A good, well-established, consistent brand image is a very valuable asset for any company to help grow their brand and expand their customer base.
Here are 10 tips for creating and maintaining a consistent brand image for your brand.
Feel free to get a pen and paper out or open the notes on your device to take down some notes.
Think about why you want to build a brand
The first tip to a consistent brand image is figuring out why you want to build a brand around your product or service. The obvious answer to why you would want to build a brand is to make your brand appear appealing and attract customers, but there should always be something more than just the obvious answer.
Is your business strictly for money, something you’re passionate about, or maybe personal advocacy? Thinking about why you want to build a brand will make your work more purposeful and goal-oriented.
The reason why you would want to build a brand is in order for people to associate your business with something. That something is entirely up to you. The easiest way to be consistent in how you present your product or service is by being genuine. It might sound corny, but if it comes naturally then you wouldn’t really need to think about it much and it’ll show in your brand.
Making the most out of having a good and consistent brand identity for your products and services is maximizing your customer’s good perception of your business. In order to be consistent, your company and the products or services you offer have to be in line with what you decide to market to your consumers, and how your customers perceive your products and services to be.
In simpler terms, you have to meet your end of the deal because no matter how good your branding may be, at the end of the day, the branding that you will have is based on your customer’s perception of your company.
The best way to organically get people to like your business or company is by offering a product or a service of value, and at the same time how you present this value to your customers as an intention of goodwill and as a mutual benefit to you and your audience.
Gather your ideas and boil them down
The second tip to a consistent brand image is to figure out what you want to accomplish as a brand. This is the brainstorming part of the process. It’s been said to death but it’s important to work smarter than work harder.
This is the part where you conceptualize how you want your business to be known as and the best way to present your products or services in the most marketable fashion possible.
A good practice is to list down all the ideas in your head on how you would want your business to be known. After which you compress that list further down by comparing the items to each other and finding something common between them. Repeat this until you are left with about three items. These three items will be the main key points that your business will use as a benchmark for branding.
This practice works because you’re not making stuff up from your key points, instead, you arrived at your key points from the ideas that you listed down. The ideas that you list down should come from what you want, what your customers want, and what is not being done by your competition.
Love at first sight
The third tip to a consistent brand image is quite an obvious one. Anyone should be able to look at your logo or design and immediately be able to make a good guess on what kind of business you are running. There should always be a theme or an element that speaks to the viewer and gives them that idea we talked about earlier.
There’s a science to how people react to certain shapes,colors, patterns and images and what these things mean changes from time to time. Think about it, why do brands always change their logos? Coca-Cola has changed their logo many times depending on the current aesthetic that’s in style. One of their logos used to be an actual coke bottle on the logo and now it’s a silhouette of multiple coke bottles because minimalism is what’s trending right now.
There’s a reason why I’m bringing this up because it’s something that you can apply now and in the long run. Remember how the Twitter bird used to have an eye or how the Facebook logo used to be glossy? Remember how the “tube” in Youtube used to be red and now it’s just black or how the Instagram logo was an actual camera? The reason why companies make these changes is because they want to make their logos pleasing to the eye and what’s “pleasing” always changes.
The logos of these companies always change but the general idea always stays the same. They always convey the same message they want to say and no matter what design. If you were to look at both the old and new logo of Instagram you would still be able to tell that it had something to do with your phone’s camera.
Always make your branding as obvious as possible.
Study, study, study
The fourth tip is to do your homework and do extensive research.
The purpose of this is to give yourself something to base your ideas on. The key ideas that you have should have some facts and realities that back them up in order for them to work. Review the surveys, read the literature, listen to podcasts, watch the trends, and above all, take notes of every bit of information that you think may be useful.
How does this step give consistency to a brand image? Well in order to keep up the image you will create for your brand, you would need to make well-informed decisions in order to steer your brand in the right direction.
A sample list of things you can research on:
- Other companies strategy in building their brands
- Brand manuals of other companies
- How companies advertise and the similarities between successful campaigns
- Aesthetics (Pinterest, Instagram, Website designs)
- Content (Articles, Videos, and Pictures)
- And many more!
The key focus when doing research and studying the in and outs of the business is having a set goal in mind. Whether it’s wanting to learn how to put up ads on Facebook or how to market your products on Amazon, take note of what’s important and actionable.
Refine and refine
The fifth tip is to constantly revise what you currently have now. The first draft of anything is always going to be bad. Constantly adjust your strategy based on what you learn from your research. It’s a guarantee that there’s always a better way of doing things and small improvements can help your business a lot in the long run.
The purpose of this is to create a mindset that allows you to find ways to do things better. Innovation is one of the biggest assets a business can have and the key is to stick with your guns, the key ideas, while at the same time figuring out ways to better communicate your key ideas through marketing, products, customer relations etc.
Constant revisions and action is looking for ways to improve by being your own worst critic.
This means constantly being critical and knowing which areas you are strong and which areas you are weak in, and the purpose of constantly revising is to minimize these weaknesses and, at the same time maximizing your Strengths.
An example of this is if you own a small business, you have the potential to get into your local market and establish better customer relationships by being able to have a more personal relationship with your customers compared to the big corporations.
The sixth tip to a consistent brand image is creating your brand manual. A brand manual is a set of guidelines and rules that serve as a guide on how your company will present itself. It’s practically the Do’s and Don’ts of how you handle your public perception, media creation, and brand maintenance.
A brand manual should be easy to understand. Assume that the reader has no idea about what your key points are and the brand manual should be able to answer all of their questions about your business image.
Here’s how you can make your own brand manual
The first part of your brand manual is explaining what your key points are and how these key points are represented by things like your logos, website, business model, etc. The logo is the primary thing that people will recognize your company by. Go into detail about how each of these is conveying your key ideas to your customers and what ideas each of these things represent.
For more on the importance of a logo for any brand, check out my article on it here.
The purpose of this is to lay the groundwork on how your graphic designer, web designer, product manager, or even your customer service will work in your business. Your employees should know what expectations you’re setting for them and it’s important to be as clear as possible so that those expectations are met.
The second part of creating a brand manual is adding in the specifications. You should consult with your main graphic designer and writer in creating this part.
The purpose of this section of your brand manual is to make sure that your media stays consistent. This is where you list down the specific color tones, specific dimensions and proportions to make your logo, including the rest of your graphic media, and the purpose of your media.
This is where you set up key focus words that all articles and pieces of writing can use to relate to your brand. Think of this part as the recipe which includes the ingredients and the steps to recreate your media and brand look and feel.
The purpose of this part is to protect your brand from knock offs and provide consistency by teaching your current and future employees on how to recreate the key ideas, and handle and present your brand.
List down what not to do
The third part of creating a brand manual is listing down what not to do. The reason for this is that there are some things that should not be changed independently as this would create inconsistencies or a bad look for your brand. An example of this would be stretching your logo or changing the color pattern.
The purpose of this part is to lay down a boundary as to what your graphic designer and the team can and cannot do with regards to presenting your brand. This is not meant to hinder innovation but instead think of it as a safeguard to ensure that your brand sticks to its original key ideas.
The fourth part of creating a brand manual is defining terms or terminology. Within your business, there are essential terminologies that are specific to your products, niche, or ideas.
The purpose of this is to ensure that your employees are well versed in the business that they are in. It ensures that everything is communicated well and in a way that is the most accurate representation of your brand.
An example of this would be the school registrar. They may not know how to teach mathematics or how to interact with students but they surely know what courses you would need to take in order to get a certain degree because they’re the ones that receive the money for a student’s tuition and transfer that money to fund a course.
Concept and Execution
The seventh tip to a consistent brand image is creating a system that works for you.
The purpose of branding is to establish a certain reputation from creating a certain experience that people get when interacting with your business in any form. Simply put, this is the part where your ideas are put into action and how your customers will interact with these ideas.
You’ve studied the research and you’ve constantly revised your ideas based on this research. Now, this is the part where you start applying ideas to content.
Content is what gives customers the opportunity to learn more about what your business is about. This ranges from the advertisements you post, the articles on your website, or how you present your products or services. The quality of this content will be determined by two things: how well your ideas are fleshed out and how well your employees can bring those ideas to the table for customers.
The purpose of good execution is to be the actionable part of building a brand. This is where all the research, ideas, art, philosophy of your brand meshes with the reality of the market.
The best idea in the world is absolutely useless if it doesn’t create anything.Louis Pretorius – ultimatebrandbible.com
This tip is the most important tip in this article because this is what will actually bring a customer’s attention to your brand.
This is how you execute your ideas well:
- Set realistic expectations on what you can achieve with the current resources you put into this aspect of your business. You can’t plan how your brand will look and feel forever and everything costs money as you go along this process.
- An example of applying this would be to set a group of deliverables, something that can be used for marketing, from your employees within a certain time frame.
- From there keep on setting deliverables while constantly looking at what works and what doesn’t with your target audience.
- Identify your ideas that are winners and that are losers and focus on what worked.
- Build a brand that fits into how you envisioned your business and what customers actually want to see.
The eight tip is being careful with how you present yourself to the public and ensuring that your products or services meet what you’ve advertised. I’ll give two examples of this to illustrate this point
The first example is a fault in the product. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was notorious for catching on fire and it caused Samsung to recall the product. The solution Samsung came up with was to recall the product and offer a replacement for its customers.
This created an even bigger problem because the replacements also ended up catching on fire. In the end, Samsung had almost all the phones recalled and ceased production for the Galaxy Note 7. This cost the company approximately $5 billion in losses and a marketing headache on top of that.
The second example is a fault in advertising and marketing. The Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner was heavily criticized in social media because of how Pepsi commercialized social justice. According to a case study this fault created a decade low for Pepsi in terms of brand perception and purchasing considerations.
Although Pepsi has managed to recover from this, it took them 12 months to recover with other ad campaigns and promotions before returning to their normal sales figures.
The important takeaway from both of these examples is to be careful and to think things through before executing them. It doesn’t hurt to test out your products or services if you are unsure about the quality or to seek advice for your new ad campaign from a fresh set of eyes.
You and the customer
The ninth tip is establishing a relationship with your customer. The biggest number of sales actually come from returning customers rather than new customers. Be involved by fostering relationships with your customers.
This includes things like using promotions or organizing events that offer a different way to engage with your customers. These can either be through loyalty programs or giving customers benefits from referencing other customers. This gives your customers an incentive to engage with your brand and this will help in maintaining a good brand image.
Allow and provide an avenue for customers to give feedback, thereby giving them a sense of importance when dealing with you.
Here are a few tips and tricks that companies use when dealing with customer relationships and customer care related services, and how they ensure that their customers have a good image of their brand.
The best way to ensure consistently good customer service is to find quality means for your team and the customer to communicate with each other.
There should be enough resources for your company to address the problems of your clients while at the same time being able to do this in an efficient manner with the least inconvenience between you and your customers.
In speaking with customers, you should always be positive and reiterate to your employees to be patient, even if a customer may be disagreeable at times.
This would help keep your company in a good light by ensuring that all due respect is given to your customers, and at the same time showing that your company is willing to work with them.
Keeping up with world
The tenth tip is to always adjust to the market. It’s been constantly mentioned in the article that what might be trending now will not be trending in the future and for your company to succeed in terms of keeping consistent branding is the following:
You have to keep up with the trends by anticipating them and to come up with a strategy that would allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors, while at the same time provide a fresh approach to the upcoming trend.
In more understandable terms, this would be the part in which your company would be innovating your products or services whether it be the design of the product or how the product will be presented to consumers.
The end goal is to switch it up in such a way that it makes it seem that you are giving value in a unique way, either by improving or by offering something else that wasn’t being offered before. Remember the fourth and fifth tip of this article for guidelines on how to innovate.
By consistently anticipating these trends you can maintain a good brand image with your customers by offering a product that can meet their new and changing demands.
For more on the differences between brand image and brand identity, you can check out my article explaining it in detail here.
Creating and maintaining a good brand image is extremely important to the growth and success of any brand. I hope you have gotten some value from these 10 tips and wish you all the success for your brand.