Consistency has long been an important part of building a brand. Inconsistent branding can lead to customer confusion and decreased loyalty. In fact, there are many tangible benefits of consistent branding. Despite this, the internet (particularly social media) has made it harder for businesses to maintain consistent branding.
The ability for each individual to become a content creator leaves the potential for a brand and its message to leave the control of the business that created it. This post will offer some useful strategies for keeping your brand consistent in the digital age.
Identify the Brand’s Core Principles
Before releasing a brand on the internet, take the time to establish what you want the brand to stand for. For example, at Hollis Interactive, we want to establish that we are knowledgeable about all things that go into a business’ web presence – website design, social media, SEO, etc. We also want to stress the interactive in our name, showing both current and potential customers that we try to communicate as much as possible with them as well as our goal of making our end-products an interactive experience. Once you figure out the “core principles,” brand consistency is a matter of tying all content back to these.
Educate Your Content Creators
It’s hard to tie content into your brand message/image when those responsible for creating content (read: blogs, social media activity) are unsure of the message or how to adhere to it. In light of this, it is important to create basic guidelines for those responsible for content. What this means is subject matter and even writing style to an extent should be consistent between types of content you generate. This doesn’t mean everyone needs to write exactly the same way, but if writing style varies, it may cause confusion among those you are trying to reach.
Go Forth and Create!
Once you know what your brand’s message is going to be and all your content creators are up to speed, it’s time to start churning out content. This is where control over a brand often begins to slip. In the digital age, total control over your brand is not possible, something that is both good and bad. The bad part is that once you bring your brand into channels such as social media, unaffiliated users can start saying pretty much anything about your brand, with no input from your business. However, if you’ve taken care in creating a consistent brand message, users are likely to follow your lead. Even if users don't follow your lead exactly as you anticipate, a consistent brand and message will allow greater avenues of communication between business and user, essentially creating a content cycle where you and your users feed off each other. Truly, the fact that your brand is somewhat out of your control should be embraced. If you can get people talking about your brand and interacting with you via social media and other channels, there is an opportunity to create a unique, interactive community of like-minded individuals that you can easily market your products and services to.
Though brands in the digital age run a greater risk of becoming uncontrollable, careful planning and execution can unify the brand across all channels. In the case of social media especially, a well-designed brand can foster the creation of unique communities where end-users interact with your brand’s content creators directly. Do you have any stories about creating or observing a successful brand in the digital age? Any failures? Let us know in the comments section below!
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