Brand equity is the value and power of the brand that determines its worth. That value is determined by the collective consumers’ perception of, expectations of, and experiences with the brand. So branding is creating a perception in the minds of the customers and consistency is the key to branding success.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
~ Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
If people think highly of a brand, it has positive brand equity. When a brand consistently under-delivers and disappoints to the point where people recommend that others avoid it, it has negative brand equity.
Building brand equity is a long-term strategy. But if done well, it can provide many benefits to a business.
The key to building and maintaining brand value and equity is consistency.
Branding requires consistency and time. You cannot build brand equity overnight. There is a simple psychological reason why consistency is needed in building brand equity.
First and foremost, brand consistency is about trust.
Establishing trust is about getting people to feel they know you. For them to feel like they know you, they must be aware of you, recognize you, and remember you. For people to recognize and remember you, you must show up consistently. It takes time and repetition for customers to go from becoming aware of you to remembering, trusting, and considering you.
Think of all the most trusted brands in the world; McDonald’s for fast food, Nike for sports shoes, Google for search, Kelloggs for cereal, Harley Davidson for motorcycles, Starbucks for coffee, Singapore Airlines for air travel and Mercedes Benz for luxury cars, just to name a few.
These brands become trusted because their brand equity building process is consistent, across products and locations all over the world.
Brand consistency is the delivery of brand messaging in line with the brand identity, values, and strategy over time. Customers are exposed to a company’s visual branding, content and other brand elements repeatedly, which can help to solidify brand recognition.
Here are some critical areas to focus on when it comes to creating brand consistency:
A company’s brand identity includes its mission, vision, values, practices, logos, colours, fonts, tone, voice. It is all the constituent parts that form the character of the company, whether they are visible or invisible, tangible or intangible.
A company’s brand guidelines are the set of rules for how a company should represent itself in all forms of communication. These include specific guidelines on the use of brand assets such as logos, colours, fonts etc.
Brand guidelines can also be used to set the tone and style of communication, regardless of the medium. These guidelines will provide direction to every employee of the company and vendors for every form of marketing communication employed, and every piece of content that is created and shared.
Provide a consistent customer experience that builds trust and confidence in your brand.
It is the responsibility of every employee in the company to ensure the customer’s experience of dealing with the brand is positive and consistent.
“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”
~ David Packard, Co-founder, Hewlett-Packard
Customer experience is not just the responsibility of the marketing team since they may not be engaging with clients directly. At least, not in the actual point of purchase of a product or rendering of a service.
Customer experience can also include the consistency in the quality of the product, price point, accessibility of the product, and even the introduction of new products and services. Customers expect companies to continually innovate and improve their existing products and introduce new products.
So, beyond the fancy logo design motifs, vision statements and product packaging, what is most important is that consistency is the key to branding.