How to Achieve a Consistent Brand Image

September 1, 2020

Education

How to Achieve a Consistent Brand Image

Did you know that consistently presented brands are 3 to 4 times more likely to enjoy brand visibility, than those who are inconsistent? It makes sense - it’s hard to remember and connect with a business that looks and sounds different every time you see them. There’s a reason Cadbury spent over a decade trying to trademark their specific shade of purple!

The way you present your business should reflect the passion behind the work you do. Your image has a high impact on how people interpret your business, so it’s critical to maintain consistent standards - not just in your brand’s visual design, but also in your messaging and tone of voice. 

Consistent look and feel, plus a familiar personality, delivers a great customer experience.

How to Achieve a Consistent Brand Image

Who are you targeting?

To create an effective brand, you need to understand your audience. Target audiences vary and how you present your business will make or break the first impression. Your brand needs to be designed to appeal to your main audience.

It’s best to create an “avatar” of your target audience: an imaginary person with the same characteristics as your ideal customer. (If you have several audiences, create several avatars.) Then create a journey of how they interact with your brand, mapping out every possible interaction. It’s essential to ensure your communication, messages, and images are consistent throughout the journey. 

Without this cohesiveness, your business can come across as disorganised, and create a jarring customer experience. Imagine if your ‘girly-girl’ best friend suddenly became a hardcore goth overnight - you’d be left confused, wondering what’s going on, and hoping she’s still the same person underneath! Don’t make your customers go through that experience with your brand.

How to Achieve a Consistent Brand Image

Developing your brand guidelines

Most new brands are designed and presented with a brand style guide. A style guide is a brand’s rulebook, containing specifications about everything that plays a role in the look and feel of the business; colours, typography, imagery, and tone of voice. It shows designers and do-it-yourself clients precisely how to present a brand.

However, not every brand comes with one of these handy guides, so we’ve provided a high-level checklist to help you with the dos and dont's.

  • Give your logo plenty of 'breathing room', both in print and when it’s displayed digitally. Including empty space around the logo lets it stand on its own, without being overrun by other elements. Background elements behind the logo should be kept simple, so the logo doesn’t become lost.
  • Keep your colour palette minimal. Too many colours and your brand will look busy and unfocused (we recommend a maximum of five colours). Pick a range of tones, or use complementary colours. A great example of colour use is NAWIC.
  • Use a maximum of two to three font families. It can be tempting to use unusual and visually interesting fonts, but remember that your customers still need to be able to read them! Simple, easy-to-read fonts like Montserrat are perfect for both web and print media. Google Fonts is an excellent source of free, high-quality fonts.
  • Keeping your target audience in mind, create a suitable tone of voice for your written content. Think about the kind of words and language that will appeal to your customers, and ‘sound right’ for your business and industry. Find existing examples of writing styles you like and save them as reference. Using applications like Grammarly can also assist you in achieving your desired tone.

A great example of a well thought out style guide is Westpac.

How to Achieve a Consistent Brand Image

Westpac's brand style guide is particular and thorough, which suits their status as an international brand. They have excellent examples of their tone of voice - conversational, warm, and direct without being too formal or 'bank-like'. Westpac detail all of their colours for print (CMYK and Pantone) and web (RGB and Hexadecimal). They have specified their fonts, images do's and don'ts, and even audio requirements. While this is considered overkill for most brands, it puts things into perspective! Any designer, writer, or marketer can instantly refer to the guide and ensure that the Westpac brand is presented consistently. 

Creating your own brand style guide can be as easy as putting your rules down in a Word document or Google Doc. For extra flexibility, we recommend using Canva: a versatile and free-to-use online design application. It’s designed to be easy enough for beginners but powerful enough for professionals and can be used for creating social media posts, invoices, posters and brand guides. 

Once you have your brand style guide in place, you can start implementing those specifications into every aspect of your business's brand. Share your brand guidelines with your team to make sure everyone’s on the same page. 

How to Achieve a Consistent Brand Image

Applying your new rules to your brand

Once you've created your style guide, refer to it when planning all your content and marketing. Keeping your style guide handy makes it easy to keep your tone of voice consistent, whether you’re communicating in print, on your website, or on your social media pages. 

If you set up your brand guide in Canva, you can choose from literally hundreds of templates for common platforms, presentations, and content. You can even create custom templates specifically tailored to your brand - so there’s no more starting from scratch with every Facebook post!

As our ability to create and send marketing communications increases, it becomes easier to make a few missteps when crafting brand identity. Take your time, refer back to your style guide, and make the best of the brand you've worked so hard to establish. 

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