Your brand is your opportunity to communicate with potential customers, peers and partners. You want to tell your potential customers that you exist and that you can solve their problems. You want competitors in your industry to take you seriously and you want to impress partners like banks and entrepreneur organizations (pitch competition anyone?). Being consistent with your brand is your opportunity to turn strangers into customers and being inconsistent stunts that potential growth. Follow these dos & don’ts and achieve branding consistency easily.
The biggest mistake that most companies make with their branding is inconsistency. Many companies are disorganized, don’t have the technical knowledge (or staff on hand to help) to make the changes required or don’t know that consistency is something they should be worried about.
There is research that suggests that to convert a stranger to a customer it takes between 5-12 interactions or touch points. If those interactions are inconsistent with your brand, they don’t count. Potential customers will get confused or completely turned off if they can’t make sense of who you are and what you offer and look elsewhere to solve their problems.
Do make decisions and then be consistent with them
Do you know what your brand colours are? Your fonts? Have you defined a style guide for your brand? Making these decisions can be tough but you don’t need a 50 page brand guide to be successful (hint: you only need one page, see the image on left). Decide on colours and fonts that convey the feelings you want to your customers to feel. You’ll need to know the general shape of your logo and the general style you want to use in something like stock or product photos (people? hands? illustrations?). Whatever decisions you make, choose carefully because you should stick with these decisions for a long period of time.
Once you’ve made your decisions- write them down! You want to make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page about what your brand looks like and uses the correct information for all of your communications, packaging etc.
Do cover all of your bases
Once you’ve made your brand decisions, you need to apply them everywhere. Social posts, presentations, business cards, signage, websites, t-shirts, ads, swag, emails, proposals, invoices- every little place that someone sees your business has to reflect your brand. It can be big and splashy or it can be subtle but it needs to be your brand.
The idea is to create a subconscious link between your unique combination of colours/fonts/shapes and your company/product/service so when your customer has the problem that your product/service solves- they think of you.
Don’t use anything that’s not your brand
Anywhere there is text- only use your brand fonts. Anywhere there is something in colour, it should be one of your brand colours. If you are adding a border or solid shape behind some text on social media or on an ad- it should be the general shape of your logo (ex: if your logo is a circle, you shouldn’t put squares behind text). If you have people in a stock or product photo on your social media or on your website, you should have people in every stock or product photo. If you have an illustration in your logo, you can pull that illustration out and use it anywhere.
Your unique combination of colors/fonts/shapes is your brand, use it to its full potential!
Don’t settle for a template
If you are using Canva or a similar program with templates, make sure that every element matches your brand. You can keep the same design/text hierarchy/composition but every element needs to reflect your brand.
- Is all of the text in your brand font(s)?
- Are all of the colours your brand colours?
- Are there shapes? Are they the same as your logo’s general shape?
- Does the style match your style?
- Are there any other elements that are on screen that don’t match your brand?
Buying templates is fine, but ideally you’d buy them already tailored to your brand. If you don’t have the technical knowledge to adapt templates, take a Canva class or hire a graphic designer to help you.
Make it easy for people, peers and partners to recognize you by being consistent with your branding. Setting up the right constraints will help you achieve consistency and consistency will help you convert strangers into customers.