To ensure your brand remains consistent across all channels, we’ve gathered insights from founders, creative directors, and marketing consultants. In this article, we present eight expert tips, ranging from creating brand style and voice guides to integrating employer and corporate branding, to help you maintain brand consistency at every touchpoint.
- Create Brand Style and Voice Guides
- Embrace Key Descriptor Words
- Understand Your Competitive Position
- Reinforce Key Brand Components
- Promote Collaboration and Communication
- Empower Employees for Consistency
- Conduct Early In-Depth Reviews
- Integrate Employer and Corporate Branding
Create Brand Style and Voice Guides
To maintain brand consistency across various channels and touchpoints, I recommend starting with two key documents:
- A brand style guide should include standards for logos, colors, fonts, photos, videos, and all types of content that the brand uses regularly.
- A brand voice/positioning guide that should include standards for personas, purpose, mantra, values, positioning, key messaging, key terms, key benefits, key dates (anniversaries/promotions), and product overviews and benefits.
Once these documents are approved, it’s essential to share them with your team, partners, and vendors to keep all contributors on the same page and establish a baseline for consistency. As you identify problems or inconsistencies in specific channels, you can use the documents as an example and steer the team back to alignment.
Darren Wilson, Founder and President, dw | CMO
Embrace Key Descriptor Words
Key descriptor words will help maintain brand consistency across all touchpoints. If your team knows the words that describe your company and mission, and they embrace them throughout their work, your brand will speak its truth. For example:
Values: Integrity, Innovation, Philanthropy
Mission: To be the leader in cause marketing charm jewelry
Vision: To help organizations engage their communities through the power of charms.
Kay McDonald, CEO and Founder, Charity Charms, LLC
Understand Your Competitive Position
All platforms must reflect that you’re aware of how you compare to your competition. Are you the gold standard, the most cost-efficient, in a battle for the leader position, the anti-establishment brand, etc.? The execution must be seamless in this regard without making the consumer work too hard. Finally, be honest with yourself and listen to the research.
Reinforce Key Brand Components
Every marketing initiative is an opportunity to reinforce the key differentiators and advantages of a brand. That’s not to say we should say the same thing over and over every time we communicate. Rather, it’s important to determine the most critical components of your value proposition for your target audiences and develop different, creative ways of messaging them.
Overall, developing your brand DNA as a guide for all marketing and internal communications will further illuminate the value of your company’s offerings. Marketing budgets are never large enough, so make the most out of every dollar you have to spend. Simultaneously adopting a high level of uniformity and targeted messaging will make every initiative work harder for your brand and your business.
Promote Collaboration and Communication
Collaboration is important. It’s important that everyone (departments, individuals, etc.) be on the same page with consistency. Whether it’s one individual who oversees the brand, or a team, everyone must be on the same page.
Communicate with each other; if one isn’t certain, ask. That’s the key to collaboration. You don’t want different messaging or impressions being presented at each or every other touchpoint. This weakens the brand as opposed to strengthening it. A schizophrenic approach does not help a brand’s credibility.
Empower Employees for Consistency
In normal business, every employee has opportunities to strengthen the brand, and it’s important to empower employees with the information and tools they need to make good brand decisions.
While many organizations have a basic style guide that documents how to use creative elements—such as the brand colors, fonts, logo, and voice—the most sophisticated brands have a master plan with templates for common communications materials and robust documentation to cover other use cases.
The master plan specifies guidelines and expectations for items like point-of-sale materials, trade show exhibits, digital ads, email communications, and other foreseeable applications. All employees need to know where to find the templates and master plan so they can make good business—and brand—decisions in the moment.
Conduct Early In-Depth Reviews
Maintaining consistency across dozens of assets for an omnichannel campaign can easily get overwhelming. Reviewing every design and revising off-brand assets is not a good use of time. Instead, set an initial in-depth review early in the creative process.
Pick two or three assets from different channels, get the whole creative team together on a call, and lead a detailed review. The goal outcome is a clear understanding of the boundaries of the brand using real-world examples. You must have the creative brief in hand, as well as your brand guides for reference, so you can get specific.
Be open to hearing feedback from everyone and be ready to discuss why something is or isn’t on brand. Spending a little more time upfront has drastically reduced the total time I’ve spent reviewing and revising assets, and made it easier to hit deadlines. Individuals will be confident in taking ownership of their assignments with minimal oversight. And you can focus your energy where it’s needed.
Integrate Employer and Corporate Branding
As businesses look to enhance their brand strategy, it’s imperative to consider the role of the employer brand in informing the corporate brand. External messaging and marketing efforts do not solely shape a company’s brand. Marketers should cooperate with their People (aka HR) teams.
The culture and values that exist within the organization inform a company’s brand. When employees feel connected to the brand and understand its purpose, they are more likely to become advocates and spread the message to external audiences. And it’s not just about the employees themselves.
If a company truly lives its values and shows its commitment to them in its internal operations, this will inevitably translate into how it is perceived by external audiences. The bonus is a raised visibility for the company and a leveraging of products and sales enablement, positively influencing sales funnels.