By Dustin Myers, Foodable Industry Expert
In order to be remembered, to communicate effectively, and to be respected, you must maintain consistency. This applies to every facet of business. Your returning customers will eventually expect things to be done in a certain way. When you fall short, their trust will be compromised.
The principle of consistency greatly applies to your visual identity. Your brand is not what you say it is — it’s what others say it is. The only way to help cultivate the right reputation is through intentional and consistent execution.
There are many forms of media available for presenting your brand visually. To name a few:
- Exterior signage
- Interior design elements
- Social media profiles
- Employee apparel
- Carry-out/take-out packaging
All of these items will probably be coming from an array of different vendors. Without being very intentional, it is unlikely that everything will come together in a cohesive way. Need some examples of real-world problems that happen all the time? An exterior sign company that doesn’t have access to your logo file may just come up with something similar. A website provider may simply use fonts or photography that looks good to them, if they don’t have a brand style guide to follow. An interior designer may has his or her own interpretation of how a color palette should work.
As you can see, there are easy opportunities that can lead to your brand identity becoming inconsistent and diluted.
Larger brands have to be very intentional with this. When you visit a franchise store on the other side of the world that looks the same as the one on your block, you can be sure this didn’t happen by accident. Regardless of whether you have hundreds of locations or just one, consistency is a large factor in building loyal customers.
This may seem like an impossible undertaking when you have so many other things that demand attention. Need some tips? Here are three practical tips that will help you maintain consistency.
1. Establish a brand guide.
The purpose of your brand guide straightforward: It sets the foundation for the brand. It can include elements such as the proper logo usage, fonts, color palette, textures, photography style, and other elements that altogether make up your visuals. It can also include direction for your verbal identity, such as the mission statement, tagline, voice, and tone. A properly designed guide will be an invaluable resource when various vendors need to create elements for your brand. It can also provide a compass for the internal team to make sure that every interaction supports the vision of the brand.
2. Make assets accessible.
This seems like an easy one, but many smaller brands do not have a system for organizing assets. The logo files might be on one person’s computer and not easily accessible to vendors who may need it. There are a number of tools that make this easier. Some are just general file storage platforms, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Other platforms specifically intended for managing brand assets are BrandCardsApp or BrandFolder. Regardless of the platform, make sure that there is a system so that the right people can get the right files easily.
3. Build a relationship with your design consultant.
If you’ve worked with a designer or agency to develop your brand identity design, you should extract as much value from that relationship as possible. Maybe the sign company does design, as well, so it’s simpler to just let them work on the design. The original designer should have a much greater understanding of your vision for the brand and would be able to design solutions that would best meet your objectives.
Your brand identity is a vital communication tool in your arsenal. The gap between what you offer and what your potential customers need can be bridged through the right communication. With these tips, you can create an action plan that will boost customer familiarity and loyalty.