13 Feb Keep Your Brand Consistent Across the Web
Kids playing in the neighborhood know their mother’s yell when it is time to come in for dinner. With a special recognizable call, a farmer can signal their livestock, who immediately begin moving across the pasture in his direction. Similarly, with a strong brand, a business’s message stands out amidst the noise. Their loyal customers and prospects recognize it. But it only works if you keep your brand consistent.
A brand is your unique voice and visual style that makes your company’s message “click.” So, with all the different social platforms and ways the population consumes content, it is more important than ever to keep your brand consistent from one to the next.
Have you ever come across a company’s Facebook page and wondered if it’s really them? Or failed to make the connection between an ad online and one for the same product that you just saw on TV? You probably didn’t get a very strong or clear impression of that brand. You might have even wondered just what they sell. Make sure people recognize your brand, wherever they find it.
Consistent Appearance On Social Platforms
Successful companies reach their customers where they are. Today people spend a large portion of time on their mobile devices, browsing social media. Companies now have the challenge of maintaining a recognizable and consistent presence on an ever-changing list of social media channels and platforms.
Most social platforms have common traits. You can choose a username. You can set a profile image and often a large cover image. Some platforms allow you to customize the colors. Here are a few ideas to help guide your team through these decisions.
- Maintain an official collection of images that can be used on all social platforms. Stock photos or official photos can be updated periodically.
- Graphics, like logos should be versatile so that they can be cropped to look good if a platform requires it to be a different proportion.
- If the company is large, set up rules to constrain different regional offices or internal brands from creating their own presence. These rogue accounts can confuse customers and distract from the main corporate identity.
Demonstrate Consistent Voice and Values
When Wendy’s began taking snarky social media shots at McDonald’s, it made news. The image and voice of Wendy’s differed a great deal from the grandfatherly personality of Dave Thomas, its founder. Even though this smart, hip team were trouncing their biggest competitor in the social arena, there was a strange feeling that this wasn’t the Wendy’s personality we were used to.
When your brand speaks about style, products, and services, the audience should clearly see the personality of your business. However you feel about McDonald’s, their consistency keeps their counters and drive-thru filled with customers. People all around the world know they can get a standard, predictable experience when they visit a McDonald’s.
Personalities can shift over time, but trust and likability can take a hit as a result. When Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC, there were humorous rumors that they were no longer selling true chicken. Then when they used a hand-drawn animated, and more recently a live comedian version of Colonel Sanders, audiences took some time to adapt.
Document Your Brand for Contributors
If you rely on freelancers, a design team or third-party contributors to create content, a detailed style guide is a must. Some large companies offer brand guidelines right on their site for the public to see. Even if you manage a startup or a tiny nonprofit, take the time to create a style guide.
Whether you’re defining and executing your own work, or you have many contributors, make sure that you make it clear how your brand speaks to your customers. The tone, the grade-level of the writing, the look and feel of the graphical elements, and even the atmosphere of your physical locations all paint a picture. Make sure that when your customer sees your work, they don’t ask, “who is that?” And make sure they know what you stand for and what you offer.