Whether in print, online, or on signage, you want to make sure that your branding is consistent, meaning that you present the same image on a regular basis. Maintaining brand consistency is important – you don’t want to confuse or alienate your target audience. When we come across branding inconsistencies (aka “brand drift”) in organizations (both large and small) they are typically due to two factors:
Small changes that happen over time because a marketing team or other individuals in the company get “tired” of presenting the same message over and over again. This is a major trap that brands fall into, but in reality, by the time a marketing team has seen their brand message a bazillion times (a totally scientific number, btw!), the general public may have seen it 12 times and are just starting to recognize it.
Changes that occur because there are multiple individuals, groups or teams handling a brand who don’t stick to brand standards – a change of color here, an experimental font there, photos that don’t match, and soon, brand consistency goes out the window.
So how can organizations prevent brand drift and cultivate consistency?
Educate – Your team cannot be responsible for upholding guidelines they don’t understand. Make sure before you roll out new brand guidelines or changes to existing guidelines, that you educate across the organization. Provide examples of what to do (and what not to do) so the guidelines are easily understandable.
Review – Make sure there is at least one person on your team (or if you are a large organization, multiple people) who understand the brand guidelines and review all materials that go out.
Audit – During set times throughout the year, pull up the materials that have been created and audit your content for brand consistency. If you can, do this as a team to ensure that everyone knows what’s worked, what hasn’t and has a fresh understanding of the guidelines.
Branding is something that every organization needs to do, and by cultivating a consistent brand, they can better reach their target audience. What does your organization do to uphold your brand standards?