Our partners at Stacks are digital creatives, librarians, and content management experts who are passionate about making digital asset management easy and approachable. To share a diverse set of expert opinions, we’re swapping and sharing insights and best practices to help you and your creative team work more efficiently, effectively, and impactfully.
Think of the most successful brands in the world: the brands featured in Times Square, the brands you reach for time and again, the influencers who proudly tag brands they love in the content they share online. What do they have in common?
Oftentimes, the best brands embody a singular quality. Google is the reliable online search engine, Nike is the stylish brand for peak-performing athletes, and Apple is the innovative tech brand of the past, present, and future.
So, how did these brands become so closely identified with these desirable characteristics? Consistency and commitment to creativity.
When we consider advocating for or buying into these brands, we don’t often think of their logo or tagline, but of a memory, a commercial, a moment, or an influencer’s endorsement which solidified the brand affinity in our minds.
We can thank the Wheaties Cereal brand for introducing both the sports and retail industries to this strategy. In 1934 the cereal brand began advertising images of famous athletes on their cereal boxes along with the slogan “The Breakfast of Champions,” which naturally incentivized every American to start their day like a talented and healthy professional athlete.
You may remember when Steve Jobs gave his first Apple keynote presentation in 2007—it was also the launch of the iPhone. Back then the iPhone’s simple, sleek innovative design compared to other cell phones was pure genius, and 15 years later, it still is. If you have time, watch this inspiring seven-minute clip of Steve Jobs talking about how he wanted to market Apple differently.
For Nike, you may recall Tiger Woods sinking a putt wearing his ‘Sunday Red’ or Serena Williams acing a serve wearing beaded braids and Nike’s stylish skirt sets or signature tennis dresses.
These companies have effectively connected their brand to a core aspiration of achieving excellence by developing consistent, effective, and memorable visual content that audiences can simultaneously relate to and feel inspired by.
Identify a Brand Identity
Notice that these brands aren’t known for many traits; they’re known for one. All of their branding, marketing, and content efforts are built off of a basic concept or what is known as a “brand identity.”
For Apple, Google, and Nike, this identity is tied to the aspiration they want their brand to be synonymous with—being the most innovative, the most knowledgeable, or the best athlete, for instance.
For other organizations, their brand identity is built around their core values, their mission statement, or a feeling. Disney, for example, has built their brand around the feeling of childlike wonder. When they realized that this feeling wasn’t exclusive to children, it expanded its target audience to include adults by purchasing Marvel and the rights to Star Wars.
If your brand identity is authentic to your business, it will guide all of your content marketing strategies and tactics and allow you to build real-world loyalty in your target market.
If you aren’t sure what your brand identity is—or if you think your brand needs to reexamine its identity, work with your leadership teams from essential departments to identify a genuine brand identity. This process takes time and effort and may require doing market research or employee surveys, but it will pay off in the long run.
Consistency In Content Marketing Is King
In a survey of 200 organizations concerning brand consistency, Lucidpress and Demand Metric found that “Less than 10% report that their brand presentation is very consistent, but almost 90% agree that it is important to present their brands consistently in all the places people might encounter them.”
Most marketers agree that consistency is important, but what does consistency mean when it comes to branding?
How can you and your team ensure that consumers see a cohesive, creative, relatable presentation of your brand that’s compelling enough to build loyalty?
- Brand presentation is the first component of brand consistency.” This basically means the way a brand presents itself externally—visuals, text, tone, persona—everything. Consistent brand presentation is the result of content, messaging, and actions that all convey the same message or give the same impression. In other words, everything an organization shares should say the same thing about who it is and what it cares about. Imagine how confusing it would be if a third-string pitcher was suddenly featured in a Nike ad about greatness.
- The frequency of content shared is the second component of brand consistency you should pay attention to. Does your brand regularly post content across all the channels your target audience is on? If so, is that content posted at the same time and day? Does the content vary—giving each platform user a different experience of similar content? Think: If Geico or Progressive never ran ads or ran them only occasionally, would consumers who don’t have insurance even be aware of their mascot or brand slogan?
The Value of Being Consistent
There’s a reason that less than 10% of the organizations surveyed by LucidPress and Demand Metric feel they hit their content production goals: Why is that? Well, they can be difficult to put into practice.
While 95% of organizations report having brand guidelines, only 25% have ones that are enforced. This means that content isn’t regulated and off-brand content sometimes makes its way to the market, confusing consumers, and breaking trust. In fact, 60% of the surveyed organizations reported that off-brand marketing materials are often created.
This could be why 71% of organizations described experiencing confusion in the market regarding their brand, leading to a 23% decrease in their revenues compared to brands that presented themselves consistently.
This data shows that consistency has real-world implications for your organization’s bottom line and is worth investing time and effort to fix.
Developing standard operating procedures for creative production processes and providing interdepartmental teams with creative on-brand graphic templates can help immensely with productivity and provides non-creative team members some creative autonomy, too.
Read the below resources for more tips on developing brand consistency and optimizing your brand’s identity through content marketing:
If you don’t even know where to start and want expert advice instead, reach out to our digital asset management consultant expert friends at Stacks.