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Why branding consistency is key

Uncategorized 27/08/2013 11:18 am

Written by Dominic Vanacore, Echo Graphics.

With a great product which conveys your brand as being fun, laid back and quirky is perfect. But all this work on the product can be undone with poor brand image consistency. Your website, business cards, letter heads, email communications, uniforms and even employee attitudes all play a part in portraying the brand image that you want to achieve.

Without consistency across all of these platforms the message you are trying to portray to your customers can be lost. If a customer thinks your product looks cool, but then when they visit your website it has a very old fashioned design and layout you can guarantee that cool image you once had is disappearing fast.

Your brand image should be the foundation of all marketing communications. By basing all of your communications around one consistent brand image you allow the customer to form strong opinions about the brand and associate certain emotions with your brand and product. Consider a tin of beans. There are many different varieties of baked beans on the shelf in a supermarket but ask what people think of them all and everyone has an opinion on how they taste. This is because of the branding efforts of Heinz for example in comparison to a value range which is purely trying to appeal on price.

With the number of ways brands can communicate increasing, both directly and indirectly, it can be easier to slip up on smaller items as you may think they are not important. ‘It’s only one post on twitter the language and tone doesn’t really matter’ or ‘it’s just one Facebook photo it doesn’t matter if we change the colour of our logo to make it fit’. But these things are crucial in creating the consistency that delivers a great brand image.

Customers who are passionate about a brand are much more likely to repeatedly purchase your products and even recommend them to others. Without some form of emotional connection to the brand it is hard to gain these passionate customers. For instance a cheaper entry model HTC or Nokia may do everything the user needs from a phone, but they would still go out and purchase an iPhone because of the aspirational nature of the product which makes the user feel good about having it. Now the user feels good about having an iPhone they are likely to tell their friends and family about how good the iPhone is and how they should purchase one themselves.

However without consistency this message is lost. It is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve with the amount of communication methods used today but it is something that brands must strive to achieve. Love them or hate them, Apple are great at this. You browse the website, visit the stores, talk to a member of staff and they all give you the same impression of the brand. The high quality is again expressed through the packaging and the build quality of the products. It is this consistency that has put them top of numerous worlds most powerful brands lists for quite a few years.

Despite their previous success Apple are taking steps which could alter the brand image. In light of Samsung closing the sales gap and even surpassing Apple in some areas, Apple have begun developing a budget iPhone to try and achieve greater market penetration. The logic behind the decision is clear, introduce a cheaper model to attract customers with a lower income in the hope that it increases overall sales, and then they will progress up the product chain to more expensive models once they are locked into the Apple brand.

However this may begin to dilute brand image. Depending on how they market the new model it could be detrimental to their performance on a whole as it will diminish the exclusivity aspect of the brand.

Only time will tell if this will be detrimental to brand image and if it effects sales of the more premium products. No doubt the model will be popular, but if this could affect sales of the higher models because people no longer see apple products as exclusive and aspirational, was it worth it?

The benefits of having a consistent brand image are not restricted to large global operations such as Apple. Even the smallest organisation can benefit from a consistent brand image. So take a look at your website, business cards and letter heads and ask yourself do these say the right thing about my brand?



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