Whether it’s designing, messaging, communication, or the identity, look and feel you want to create. There is a lot to consider with ‘brand consistency’.
Think of it like this, you’ve devoted hours of your time to build a look and feel for your brand. You considered and…
- Identified the target audience
- Developed strong brand identity and visual communication
- Crafted a set of consistent brand design assets
- Outlined a marketing strategy approach and brand awareness campaign
Through continuous engagement and visibility, the audience become familiar with the brand through and through its associated touch points.
Over time, Brands find a place in people’s minds and hearts as they navigate the world.
Occasionally, Brands can choose to go ‘off-brand’. Maybe they want to mix it up, cause a stir or draw attention. Done correctly, it could amplify what they are trying to do. At the same time, it could have an adverse effect and cause confusion.
Brand Guidelines can help
Brand Guidelines are, what they say they are. A guideline to follow a particular approach, ensuring consistency across all communications, messaging and touchpoints.
The guide can help those outside of the brand to work with it, and understand it better. Brand Guidelines are vital to help a brand get ahead.
If we look at the design, going off-brand could mean that different ‘brand colours’ or different fonts are used. Subtle changes like these could make the brand unfamiliar. It’s not aligned with the vision that the audience have built up in their minds. Imagine Starbucks changing all of its brand colours to bright pink..!
Messaging can also go ‘off-brand’. For example, if a professional, or corporate brand uses slang, swear words and unfamiliar language, it goes against the professional image they are portraying. Some may feel offended. It could damage the brand’s reputation. Going off-brand’ is unfamiliar territory and creates a disconnect between what the audience know, like and trust.
Keeping ‘on brand’ can help in two big ways:
- Clear communication, loyalty, and trust: Familiarity leads to action and unfamiliarity leads to confusion. Approaching communication with a creative head can unleash the best ideas, but these ideas should be tested in small groups before public and formal release. This will help to avoid any possible damage to the reputation that the brand has built.
- Improve brand awareness: Ensuring that the voice, messaging and communication align back to the brand makes it easier for people to connect with it. When they see, hear, or think about the brand, that consistency will help it to be remembered.
Let’s think about the Coca-Cola brand. It’s immediately distinguishable in every village, town and city across the world. The design, shape and feel of their iconic bottle design are distinguishable from others. The level of detail that they have established over the years has created a familiarity that is known globally.
Finding a balance is key.
Building consistency initially with the ‘on-brand’ approach helps to lay that foundation. From there, it becomes easier to explore off-brand approaches, that could benefit brand awareness.