We have talked quite a bit in the past about branding-creating brand consistency and when to re-brand are both topics we have covered. If you missed them, read them here before reading the rest of this post:
If your just starting your business, these are great tips for creating brand consistency from the beginning. However, what if you own an established business or your business has undergone some changes in its structure, offerings or staffing? You should already have your branding in place, but with these changes, sometimes your branding needs to be altered as well. When changing your branding, be on the lookout for inconsistencies, especially when you have more than one staff member contributing to your marketing, graphics and social media, and be diligent in correcting them.
Here are our top 7 inconsistencies to watch for and how to fix them:
Keep the overall tone and voice of your brand consistent.
While it’s good to let employees express their own personality, the overall tone used needs to be consistent. This will be determined by your company specific. While a more creative field such as a restaurant or design studio could use a more witty or funny tone, a law office would want to take a more serious or factual approach.
Keep the overall design consistent.
Your logo, fonts and colors are all ways consumers identify with a business. Keeping the major design aspects consistent will allow for better brand recognition.
Make sure all materials are branded consistently.
Everything from your website, social media, brochures and signage should be consistent. If your brand changes, all must change.
Create a crisis plan.
Branding isn’t just about the look of your company, it’s also about how situations are handled. The way situations are responded to speaks volumes for your brand. Have an action plan in place and disperse to employees. This plan should include how to handle things such as possible employee issues within the company, negative reviews or feedback on social media and how to handle any negative press.
Checklists could be department specific or in general. For example, the graphics department would have a list that includes approved colors, fonts and logo stipulations. The marketing department would have a list including appropriate content topics, hashtags to be used, etc. This is a pretty simple way to make sure nothing is overlooked.
If you are really concerned about people following guidelines or you have recently made some drastic changes to your brand, you could always task an employee, or a few, to field approvals. Every project, blog, piece of content, reply, etc., would need approval before publishing.
Create a brand guideline.
The best way to do all of the above? Create a brand guideline manual and make sure every employee has a copy. Brand guidelines are the easiest way to assure everyone knows all the ins and outs of the companies brand, how to handle any situations and the do’s and don’t allowed. It’s always a good idea to hold a meeting with your employees to go over any changes to this manual when changes are made.
While it seems like a lot of work, successful companies did not achieve their success without putting in the time, effort and money in some instances to achieve their widely known brands. We would love to hear what process you use within your company to ensure brand consistency in the comments.