People buy from brands they know and trust. If your business were to be a person, the brand would be its character (what people know it for). Branding a business is not just about inserting logos on marketing materials or choosing the right colors, it is more about the impression a business gives to customers each time they engage with the brand.
A customer will remember a brand the same way he remembers a person – for instance – when two people meet for the first time, they usually will not recall much about the other person when asked the next day, unless they had a memorable experience. This experience could be positive if they had fun, laughed and had a good time, or negative if they were bored, scared or repulsed. Let’s assume the customer has a great experience the first time and remembers the brand fondly, now imagine this –
The customer wants to interact with the brand again, but at the next interaction, the brand becomes a little cold and boring. The customer is not sure what to make of it but decides to give the brand a third shot, after all, they had a good time with the brand at the first encounter. At the third meeting, the brand is acting indifferently to the customer’s needs. The customer gets home confused and unsure of what the brand values or represents.
In this scenario, the customer is unlikely to understand the brand and as a result, trust cannot be easily built between both parties. This lack of trust would make it difficult for any long-term profitable relationship to blossom.
Brand Consistency is important for Loyalty
Ensuring consistency in your customers’ experience across all touchpoints will provide your business with the necessary credibility and recognition needed to foster and build long-term relationships with customers who confidently refer everyone they know to you. Brand consistency can do a lot for your business, here are 3 ways it improves customer loyalty
#1. Recognition Of Your Brand
Giving your customers a consistent experience with your brand will make your business well known among customers in your target market. If this is done right, your customers think of you first anytime they have a need your product can or service can fulfill.
A good indicator of success in this area is when your brand becomes a generic name for other products in the same industry. When I was growing up, every soft drink was called Coke (Coca-Cola), today search engines are generally referred to as Google.
This can only happen when you consistently deliver positive experiences to customers. Coca-Cola promises refreshment and fun, that’s why each time you open a bottle of coke, you expect to be refreshed and energized. Most people will always default to Google searches because their experience with Google every time is faster and with more accurate results.
Brand consistency can expose your business to a whole new level of marketing, where customers think about your brand automatically whenever they have a need. This makes it an uphill task for competition to win your customers, and as a result, your business will retain a larger customer base.
#2. Your Brand Becomes More Dependable
Consistency is the key to customer loyalty when customers see your products or services as dependable, they form a stronger bond with your brand. When customers build trust with your brand, it means they have had needs and expectations which you’ve been meeting consistently.
If you have ever felt a little sad or cheated whenever you’ve had to choose a brand that wasn’t your first choice (for whatever reason), it is a classic example of the emotional connection that comes with trusting a brand.
Confidence comes when the customer knows what to expect, and gets it every time. Their experience becomes predictable.
– Shep Hyken
Your brand must consistent in order for your customers to get confident in the quality of your products and service standards. They should know what to expect and depend on you to meet their expectations over and over again. This confidence makes them confident enough to refer friends, family, and acquaintances to you.
#3. Greater Brand Equity
Your Brand Equity is the abstract value of your brand – the value beyond physical assets like machinery, buildings or patents. Building a strong equity for your brand depends on how much recognition your brand has among consumers.
Brand equity refers to a value premium that a company generates from a product with a recognizable name when compared to a generic equivalent. Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognizable, and superior in quality and reliability.
By maintaining consistency a brand builds trust among its customers, this trust adds value to the equity of the brand and reinforces loyalty. Research by Steven Taylor & Co found that brand equity and trust are necessary for customer loyalty.
It is a high brand equity that would make people pay nearly double the price for some name brands like Apple, Starbucks, and Mercedes than for other generic more affordable brands in the market. Consistency would help your brand build equity, expand its customer base and build longer relationships with customers.
How do I start? Here are some quick tips!
Building a brand with consistency is very profitable, but not always easy. The customer’s experience needs to consistent across all touchpoints, from marketing materials to the ambience of your outlets and offices, website, social media and every brand element. The impression the customer from his experience interacting with these touchpoints should align with your brand values and promises.
- Conduct research to access – what the current brand perception is, what expectations your customers have and how well you are meeting those expectations.
- Analyze data from this research to determine gaps in your brand message you need to fix, or expectations that are not feasible and those that are.
- Fix any identified gaps from the research.
- Develop a Brand Standards Manual for your organization.
- Educate everyone in the organization on the importance of a consistent brand experience and get their buy-in.
- Ensure employees have easy access to the Brand Standards Manual whenever they need it.
The brand manual should contain necessary information about the appropriate colors, fonts, logo placement and product quality and service standards that portray the brand in the desired light. Your businesses might lack the necessary resources to successfully implement these tips, in that case, you should engage a brand consultant to assist.
Brand consistency is important for customer loyalty because when customers know what to expect from a brand, each time their needs or expectations are met they trust it even more.
This trust creates a seamless connection to your brand, creating loyal customers who advocate and refer more people to you.
This article was originally published here