For many business owners, the concept of brand seems abstract. When I lead workshops on this topic, I find that the attendees usually know they need a brand and have a basic understanding of the idea. What usually comes as a surprise is the scope that brand has in daily operations, the depth of application, and the number of aspects of your business it touches. Brand isn’t just a thing we talk about when we’re brainstorming a marketing plan to then forget about it forever. It isn’t just a framework for social media or other platforms. It’s a constant, and it’s a staple of a strong business. So, let’s talk about five rules for showing up and maintaining brand consistency!
First, it helps to clarify a common point of confusion. There is a difference between your branding and your brand. Although branding should be a manifestation of your brand, the two aren’t interchangeable terms. Read here for more on this!
If we focus on brand as a whole picture, what does it really encompass? Brand is who your company is and how it does business. Brand is what your business stands for. Brand is what your audience can expect to experience with you in every way that they can experience you.Brand is what your audience can expect to experience with you in every way that they can experience you. #marketing #brand #business #biztips #smallbusiness #smallbiz Click To Tweet
With that in mind, let’s explore 5 rules for brand consistency to help you stay on track:
- Everyone representing your business represents your brand. If you are a solopreneur, your brand may or may not be a direct reflection of you as a person. The more people you add to your team, remember that they are all a reflection of your brand, in and out of the office.
- Brand is more than the sum of its parts. Everything that your brand is will ultimately be determined through the eyes and ears of your audience. You put the pieces out there, and they put the full puzzle together themselves. Details like company values and tone of voice help you define brand. Protocol and procedure for how you do what you do feeds into it. At the end of the day, your brand is everything your audience sees that helps them assess who and what your business is. It’s important that all the pieces are part of the same puzzle!
- Your brand is being perceived by many audiences at once. Don’t forget that you have many audiences, and your brand reads to all of them, all of the time. From a marketing standpoint, you may be thinking of your brand as it relates to leads and customers, and even within that you may have multiple target markets. From a human resources standpoint, your brand is how your employees perceive you and your team culture. For sponsors, investors, or partners, brand may give them a picture of the overall strength of your business. Brand consistency matters from audience to audience. Although everyone might be looking more closely at different factors, it needs to look like all of them are viewing the same business!
- Brand is how you show up in a crisis. You may think more about brand when you are carefully crafting a message and when you have time to create the look you want. But brand is also what comes across in chaos, in emergencies, in stressful situations. When you don’t have brand consistency in these moments, it will be particularly evident to those who are watching. In fact, those tense or hectic moments are the ones when our brand will be the most scrutinized. Leaning into your brand at those times may make it easier to make quick decisions, and it may even be a source of comfort to an audience waiting for your next move! If you haven’t seen it before, I encourage you to check out my tip on Crisis Communications for Small Businesses and Nonprofits for insights.
- Brand is how you show up in any medium. Yes, your website has your brand written all over it. Your website is the product of all the time and energy you spent thinking about how you want to be perceived. But when a customer shows up at your door, do they meet the same brand that was sold to them on the website? Is your vibe coming off consistently in all modes of communication, including in person? If the same audience sees your brand come across differently, this will create confusion and discord…not sales!
Your brand matters. It matters to your audience. If they like your message, they want to know that they can expect you to be the same thing the next time they see you.
If brand consistency isn’t something you’ve thought about in a while, it may be worth taking a look back at what you’ve got out there to be sure you’re sending the message you want loudly, clearly, and consistently!
Need to revisit your what your brand is and make sure it’s aligned with the target markets you are trying to reach? Check out A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Brand and Reaching Your Target Market, my online course that walks you through the process of creating a brand that will drive your ideal audiences to you!