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Brand: brick by brick

By Grant Shippey

Smart companies today recognise the necessity of making sure its brand is consistent — and as good as it can be — wherever it shows up. They realise that building a brand is all about uniform, unmistakable recognition. About creating an image of unity. It’s about looking big… even if you aren’t.

As far as your brand is concerned, variety is your enemy. What consumers perceive as quality is really consistency. So, if you are trying to build a brand, your customers will need to receive the same visual message whenever and wherever they encounter your business. The tools the salespeople use to sell, your public relations efforts and follow-up customer service must all reflect brand values and impart a consistent brand image.

But how can you make sure your brand is consistent? Consider the following:

* Is your logo on your email? Chances are you already have a logo, and chances are you paid a lot of money to develop it. So, put it to use – email is your most frequently used digital channel and thus perfect for consistent branding efforts.
* Does your above the line copy have a certain style, tone and manner? So why does your web copy read like a dissertation? Designers have a strong tendency to try to show off the powers of the Web instead of continuing and building on a client’s developed and tested identity. This is a mistake. It is important to present a seamless identity.
* Are you using bad quality images and non-corporate fonts on the web? Regardless of the medium, the professional image of the company should always be the same, but companies’ Internet presences are often where the brand breaks down.
* You have major departments filled with technical marketers – do you have a web version of their expertise? You have the expertise available, so why aren’t you communicating it to your customers using the various channels available to you?
* Why do your PowerPoint and Word documents look like they belong to a different company? Consistency across the board is one of the easiest ways for a company to appear professional.

Ultimately, brand building is a slow process. So have patience, and don’t tamper. Be consistent from the onset, because consistency plays a very important role in development of the brand image. Frequent changes in brand image will make it lose credibility in the minds of customers, as the contradictory signals reaching them through different channels will only confuse them.

Regular columnist Grant Shippey heads up amorphous, a digital communications group focused on the provision of new media services and traditional marketing. He can be contacted on Tel. (011) 380-6500, or visit their web site on http://www.amorphous.net

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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