Over the course of my career I’ve had the honor of working with some of the best brands around and the most successful were those that had consistency. I’ve also seen many a company that just don’t seem to know what direction to take their brand. It seems that many times the consistency stops at the logo, and even then they miss the boat every once in a while. One of the keys to success is being able to have people remember your brand and spot it at a moments notice. This is best accomplished by consistently presenting the essence of your brand in every piece of material your customers see. Whether that be your marketing material, print ads, billboards, you name it. If they can’t pick you out instantly, then your brand isn’t getting its message across. Nothing bothers me more than seeing an ad from a company that has nothing to do with either the company or their brand. They think that as long as the slap the logo on, everyone will understand. This is simply not true.
Great brands have coordinated campaigns that are consistent across all mediums. It’s kind of like playing a game of “Name that Tune”. You should be able to name that tune in less than 5 notes.
One of my favorite examples of this is the Target brand. If you ever watch one of their commercials you will see the consistent use of colors and shapes throughout. Anytime one of their spots comes on, and it doesn’t matter the context, I know it’s a Target ad within the first 5 seconds. The splash of red, the circles somewhere on the screen, they all scream brand consistency. But not everyone gets this. I remember when I was working on micro-sites for HP back in the late 90’s when Carly Fiorina was their CEO. Back then there was a logo and a brand for every product. The laptops had one type of marketing, the printers had another and the e-services, the new commerce based websites I was working on, had an entirely different look and feel. Carly realized this and recognized that HP had lost its way from a brand perspective. She also saw that this was costing the company money as many of their clients didn’t really realize the depth and breadth of products they had to offer. What she did next was something that has stuck with me throughout the last 15+ years. She completely abolished all sub-brands within the company. She brought in a firm to update the corporate brand and create a consistent culture that could hit all corners of the HP product line. What ensued was the creation of a consistent look and feel on all HP products, advertisements and collateral.
These are just two examples of brands that realized the importance of not having multiple personalities. Has your brand figured it out?