11 Things To Avoid If You Want To Maintain Consistent Branding

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Most consumers don’t stick to one marketing channel. It’s very likely that a consumer that follows your brand’s account on Facebook also does so on Twitter, Instagram or several other social media channels. Mass marketing like billboards or radio and TV ads also impact these same consumers.

AdAge

A company’s brand is its promise to the customer, but consumers might be confused if the message they get from a brand has mixed signals. So when someone sees a different message or tone in one advertising channel for a brand is distinctly different from another advertising channel for the same brand, it creates a disconnect. Consistent branding is a vital method of establishing the company’s face and tone, which are essential to engaging the right demographic. Consistent branding is such a necessary foundation for a company’s brand marketing that introducing inconsistency between marketing channels can be disastrous for the company’s customer engagement.

Eleven entrepreneurs from Ad Age Collective have raised their brands to prominence over the years, and they are well aware of the things that a company should avoid if it wants to maintain consistent brand messaging. We consulted them about some of the most troubling things to avoid — here’s what they had to say.

1. Setting it and forgetting it

Too often, companies assume that digital branding is a one-time investment. They are eager to be visible across the web but forget about the commitment they are making to uphold their brand value online. To keep a brand fresh and consistent across channels, companies need to be constantly updating their digital content to reflect seasonal deals, promotions and marketing initiatives. – John Ghiorso, Orca Pacific

2. Keeping brand-related information undocumented

When it comes to branding, details matter. A tiny inconsistency can become glaring to your audience. A lack of consistency can create a poor impression. It’s important to document exactly what hex color code, font type or aesthetics you use, and where you use them also matters. Keeping your brand appearance consistent makes them recognizable to customers and builds a professional image. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

3. Putting on an act

People want to buy from people — and how buyers view your brand is a huge factor in how they feel about your product. Steer clear of the false advertising and keep it real. Using an authentic voice across all platforms and allowing buyers to see the real you is the best way to build a true connection with your audience and deliver a better all-around experience with your brand. – Latane Conant, 6sense

4. Rushing to publish content

Content marketing was king in 2019, and likely to also be very important in 2020. In the mad rush to pump out as much content as possible, companies can create fragmentation in their message as different content writers and designers produce material of varying quality. It might take a little longer to publish, but be sure to appoint an overseer who ensures every piece is consistent with the brand. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap

5. Placing identical creative across all platforms

If there’s one mistake I see more than any other, it’s when brands treat social platforms like ad units, placing identical creative across places where platform users expect unique things from that platform. Different platforms have different social use cultures. Be consistent in your principles and story, but execute with authentic sensitivity to each platform’s culture. – Scott Montgomery, Bradley and Montgomery (BaM)

6. Using too much stock photography

It’s impossible to create a consistent brand narrative if you rely excessively on stock imagery. Every platform is becoming more visual in nature, and, like it or not, the photos, graphics and videos you share say as much about who you are as your tone and choice of words. When you use too much stock imagery, you water down your visual narrative and risk looking like every other company out there. – Todd Morgano, Falls

7. Confusing consistency with replication

Never duplicate your content from platform to platform. Otherwise you’ll just burn people out and they won’t care. A lot of brands confuse consistency with replication. It’s not about copying your look and feel across platforms. Remember that consistency is driven by point of view — by tone of voice, by your personality and by the stance you take in the world. – Marc Landsberg, SOCIALDEVIANT

8. Straying too far from the familiar

Changing your style guide to be completely different, whether it’s a new color scheme or unrecognizable and unconnected images, will degrade the brand equity you have built on other platforms. Content should be very specific and personalized for different formats, but straying too far from the main brand will lose the customers’ association with the mother ship and all that has been invested in it. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

9. Assuming everyone ‘gets’ the brand

With the breadth of platforms and tactics available to marketers — media, social, website, email, etc. — we often have diverse experts managing each tactic independently. Alignment is critical. If brands leave individuals on islands and don’t architect each tactic’s role in building the brand story, platform experts may drive their own agendas rather than contribute to a cohesive brand story. – Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive

10. Treating platforms as silos

People jump from device to device, and have hundreds of digital touch points with brands. To make sure messages are consistent across all of them, brands cannot treat the devices and channels as isolated campaigns. Brands can leverage advanced analytics, such as machine learning, to connect these touch points together and better understand their customers, leading to a true omnichannel campaign. – Kevin Dean, Experian

11. Using multiple providers

Companies shouldn’t use multiple providers. Using one provider per communication channel creates a disconnect, along with chaotic data and ad experiences. Having one omnichannel partner to keep it branded and relevant to the consumers on all channels is important to keep branding consistent across all platforms. – Oz Etzioni, Clinch

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