Branding – Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

by Laura Lowell on October 6, 2009

brand consistencyJust as in the world of Real Estate it is all about “location, location, location”; in the world of marketing it is all about “consistency, consistency, consistency”.

In conjunction with a sound brand strategy, you need a clear and concise message that resonates with your customers. These messages need to be integrated across your brand and into every customer touch point.  Now, you don’t need to use the same words over and over. However, each communication needs to reinforce the key messages that have been developed to support the brand.  It is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts – when the brand is consistently conveyed across multiple touch points, the customer is left with a clear understanding of what the company, product, service, or solution is and how it solves their problem. Simply put, they know what your brand is about.

Unfortunately, as marketers we often get bored with the messages we’ve developed.  We’ve spent hours fine-tuning them and testing them.  Finally, our campaigns launch and the messages are out there, but by that time they feel old and stale to us.  There is a difference between a “fresh” message (with unique language, a clever play on words, a connection to a current event) and a “different” message (not aligned with strategy, not related to existing messages, different for the sake of being different).  Research shows that it takes anywhere from five to nine impressions for an individual to actually internalize a marketing message.  That means they need to see it over and over again.  Not the same words, but the same idea supported by the same brand.

For example, an article in a trade publication mentions the company and their new product; the customer sees an online banner ad, they click on it, and get to a landing page with a compelling offer; they do a Google search to see what else comes up and there is a link to your latest white paper; at an industry tradeshow the company has a booth and is hosting a panel discussion…and the story continues.  With consistent use of key messages across multiple touch-points your customers comes away with the sense that your company is worth their consideration.

Now you have a place to start engaging and driving purchase decisions.  This model holds true for consumer and business marketing.  People are people, whether they are buying high-end mission-critical software or a new plasma HDTV for their living room.  They have a problem.  Through your consistent messages, you have convinced them to consider your product or service as they evaluate their options.  You still have to convince them that your product or solution is really the only one that really addresses all their needs – from technical specifications to user support, maintenance and financing (again, these apply to consumer and business purchases.)

Again, consistency is key.  Your customers need to see and feel that your company is honest and trustworthy.  If there is a disconnect between what you say and what they experience, you will lose the sale, and worse, probably the customer.  So, while consistency in messaging is important…consistency in execution is critical, too.  Both pieces of this puzzle need to be addressed in order for the whole thing to work.  If you only focus on the messaging, then your experience will fall flat.  If you don’t explain your differences and benefits, then you won’t get the chance to display your stellar experience.  No matter how you look at it, consistency is the key to growing you brand and your business

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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