Guest Post by Caitlin of Ember & Co Design Studio
There is so much that goes into building a strong, joy-filled business.
You aren’t here on accident. Not a chance. You’ve worked hard to get here.
It’s involved more than a few late nights, early mornings, victories, and tears (yep, I’ve been there, too). It’s been a wild ride, but at the end of the day, you’ve created something really special. Celebrate that!
There are lots of things that you can do to make owning your own business that much sweeter, and you’re taking it one step at a time.
However, there is also more than one way to make it extra hard on yourself, too.
One surefire way to increase the sleepless nights? Confuse the heck out of your customers with inconsistent branding.
Branding is more than a just pretty logo.
Sure, we all love having a pretty logo to showcase on our marketing materials. As a brand designer, I’ve made it my life’s mission to bring more beauty into the world through my work. However, your brand goes well beyond your logo. It’s the colors you use, the way you write, and your expression in photographs. It’s how you tell your story and the way you share information.
And the more consistent it is, the more magnetic it is.
Nobody wants to put their fate in the hands of a wishy-washy friend.
Have you ever had a friend who changed their opinions with the weather? Who never failed to flake on you at the first glimpse of a more exciting alternative? They were your best friend yesterday, but now you’re hearing a different story from mutual friends and it’s left you hurt, and confused.
Now, when they show up, you feel a pang of anxiety because you have NO idea what your interactions are going to be like, or how they actually feel about you. They may be the nicest (or most talented, or most knowledgeable…) person in the room, but they’re the last person you’d count on to come through for you when it matters.
When your branding is all over the place, you’re filling the heart of your dream customers with the same uncertainty and doubt.
“Are they who they say they are? Can I count on them? Will they follow-through with what they promise?”
Imagine how much harder you have to work to break through those trust barriers before you can even think about having a meaningful conversation.
Thankfully, brand consistency is something you can master, even if you don’t have a designer’s eye (or the budget to hire one).
If you’re still on the fence, here are a few powerful benefits of brand consistency:
Brand consistency builds brand recognition
If you’ve been part of the online business world for more than a few months, you’ve likely seen Marie Forleo everywhere. Everywhere. We talk about her, write about her, and pin her to our “Business Inspiration” Pinterest board.
Why? Because her brand is INCREDIBLY consistent. She’s become a household name in the online business space by delivering ONE message on a variety of platforms. We all know she believes that, “the world needs that special gift that only you have.” — and that she’s the one who’s going to help you get there. Her logo, color palette, font use, brand voice, messaging, and imagery are consistent across all platforms — which means that the second you see a MarieTV video or opt-in, you know it’s hers. That’s powerful!
Notice how consistent her brand is, no matter where you find her?
Brand consistency allows you to tell a story
When all of your customer touchpoints are communicating the same message and you begin to build brand recognition, it gives you an opportunity to tell your story.
Customers don’t connect with services/products, they connect with stories. They connect with the “why” behind what you do.
Actually, your dream customers want to know what role you’re playing in their story.
Yes, you read that right. As humans, we naturally see ourselves as the hero of the story we’ve been living since the day we are born. When we interact with brands and business, we’re looking for a guide and wondering what role they may play in our narrative, not the other way around.
(Side note: Storybrand by Donald Miller talks all about this concept and I highly recommend picking up a copy if you’re serious about growing your business with purpose and intention.)
When your branding is consistent, you’re able to tell a story that impacts your dream customers and pulls them into the narrative and the role you’re going to play in their lives.
This is one of the best ways to get out of the trap of competing on price and start drawing customers to you because they want to work with you, and only you.
Brand consistency cultivates connection
As you interact with someone over time and get drawn into their story, consistent experiences will naturally cultivate connection. You begin to get a feel for who they are, what they believe in, and if you share some common ground, you’ll likely seek out more time with them.
Building relationships with your dream customers works the same way. When you have built a brand that tells a consistent story in a consistent way, your ideal customers will be naturally drawn into the narrative. They’ll know they belong here and your brand will become part of their own identity. They’ll be proud to be associated with you, and more likely to enthusiastically recommend you to others.
Brand consistency increased credibility
What happens when you begin to connect with a brand on a consistent basis? You begin to believe it more. Their promises are more credible to you.
How would you feel if Marie’s website told you that she was the go-to for online business advice, but later you came across a MarieTV video that showcased a different logo and talked about how she was the go-to for essential oil advice? You’d likely be confused, and probably wouldn’t trust either claim as much as you would if her message had been consistent.
A strong visual brand and message communicated consistently across all marketing channels will reinforce your credibility in the eyes of your dream clients over time.
Brand consistency builds trust
With credibility comes trust. If we believe someone’s presence and promises are credible, we are more likely to trust our interactions with them.
I trust that Marie’s advice is solid, because everything I see from her and her company reinforces that belief. I experience the same Marie, whether I’m on her website, her YouTube Channel, or part of her email list. And if I felt that her course, B School, was a good fit for me, I wouldn’t worry about making the investment. I know that if I like her free content, I will likely love her paid content.
Brand consistency sells for you
As your brand builds recognition, trust, connection, and credibility, it will naturally begin to sell for you.
How? Well, once your dream customers have spent some time with your brand (ideally through multiple touchpoints such as your website, social media channels, interactions with you, etc), they’ll have really great feel for who you are and the role you will play in their story. Their questions and doubts will get answered naturally. They know who you are, how you communicate, and what it’s like to interact with your business.
Since their experience has been consistent so far, there’s no reason to doubt that future experiences will follow suit. No need to do the heavy-lifting of “making the sale,” when you get on the phone with them; they already know they want to work with you!
Brand consistency allows you to rest (finally)
It may sound overwhelming at the outset, but building a consistent brand is one of the best things you can do for your business (and your sanity). You know that phrase, “people buy from someone they know, like, and trust.”? Well, that’s what a consistent brand does for you. It allows your dream customers to connect with you, get to know you, grow to love you — often before they’ve even spoken with you personally.
And what does that mean? It means you can rest. You’ve earned it a hundred times over by now.
As I mentioned before, you don’t have to be a brand designer like myself to build brand consistency. It can be as simple as spending a few hours selecting a color palette, photography style, font palette, and brand voice — and then sticking to it, always and everywhere.
Ready to get started? I’ve created a FREE guide to building your own brand:
(It doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. I promise!)
Now, go win the hearts of your ideal customers with your beautiful, consistent brand! I really do have to agree with Marie on this, “the world needs that special gift that only you have.” You’re about to play a powerful role in someone’s story, and they’re going to be so glad you showed up.
Founder + Lead Designer at Ember & Co Design Studio
February 1, 2019