something to jump out at you. In some ways, a brand at Halloween is just like a party costume – you can tell the meticulous planners when people have been busy preparing for weeks or when someone has simply ‘thrown on a cobweb’ to look the part.

In this article, grab a shovel and dig up some insights to consider, as you cast the perfect spell to unleash your teams’ creativity while staying on-brand – and a reminder to give every location the bag of tricks to help support global brand consistency on your next creepy campaign.

The magic spell of brand guidelines 

Any go-to-market campaign hinges on collaboration, especially when seasonal events, such as Halloween, mean getting playful within the limits of your brand guidelines. Your brand must still stay intact, so your in-house design team or external agency need to investigate this mystery with you – and figure out how you can play to your super-strengths.

Achieving synergy across everything that makes up your core brand identity – colours, tone of voice, logos, assets and more – is essential to maintain recognition and increase engagement. Every brand is different, so considering each one of these essential ingredients is key to casting the perfect spell.

Beware of brand colour transformations

Your logo is the most important of your brand assets. It’s the visual cue that sparks instant recognition with your audience, and could be considered the most potent ingredient in your brand identity’s potion to enchant your customers. Misusing or making too many drastic changes might scare away the chance for brand recognition, leaving you haunted by a campaign that didn’t quite create the magical results you were after.

While it can be tempting to change your logo with seasonal imagery and a different colour palette – orange and black being the obvious choice – you need to make sure that it’s suitable for your brand identity and tone of voice. Google, for example, can go ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, and transform with ease. Complementary adjustments can be made to the website logo with significant effect, as it’s actually part of the tech giant’s playful brand identity to change with the seasons – an event in itself.

Meanwhile other brands can protect their frightening strong status as they play with their brand reputation. Marmite, for example, is known for having an acquired taste. The savoury UK food spread, based on its distinctive yeast extract flavour, famously plays with its ‘Love it or hate it’ slogan – making it the perfect ‘Trick or Treat’ product.

Bringing in new colours for its limited edition Halloween packaging, its iconic logo of white letters on red and jar-and-lid’s yellow and black colour scheme offer a playful way to go-to-market during the spooky season.

No matter what you and your creepy and collaborative team decide, make sure everyone working on your brand knows what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Providing essential brand assets to all marketing teams and partners can ensure people are empowered to bring your brand to life in a new way at Halloween – without feeling it’s been put together like Frankenstein’s monster. Create brand consistency all year round and put the picture of your brand together so your teams can animate and activate it everywhere.

Be frighteningly good with your brand’s reputation

Your dream Halloween campaign can be a nightmare if you do not stay on-brand and consistent during your campaigns. In order for the aspects of your brand identity to agree to “stay close and don’t split up” you need to know how customers perceive your brand – carefully selecting the right tone and language for your campaign that compliment your products or services to have a hypnotic effect on your audience. 

Of course, product name changes are all the rage at this time of year. ‘Boo-scotch’ M&M’s. ‘Scream’ Ice Cream from Ben & Jerry. Starbucks’ ‘Frappula Frappuccino’. All delightfully dark, while other wordplay like ‘Trick or treat yourself’ and ‘Fangtastic savings’ are used by many online and high street brands.

Big brands’ marketing departments love to hear screams of delight from their customers at this time of year. So much so, customers can eagerly await to see what new tricks the marketing magicians behind some of the world’s most famous names will do each year – and we are often delighted by the surprises they have in store. 

In fact, some iconic brands use minimal wordplay as they really know how to use the right imagery to awaken the spirit of their product:

It’s clear when brands have considered all aspects of their brand identity to deliver amazing assets at Halloween. Whatever’s being cooked up in the creative cauldron, make sure all digital assets are in one place – so every team can take away the breath of their audience. 

Avoid facing a cultural nuance nightmare

Each region your brand operates in may do Halloween differently. With Halloween culture, stories and themes must speak to local tastes. While one nation may embrace particular Hollywood horror characters, others may conjure up more of a witchcraft and wizardry atmosphere.

Of course, it’s important to be aware which countries do something different to Halloween too and to not assume your global creative ideas will work everywhere. For example, in Latin America, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a celebration of life and death and not a cultural ‘version’ of Halloween – besides, they are celebrated on different days, with the region seeing Halloween as more for children than the wider culture. It matters to make sure you know your audience and prepare your teams to speak to them seasonally in their own way.

Fanta Misterio was a bewitching blend from Coca Cola that managed to walk between the two worlds in the runup to both celebrations. Playing on words like ‘fantasma’ – the word for ‘ghost’ in Spanish – shows the wisdom of the Fanta brand to balance global identity with regional resonance, to enchant audiences with spooky puns wherever they are.

Your global campaign must be able to speak to its audience locally, or teams must create different campaigns that appeal to the nuances (and nightmares) of their neighbourhood.

Empowering teams to create unlimited customisable assets in their own language, or adding specific elements only locals would appreciate, can mean everyone can get some sleep knowing the brand is safe and sound. Not having such solutions, and leaving teams to use free online tools that won’t align marketing materials to brand guidelines, could be the thing that goes bump in your bottom line.

Let brand consistency lift your spirits

While crafting Halloween marketing materials may seem like a terrifying task, remember that having a smart creative team, with tools at your disposal to make sure the horror of diluting your brand never sees the light of day, can make this a frighteningly fun time of year for marketing teams and customers.

If you’ve been haunted by the realisation that you weren’t fully prepared this year, see how our brand management platform can empower your team to efficiently activate your brand in every location, and for every seasonal event – so get set for a fiendishly delightful Halloween, year after year.

Brand consistencyLeave a Comment on Brand guidelines are at the heart of your on-brand culture

Brand guidelines are at the heart of your on-brand culture

These days most people know what a brand is. Or they think they do. People globally recognise the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle, the phrase ‘I’m loving it’, or the Nike Swoosh.

But as all marketers know, brand goes far deeper than a logo or image and in this article we will explore exactly how to create brand consistency, which in turn will help to foster an on-brand culture. We will also look at why this is so important, how you can use brand management software to achieve brand compliance, and the risks if you don’t get your brand culture on point. 

What’s in a brand? 

The logo is just the start – any company needs a clear set of brand guidelines covering everything from use of images to tone of voice and as marketers you will know that there is a lot of detail needed in between — you will need clear direction on how to present dates and numbers, logo placement, use of punctuation, and more.

When you have effective brand guidelines and brand assets — including campaign information and design templates – the marketing team will know exactly how to use words and imagery to communicate your brand consistently and to convey the right look and feel.  

Why is brand consistency important? 

In today’s competitive business landscape, establishing a strong brand identity has become more crucial than ever before. With countless options available to consumers and rapidly evolving market trends, companies need to find ways to stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression. One key strategy you can’t ignore is by being on-brand – at every touchpoint.

When your brand elements, such as your logo, colour palette, and typography, are consistently applied across all platforms, your audience can quickly identify and distinguish your business from others. This recognition fosters trust and familiarity, making customers more likely to choose your brand over competitors. 

And, when you are maintaining brand consistency across all elements — from visuals to messaging — this can significantly impact your business’ success and help you build a loyal customer base. What’s more, being on-brand helps showcase your unique selling proposition which enables you to differentiate yourself from similar businesses.  

Ultimately, a strong brand identity sets you apart and gives potential customers a reason to choose you over other options. Just make sure you have software that ensures your people actually implement the brand guidelines you worked so hard to establish.

Being on-brand creates customer loyalty 

When customers encounter a brand that delivers a consistent experience, it creates a sense of reliability, dependability and trust. They come to expect a certain level of quality and value, which helps build a strong reputation for your business

Without this, your company will not come across as professional and credible. It’s that familiarity which brings reassurance to the customer that your company will deliver on its promise, regardless of the product or service you offer. You need every image to be precise and the tone accurate, otherwise your customers will find your competitors more attractive.  

The benefits of a deeper connection 

When your brand consistently communicates its values, personality, and purpose, it creates an emotional resonance with your target market. By tapping into their aspirations, desires, or pain points, you can forge a deep connection that goes beyond transactional relationships. 

When customers feel emotionally connected to your brand, they are more likely to become loyal advocates. They become brand ambassadors, sharing their positive experiences with others and fostering word-of-mouth marketing. Consistency in your branding ensures that these advocates have a clear and compelling message to convey, further strengthening brand loyalty — whether they engage with your brand online, visit your physical store, or interact with your social media accounts, they should feel like they are part of a unified brand ecosystem. This consistency not only enhances customer satisfaction but also fosters positive associations with your brand. 

Connecting with staff as part of an on-brand culture 

An on-brand culture goes beyond look and feel and is not just about your customers. It’s about values and this ties into how your employees feel, about what makes your staff, and therefore your company, tick. Think of the brand guidelines – the imagery and tone – as the skin of the company, whilst the culture is the heart. You want everyone to embody the same positive attitude, so ask yourself what it is that has drawn your employees to working for you? What values and beliefs are we tapping into, and what’s your ethos? 

It’s all about employee engagement. Modern working culture frequently sees staff look for a company perspective on diversity (particularly Gen Z) and sustainability, rather than simply the product or service you offer – they want something that chimes with their value system. 

This links to your Employee Value Proposition as employees, and your audience, will be looking at what sets you apart from your competitors, when considering working for, or leaving your company. The danger here is that they may find your competitors more attractive as without a consistent brand and an on-brand culture you will not achieve salience.

Plus, you want them to become brand ambassadors and promote your company favourably and consistently too. All of this is part of a strong employer branding strategy, and a brand management software should support your teams to help you become an employer of choice for the best talent.

Going global while staying local 

Last but by no means least, you need to consider the international nuances for your brand, both in terms of look and feel but also tone and language. This is where you need some expert translation to ensure that your message lands well with your audience, wherever they are internationally, and always remains on-brand.

You will want to ensure that you respect and acknowledge the differences between global and local audiences, whilst still communicating the core brand identity across cultural, regional, and local nuances and languages.

If you want to build an on-brand culture across your enterprise, a brand management platform provides a foundation for your teams worldwide. As part of the Papirfly Platform, you can create this foundation as you educate your people and maintain control. Your brand portal solution is Point, as the starting point of our full suite of products which includes a DAM to manage and access all your brand assets – plus on-brand templating to enable you to achieve brand consistency in all asset creation, salience and in turn, a global on-brand culture.

Brand consistencyLeave a Comment on How brand consistency positively impacts budgets and ROI

How brand consistency positively impacts budgets and ROI

In today’s highly competitive landscape, it’s never been more important to maintain brand consistency. In order to stand apart from competitors, clear, distinct and steady branding is vital in building that strong emotional connection with your target audience. 

Your brand is your organisation’s identity. It’s the personality that potential customers see and identify with. This means that any semblance of brand confusion – be it an inconsistent brand presentation across your marketing channels or an ill-thought-out campaign jumping on a recent trend – can cause customers to lose trust in your company.

The consequence of poor brand messaging with your target audience has a knock-on effect on your ROI. Whether it’s loss of revenue from customers disillusioned by your unsuccessful branding, or investment wasted on campaigns that aren’t aligned with your unique brand identity, the impact of inconsistent branding can be far-reaching. 

So what are the effects of inconsistent branding? What pitfalls should marketers avoid? And what action can you teams take on marketing campaigns to build trust, prevent poor branding, and create a positive customer experience and improve ROI in the long term?

Where brand consistency falls down

First, let’s explore some of the most frequent factors behind inconsistent branding, and how this manifests itself.

Poorly implemented brand guidelines

Your brand guidelines should be at the heart of all past, present and future campaigns. They should highlight to your team members the core of what makes your branding efforts unique – whether they’re established veterans or freshly recruited, and wherever they’re based across the globe.

These range from details like approved colour schemes, brand styles and brand voice, right through to overarching explanations of your company’s values and ambitions. If these are strictly followed and communicated, there should be no threat to brand consistency.

However, would it surprise you to read that Marq (formerly LucidPress) has reported that while 95% of organisations have brand guidelines set up, only a quarter of these are actually observed?

How brand consistency positively impacts budgets and ROI

Without a clear understanding of the fundamental aspects of your brand, it’s impossible for teams to deliver brand assets consistently. There is too much room for interpretation and guesswork – both of which are big contributors to brand confusion.

This is why any brand management solution should include a dedicated portal to support  educating teams on their brand. It provides a distinct area users can visit to explore their brand guidelines and everything else necessary to deliver successful branding.

You’ve lost sight of your brand vision

Times change, and brands have to adapt with these in order to survive and thrive. However, meeting new trends and keeping up-to-date doesn’t mean losing your brand identity or your brand vision.

Your brand vision is a core component in what drives your company forward and why you approach your work in the way that you do. It informs your branding strategies, making clear what your company stands for and what makes it unique. 

Losing sight of this in an effort to stay on top of the latest trends might seem like a way to capture audiences with positive emotions in the short term. Without oversight and vision, however, it quickly undermines your original brand identity and any positive traction you’ve made on building brand equity.

Not keeping in touch with your target audience

Similar to the above, the impact of not having consistent branding can come as a result of not understanding the needs of your target audience, nor the activities that build trust in your brand in the first place.

The “New Coke” campaign is a clear example of this. While Coca-Cola flourishes as one of the world’s premier brands with a consistently maintained image, the company’s reaction to a decade of popularity for “The Pepsi Challenge” launched in 1975, saw the creation of New Coke – which proved to be a disastrous break away from what their audience wanted or expected.

Audiences want to know that the brands they’re loyal to understand them in a way their competitors don’t. If you don’t stay engaged with your audience’s interests, and adapt your messaging as this evolves over time, your branding efforts will eventually become inconsistent with what they associate with your organisation.

However, the best brands learn lessons and make those slip ups work in their favour. In 2019 the company signed an agreement with the Netflix show, Stranger Things, to feature the failed New Coke product in episodes. With the third season of the hit show set in 1985, Coca-Cola was able to bring a narrative of 80s nostalgia while showing its ability to make fun of itself as a brand – a charming and creative way to enhance its resonance with customers.

Miscommunication between global teams

When it comes to defining inconsistencies and where they come from, a common source is miscommunication. This is particularly a problem for businesses that have teams scattered across the globe, or those who work with external agencies to produce and distribute some of their brand assets.

While this can work in theory, it leaves a lot of room for mistakes. If parties miscommunicate, or instructions are misinterpreted by those responsible for creating the asset, then branding efforts can quickly be undermined.

This can result in poor branding, which either needs to be reviewed, briefed again, redone, reviewed again, and so forth, wasting time and resources. It could also be released to your audience, undermining efforts to build trust and damaging your brand identity.

Understanding the impact of inconsistent branding

So, now we’ve presented a few examples of the sources of brand confusion, how does this undermine your efforts to build a strong brand? You need to consider:

  • The time and resources you are investing into correcting poor branding
  • The time and resources it will take to gradually build the trust and loyalty of customers who have been disillusioned due to any negative branding
  • The damage that is being left to your overall reputation as a result of brand confusion

How to avoid brand confusion

If your brand’s messages, visuals and campaigns across your channels are misaligned, you are sending out confusing signals to your audience. Over time this can significantly undermine your customer experience and brand reputation. 

If you are concerned that your efforts are not ensuring brand consistency, consider the following steps:

Make your brand guidelines visible and accessible

Your brand guidelines are your strongest line of defence against brand inconsistency. Make sure they are stored in an accessible location for those responsible for your marketing channels worldwide, and provide prompt guidance if these are updated at any point.

Bring your team on board

As well as placing a more prominent focus on your brand guidelines, it’s important to ensure your team understands it. Ideally this should be done directly, either in the form of a branding masterclass meeting or group workshop, ensuring that everyone involved in executing brand strategies does so consistently.

Establish powerful approval workflows

To reduce any wasted resources on proofing, revising and reviewing assets, set approval workflows to lockdown on any inconsistencies immediately. These parameters keep your marketers and graphic designers in check, reducing the risk of anything being released that doesn’t accurately reflect your brand identity.

Build trust by asking customers for feedback

If you are worried that your brand message might be diverging with the interests and values of your customers, ask them for their feedback via email marketing, social media or other channels. This will help shape your understanding of what customers want from your brand and if you are delivering on these expectations.

The importance of brand consistency

Always remember that brand consistency is a mark of quality. It emphasises to your customers that you are a professional organisation that offers them stability, reliability and attention to detail. 

Any deviation from this can hurt the trust you’ve spent a long time building up among your various target audiences. This will leave an unflattering mark on your budget, and the return on investment you can expect from your campaigns.

Take marketing in-house

At Papirfly, we are leading the way on brand consistency. Through our dedicated software, our clients are ensuring seamless integration across their marketing channels. This empowers their teams worldwide with the tools to develop their own brand assets – all while observing brand guidelines and being monitored by key personnel.

Our brand management platform unlocks the potential to bring your branding in-house like never before. By providing your global teams with a platform to create studio-standard brand assets for your campaigns, you can reduce your reliance on external agencies and minimise the inconsistencies this can cause for your marketing. Mastering brand consistency is possible, with the right strategy and the most innovative brand management software.