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Increase Profits with Visual Brand Consistency

The good news: Inc. Magazine found that businesses in one survey increased profits by 23 percent just by maintaining a high quality, visual brand consistency.

The bad news: Six out of ten organizations in that same report said that they have lots of materials that don’t conform to their own brand guideline.

So what is brand consistency and why is it important to your bottomline?

Your brand is your story. In a recent post we gave you some tips to building a brand marketing strategy, which is where we would suggest you start. 

Think of visual branding as the way you look to the outside world. Customers come to know who you are and they become familiar with what you look like. Eventually, they will trust you and will read your emails, follow you on social media or look at links on your website because they “know” you. They know what to expect and they like what they see.

In short, your value as a company improves as your customers enter into a relationship with you.

But, if suddenly you send an email or create a webpage that looks nothing like what your customers have come to know, they may lose trust.  

And if you lose your customers’ trust,  you may lose money, disrupt the buying cycle and frankly just create confusion.

Brand consistency It starts with your website…

The front door of your business is your website. It’s what a majority of clients and potential clients will see first when they want to find out about your organization.

Using key visuals like your logo, color palette and the tone of the entire site, you can set an expectation about what the customer can expect from your business.  

When you carry those visuals over to your social media, email and even print materials, you’re creating consistent brand experiences for your customers which creates more trust.

Imagine how they might feel, however, if your website has always featured traditional images with a color palette of blues and greens.  Then, one day with no warning the design of the web site changed to a stark, modern edgy look in red and black.

Customers might become confused, they might wonder if there had been an upheaval at the company. It’s possible they might not complete a sale or transaction because of that change. 

And that means lost revenue for your business.

Do you deliver?

When you are working on building a business, the marketing of it may suffer as you go from one platform to another. But the key is, you need to deliver that same visual brand across all of your marketing.

Do your social media sites have the same look and feel of your website?  Are the colors consistent?  And are the messages that you put out consistent with who your customers know you to be?

The study from Inc. Magazine also noted that nearly every business they surveyed (95%!)  had brand guidelines, but only a quarter of those businesses consistently enforced those guidelines.

Back in the day when everything was printed, marketing departments used to point out inconsistencies by taking every printed piece and laying them out on a table to see if they looked like they came from the same place.

In most cases, there were huge differences in materials from the same company.

In our digital world, you can still do a series of screenshots of websites, social media accounts and emails and put them up side by side to see if your visual face to the world is consistent.

Try it. You may be surprised.

Enlist feedback often

It’s always a good idea to enlist feedback from your customers, your key stakeholders and your staff. In fact, this marketing feedback loop can provide you with some great information—though it may not always be pleasant to hear. 

If you are finding that your customers, or even your staff, are confused as to what your visual brand identity is, then you may have some work to do.

It’s just a fact:  successful brands are consistent. Visual brand consistency shows that they care about their customers by offering and delivering what is important to them on a regular basis.  And in the end, everyone wins.

Tomato Fish is an Indianapolis consulting company focused on helping small and midsize businesses make good strategic planning decisions.