Consistency is something that everyone values. From the sports team that’s lost every game this season (“But at least they’re consistent!”) to the food and drink that you repeatedly purchase from your favourite café, it’s a concept of expected quality that appeals to us as human beings. Consistency invokes a sense of comfort: of knowing where you are and what you’re going to get before you get it – and while certain things can always benefit from an injection of positive change every now and again (like that sports team), there are just some things which need to stay constant in order to keep your customers happy. Just like the quality of a cup of coffee across multiple branches of the same café, your brand and content can only benefit from staying consistent across multiple channels of marketing, and what’s more is expected to be by your customers.
From your website to your printed marketing, to social media and everything in between – online and offline - making sure that your visual brand and messaging stays focused and in the same direction will help your business have a greater impact on your customers and contribute towards a unified experience for all. Ideally your customers should receive the same experience no matter how they engage with you, and on top of that, be able to expect that they will also receive the same experience when and if they swap between different channels – for example, someone who first hears about your company via an advertisement in a magazine should expect to find your branding and messaging consistent with what they find on your website.
The first step towards achieving this is to get yourself some solid brand guidelines, and, more importantly, stick to them. This is more than just making a logo and a set of approximate colours – think about your font selection, choose specific shades and tones for your colour scheme, and make sure that your logo is tested and readable at different sizes and suitable for a number of applications – make variants to account for different shapes and backgrounds. Avoid succumbing to trends and fads which might appeal now but will ultimately die out and date your brand before it’s had a chance to mature. The most successful companies have logos which have only received subtle changes (if any) over the years and have easily stood the test of time. Think about brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Facebook or McDonalds – they’re all immediately recognisable and this is thanks to their consistent visual branding.
Tone of voice
It’s also important to speak in a tone of voice that stays consistent across all channels – establish what sort of image you want to promote for your company and stay true to that across every marketing campaign and piece of content that you write. Are you humorous and approachable? No-nonsense and knowledgeable? The tone that you choose will need to appeal to your target audience and will contribute massively to how your company is perceived by those outside of it. Don’t change the voice of your article in one place because of what you think their readership might like, though, because as soon as they move from that channel to another the experience will change, and potentially create disappointment or confusion.
It’s not big news that the one place where marketers need to employ all of their best tactics is on social media platforms, where user engagement is direct and feedback often immediate. Along with designing your profile pages to match your website and other channels visually, social media is one place where your tone of voice is crucial as in this channel, the wording of your posts and your public responses to feedback and enquiries serve as representative of your business. Share valuable content on multiple platforms and remember to set up regular posting hours as well – people log on at different times of the day and might miss what you’re saying where others will get annoyed with you if they receive too many at once. Spacing your posts out and keeping things regular will help your audience know what to expect and make it easier for them to engage with you. Communicating similar messages across social media as you do offline will help pull your marketing together into one cohesive brand which will encourage that sense of familiarity and promote engagement.