How many of you quickly navigate away from a website that you don’t recognize or has inconsistencies with their branding? My guess is probably quite a few. Why is that? My strong belief is that there is a lack of trust with unrecognizable, conflicting content. Brand consistency means making sure your consumers have a similar experience across all of your marketing assets and platforms.
What does brand consistency look like?
Maintaining your brand’s image doesn’t have to be that complex. With some due diligence and a little education, your business can look top notch. Branding doesn’t mean just a logo these days, though. Although a proper logo goes a long way, a thoroughly designed brand includes consistent colors, fonts, imagery, graphics, web pages, and even messaging. Put together, visual brand elements and consistent messaging make it easy for a consumer to quickly recognize and understand your brand, no matter what medium they engage it through (visual, audio, text, etc.). You want to make sure you’re connecting with your target audience and delivering your brand’s core message no matter where.
How it affects the user and customer experience online
People tend to form an opinion, positive or negative, about a website within .05 seconds.* In that fraction of a second, they either make the decision to stay or to leave, meaning you potentially miss out on turning them into a customer. Providing a consistent user and customer experience through all touch points cultivates trust with your business. Knowing that people may make a business decision based off highly subjective reasons relating to how your brand and its consistency makes them feel, it is critical that users have a positive experience and don’t feel confused or lost while navigating a website.
How to maintain a consistent brand
When it comes to building and maintaining that consistent brand that is so necessary to build trust between your user, consider these 3 items:
- Develop and adhere to brand guidelines. Put a lot of effort up front into developing robust brand standards that your whole company can digest and stick to. I can’t stress this enough. Providing clear guidelines for your entire team or company to use will instill steady visuals and messaging. If everyone is practicing it, the brand will easily be recognizable.
- Build an asset library. Have an easily accessible, central location of approved assets that include fonts, images, colors, and graphics.
- Make your website the brand portfolio. Further apply your brand’s standards by implementing clean CSS, graphics, and on-brand content into your website. Your website should be just as discernible as the marketing materials you are producing.
Brand consistency is more than just having a nice logo with matching colors across your marketing materials and website. It's about establishing and maintaining a unique experience that your customers and prospects recognize as your own, no matter what medium. In time, persistence of these details will help customers notice and remember your brand, build loyalty, and ultimately help get you business.