Updated: May 19, 2020
A lot of times, we hear about consistency in terms of adopting regular posting habits to build your social media presence. But consistency impacts every area of your brand and, in fact, a lack of it erodes trust in your business. Developing and maintaining brand consistency should be on your short list of to-dos because it quite literally is the world's perception of your business. You want people to recognize, respect and trust your work, and that's easier to do when you've developed a consistent brand voice. According to ThriveHive, "The more uniform, consistent and steady your messaging and flow of content, the easier customers and potential customers will be able to recognize your brand without excessive branding."
Here are three consistency checkpoints to get you started on building brand consistency.
1. Check your customer experience. Customer experience is critical whether you have an actual storefront or not, and creating a consistent customer experience is something you should tackle sooner rather than later. In fact, Trustpilot asserts that companies who have nailed customer experience can experience 17% revenue growth. The experience your customers have with your business certainly includes how you interact with them: are they being spoken to in the same tone? For that matter, what is your brand tone of voice? Friendly? Familiar? Formal? Playful? Are your products of a consistent quality? Is the service they receive memorable for all the right reasons, every time? Are questions answered promptly, or better yet, before they even have to be asked? Is navigating your store or site easy and intuitive? What roadblocks exist for customers trying to buy something or use your services? An evaluation of these types of questions can help you determine whether the experience your customers and potential customers have is consistent, and consistently good. Delivering a consistent customer experience allows your customers to know what to expect, which fortifies the trust they place in you. Delivering anything less hurts your brand’s reputation.
2. Check your emails. A whopping 72% of U.S. adults would rather communicate with companies via email, according to Web Marketing Pros. So, it's a little bit important that your emails are reflective of your business' brand and voice. Ask yourself the same questions you would regarding your customer experience, but add a critical one: what value is this email bringing the reader? Email can't be about you. Even if it is about you, it can't read like it is. By sending people an email, you're essentially delivering a promise to them that, in their very busy day and very crowded inbox, this email is worth it. Ask yourself before you even compose an email: what is my goal with this email? To educate? To start a conversation? To build trust? Yes, of course you want that click-through, but the goal has to be value-based. And that value has to be contextual. If I just bought your hand-made red sweater, don't email me to say that your hand-made red sweaters are now on sale. Value and context are two of your most fundamental building blocks when composing emails, and both must be conveyed in your brand voice. If you're creating email marketing pieces, you're likely dedicating time to doing so and focus on these more. But what about that reply you're tapping out on your phone while trying to clean up the day’s mess? Even then you need to invest time in maintaining a consistent voice. This helps to cement your business’ brand in the mind of your recipients. Even one curt or off-brand email – no matter how unintentional - could damage perception.
3. Check your digital presence. Your digital presence is critically important and has implications for your business beyond what you may realize. The Startup suggests that 70–80% of your potential sales are being directly influenced by your digital presence. Why? Because people research companies online before even stepping foot in their store or visiting their site. From Google to Instagram, consumers want to see you out there. They want to see your brand, hear your message and read what others have to say about you. If your digital presence lacks consistency, this first "digital impression" isn't going to be a strong one. There needs to be a common voice that connects your website to your social media channels to your paid search results to your business listings. Look at your website. Is it conveying the message you want it to? If not, tailor it. Then move to your social media channels. Is what your posting consistent with the message you present on your site? Are your feeds conveying the same values and providing the same customer experience? Are your paid search ads and promotions using copy the mirrors your brand voice? How about business listings. What does your Google My Business listing look, feel, sound like?
If you work your way through these consistency checkpoints and feel like your business is, well, inconsistent in its messaging, simply go back to the drawing board.
Figure out the message that you want your business to own. What do you need to say in order to be heard? Be very clear about this, and don't make it all about you. Tell a story that involves your potential customers. Remember that people need to see the value you bring them.
Ensure your website conveys this message succinctly. Write copy that is engaging but brief; site visitors should get a sense of your brand without having to read paragraphs about you.
Develop a content strategy that will guide your posting, your paid ads and your business listings. Remember that your copy should be tailored for each audience, but should always remain consistent with your brand's message.
Consistency involves dedication and a time investment, but it's a powerful tool in building your brand's presence and, more importantly, people's trust in that brand. It can be tempting to postpone a consistency checkup for business issues that feel more pressing, but few things will have as far-reaching an impact as making sure your target customers are seeing your brand the way you want them to.