With so much content flowing through an organization, from ad campaigns and branded marketing materials to digital media content and social media updates, it’s easy to see how a company could get a little lost while trying to maintain a consistent brand identity.
Multiple people creating many branded elements can make it difficult to keep things aligned. For both big corporations and small business, it can be easy to veer off course, sometimes without even realizing it.
The lack of consistency may not be noticeable at first, but failing to identify and stick to a consistent brand identity can eventually have a negative impact. The brand can become disjointed, unreliable and divided so much that it confuses customers, clients, employees, and even the executive team.
So, if you feel like you’re starting lose the identify of your brand throughout your organization, use these steps to get back on course.
It’s difficult to put any plan into action when you don’t understand why you are doing it. So first, you need to understand why consistent branding matters. Also, train your team to know the same so they see the value in consistent brand positioning.
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A brand isn’t just about the way a company’s logo looks. It is about who they are and why they are in business, so be sure to document those values and guidelines.
Once you understand the value of a consistent brand, you will see why a brand guide is an essential business document. Every business, both big and small, should have a complete brand guide with sections related to:
As you build your handbook, look at examples of brand guides to get ideas for creating a document that establishes guidelines and helps keep your entire business on the same page.
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Branding seems like a topic that is reserved for the marketing and design departments, but it should be incorporated into a whole organization.
Because the brand guide explains not only how the company is presented, but also what the brand is founded on, it needs to be available to all departments including:
A brand guide serves as a valuable resource for all layers of an organization and even some people outside of the origination.
Once you establish clear and consistent brand guidelines, put them to work. Audit and update all of your existing branded materials to ensure that they match the new brand guide.
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Update the obvious marketing resources such as:
But, don’t forget subtle elements of your business that also represent your brand such as store decor, on-hold messaging, packaging and labels, employee uniforms and overhead music.
Remember, your brand isn’t just about placing your logo in the right place. It’s about the entire customer experience. Your brand should be consistently represented at each customer-facing touchpoint within your organization.
Once you go through steps one through four, your work isn’t over. Failing to follow through with this final step will take right back where you started -- slowly shifting away from your core brand identity.
Without a plan for committing to consistency in the future, you put yourself at risk for falling back into your old ways and losing your identity. So, set a plan for the future.
Checking in and ensuring that you are aligned with your brand guide will provide clarity for customers, clients, employees, potential partners, and executive teams. So, don’t put off these five simple steps.
Create and stick to a brand plan will help your organization stand out, build trust, and present a memorable experience for every person who connects with your organization.