Sep 6, 2018

Brand Continuity. It's not all about you.

Brand Continuity. What is it? And why it's not all about you.

Continuity, by definition,'the unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over time'. When it comes to branding, the keywords in this definition are 'unbroken' and 'consistent'. The promotion of your brand and its appearance across all your marketing channels should be unbroken, not interrupted, and consistent, time after time. 

Once the excitement of the design and establishment of your branding has worn off, it's easy to become complacent about the use of your logo and less focused on applying style principles across your marketing and sales material.  However, your investment in good branding will pay for itself if you establish brand continuity. 

But it's your brand, so why isn't continuity about you and your business? Isn't branding about making you look official and providing you with a logo? It's much more than that. It's about what your customers look for when they're seeking reassurance about purchasing your product or service. It's about making the buying experience easy for them and in turn the sales effort less stressful for you.

Here's an example. Imagine you're a customer. Think about your favourite brand. Let's use Apple (whether you love them or hate them). You have several Apple products and every time you need a product that's associated with technology you unknowingly seek out Apple. Whether you're glancing through catalogues or shopping online or at a retail store, you've probably already unconsciously made a decision that will take you one step closer to making your purchase an Apple one. You've recognised a brand of technology that you trust and will feel comfortable purchasing. 

Now, imagine you go into a retail store with a phone purchase on your mind, you're relatively keen on Apple iPhone, but faced with an array of phones, nowhere can you see the Apple brand. For some reason, Apple has branded their phone business differently, and instead of seeing the little apple logo, their packaging is printed with a big 'A'. Confusion. Are they the same company? Will this be as good a product? Can I trust that the 'real' Apple has produced this product and not a competitor? See, it doesn't take long to plant the seed of doubt. You're no longer confident in making your purchase an Apple iPhone, so you start to look around and see what else is available.

So how should you ensure your brand is communicated consistently?

Continuity should touch every experience. A clear message breathes life into your brand, across all online and offline communications including website, print, digital and social media and even how you answer the phone or staff welcome customer's in-store. It doesn't result in a sameness about your marketing presence; it just means that at the core of the brand is its personality. 

At the design stage and when rolling out a new brand, we facilitate continuity by establishing a Brand Style Guide or a Brand Resource. Included in the Brand Style Guide is the demonstrated use and treatment of the logo, colour palette and typography and for a more robust approach, our Brand Resource document positions the brand for extension across developing products or services that sit within the brand personality. These documents encapsulate the essence and personality of your brand and provide guidelines for communicating that to your employees, partners, clients or customers.  

Continuity is about planning, positioning, and persistence. It takes a coordinated and concerted effort to position your brand correctly across all your marketing channels. Once you make continuity about your customer, the real win will be increased recognition of your brand and increased customer loyalty. And that is all about you!

Raz O'Connor