Any good brand identity needs consistency. Consistency ensures the image potential customers have of your company stays the same, no matter where they see you. It makes you memorable, highlights you ahead of your competitors and encourages customers to return to your website or profile.
Here are some of our top tips for maintaining a cohesive brand identity across all your platforms, and how effectively conveying your ‘why’ helps.
Starting with ‘why’
If you’re not already familiar with Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ philosophy, take a look at his TEDTalk which sums up the main points, or read on for the key takeaway.
Most people can describe ‘what’ their company does. However, very few can describe ‘why’ they do it.
Sinek argues that successful companies and people (such as Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs and the Wright Brothers) begin with ‘why’. Your ‘why’ is your purpose, why your company exists, and why your potential customers should care. An articulate ‘why’ can impact and inspire others to take actions with your business.
Sinek uses Apple as an example – a brand that isn’t defined by what it does (sell computers). They sell the fact that they challenge the status quo and think differently – and they just happen to make great computers by doing this. As Simon Sinek says, “people don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it”.
Communicating your ‘why’
It can be very difficult to fit the core aim of your business into just one or two sentences, and when you feel you’ve finally got the right words, what do you do with them? How do you show your audience that same vision every time you address them?
Reuse the phrase
This is a great and simple first step to consistency – if you love how your ‘why’ conveys your brand, you could use it as is or repurpose it as a tagline for your website, social media accounts, email signatures and so on.
However, if this doesn’t quite fit your company’s communications style – you don’t need to use it word for word. Some of the most successful brand will have vision statements that you’ve not heard before, but you recognise in the messaging of all that they say and do.
Building your DNA
Simon Sinek argues that successful companies begin with their ‘why’. From there, you can build up the other information in your brand identity. At Kinetic, we call this your DNA. Your company’s DNA is made up of your:
- Vision (why you’re in business)
- Mission (how your company stands out from the competition)
- Values (your code of conduct that determines how you operate).
Your DNA gives you something to refer to before every communication or piece of content to reiterate what you most want to convey about your brand. You might also want to think about who you’re trying to talk to and develop some target personas. Both will help you discover your brand’s voice – another thing to try to keep consistent.
Compare visual imagery
Visuals are a massive influence in the online identity of your brand, and consistency is key here too. Gather everything together that describes your brand and ask yourself if it looks the same – if you took your company name out, could you still tell it was the same brand?
Going further, do you feel like your visuals match your ‘why’ and your DNA? You could do customer research to see what your potential customers are seeing in your design, or look at existing research such as colour theory.
Ensuring internal consistency
Your external communications may show customers your vision, but are you expressing the same vision to your employees?
Just like with customers, a ‘why’ can be inspiring to a workplace. A strong ‘why’ is a great way to give employees purpose and improve engagement in their work. It can also attract and select future dedicated team members that align themselves with the mission at hand.
If you’re just starting to come up with your ‘why’, asking your employees for input on the process is a brilliant way to involve them and encourage the company-wide sense of purpose. The more of your team that’s on board with the purpose, the more secure your identity becomes.
Finally, remember that change itself is not negative – your brand identity should and will evolve over time. You just need to make sure those changes are consistent across all of your platforms.