The word “brand” normally elicits warm fuzzy feelings toward a customer’s favorite shoes, restaurant, or mobile device. “Brand Consistency” on the other hand is typically met with fear by business owners everywhere. Questions like “What is it?”, “Why do I need it?”, and “Am I doing it right?” are very common concerns, and you should be happy to know that achieving brand consistency is not as daunting a task as it may seem.
What is Brand Consistency?
Brand consistency is the practice of presenting your business’s brand in the same way across all channels of communication.
It helps to think of a brand like a person — a person has a voice, values, recognizable features, and a specific sense of style. Brands should share these same characteristics, and they should appear consistently in every ad, social post, sign, or radio spot your business produces.
These are a few parts of your brand to consider:
- Logo: Think of this as your business’s face. Your goal is to have customers recognize this mark without even having to read it.
- Values: A brand should have a set of motivations that drive business decisions and provide a perceivable “backbone” for your customers.
- Colors: Few things have as much emotive power as color. Choose a scheme that reflects how you wish customers to feel about your brand, and use it everywhere.
- Voice: Is your business funny? Stylish? Tech savvy? Whether through text messaging, print, or speech, maintain a similar tone so reading or listening to your ad feels like talking to a friend.
- Experience: When a customer comes into your store, how does it feel? Train your employees to interact in line with your business’s values and voice so your stores feel familiar.
Why is Brand Consistency Important?
Recognition. Brand consistency is all about making it easy for customers to recognize your business instantly. From the first note of your radio jingle, to the signature stripe you always use behind your logo, to your bold color scheme, your customers should know it’s your business talking before they comprehend a single word.
People don’t trust businesses. Businesses are unrelatable. A brand personifies a business, allows it to showcase values customers can relate to, and to ultimately become a recognizable entity that is worthy of trust, and eventually loyalty. This recognition is achieved through repetition of familiar colors, values, logos, and sounds, or in other words, through brand consistency.
Other than building customer recognition and loyalty, brand consistency has other benefits as well. Among the most important, it cuts cost on required design time. If your brand calls for similar treatment of imagery, colors, text, and logos, the designer you're paying doesn’t need to waste time looking for the perfect photo, or wondering what the best way to phrase a tagline is; you’ve already specified those things. In short, it’s a more efficient way of doing business.
How can a Pawn Shop Achieve Brand Consistency?
Brand consistency can be immensely powerful for a pawn shop, especially if you’re a multi-shop business. Establishing that recognition can be the difference maker to a customer who has multiple choices in pawn shops. If he thinks “pawn” and then sees your logo or your brand’s colors in his mind because he’s seen them over and over again, that’s a win for you.
So, where do you start? Here’s how you can achieve your goal of brand consistency.
- Start with your logo. If you don’t have a mark for your business, have one designed.
- Go through the list of brand parts above. If you feel your brand lacks any of those elements, make those decisions. Remember to tie your colors in with your logo and values.
- Create a brand manual. You can do this yourself, or you can ask a graphic designer to help. Take all of the information you gathered in step two, and write it down so there’s never any question about how your branded materials should look or feel. Choose a primary font for your materials as well. Whenever you create or hire out a design, use this manual to guide your decisions.
- Apply your newly defined style across all of your content, including your website, SEO strategies, social media, ads, and signage both in and outside your store. When a customer walks in, they should recognize familiar elements from your ads; it tells them they’re in the right place.
Once all the visual elements of your brand have convinced a customer to come into your store, it’s up to you and your employees to show her your brand isn’t all talk. Make cleanliness and excellent customer service a part of your branded experience. Your consistency and service will breed loyalty in your customers, which will keep them coming back, and also result in positive word-of-mouth.
Brand consistency is a simple process that utilizes repetition to foster recognition from your customers. Without that recognition, your store is at risk of losing business to another shop. By maintaining your brand and a consistent delivery of your content, you can ensure that your business will be at the top of your customers’ minds every time.