What would happen if you got up right now, drove to the nearest car dealership, and traded your minivan in for a flashy red convertible? What would your family say? What would your closest friends tell you?
I know what my husband would do if he came home to find a shiny new sports car in the driveway. He’d probably ask, “Really? Wouldn’t you rather travel the world? Buy a farm? Start a commune in the woods?” He’d be way more concerned about my sudden change in character than anything else.
When it comes to people and relationships, we totally get consistency. We ask a friend what’s wrong when she’s acting different. We wonder if our kiddos are going through a growth spurt when they have several grumpy days. We call people out when they suddenly buy fancy red cars instead of backpacking gear and plane tickets to China.
But consistency is a slightly more difficult concept when it comes to business and branding. That’s probably because our personalities aren’t really consciously crafted. We become who we are through our experiences and how we process them. We go on journeys to find ourselves, not design ourselves.
Consistency in branding, on the other hand, has to be intentional. It’s a planned out conscious effort for the very specific purpose of growing your business. It’s something you build intentionally to communicate your message and keep your ideal client coming back.
Building a consistent brand is hard work. It means aligning everything from your logo, colors, and fonts to the language and tone you use in your emails and the way you answer the phone. It means making sure that literally everything you do in your business communicates your brand message.
And all the hard work is totally worth it. If you need some convincing, here are four benefits you can reap from building consistency in your brand:
- You’ll make a great first impression
If you’re trying to make new friends after a move or venturing out to a new networking event, you’re going to put some effort into getting yourself ready. You may hang out in yoga pants most days, but you bust out something a little more special when you know you’re meeting someone new. We all know the importance of first impressions.
You can’t really plan your outfits like that in business, though. It’s much more rare for first impressions to be so neat and planned out. The truth is, your business is always making it’s first impression on someone.There’s always someone who’s encountering your business for the first time.
Consistency ensures that your first impression is always an accurate and strong reflection of your brand. When all your touchpoints are aligned to your brand, you don’t have to worry about a new client catching you eating ice cream out of a 5 gallon tub in your yoga pants, so to speak.
- Your message will get across
Did you know people need to hear the same message 5-10 times before they actually remember it? We don’t internalize anything until we’ve heard it at least 7 times. So you don’t have to be afraid of consistency making you boring, repetitive, or annoying.
Your ideal client probably isn’t going to be ready to buy the first, second, or even the third time she comes across your brand. She needs to hear your message a few times before she’s ready to take the leap.
Having a consistent brand makes your message clear, focused, and recognizable. That means your ideal client gets the same message each time she interacts with your brand. The more often she gets the same message, the sooner she’ll internalize it and be ready to hand you her cash.
- You’ll foster brand recognition
You know how you instantly recognize an Old Navy commercial or Target ad? You don’t have to look for their logo to figure out what the ad’s about. That’s because they’re both really good at consistency!
If you’re constantly changing things up, never deciding on a clear direction, or just taking blind guesses at what’s gonna work, you’re never going to get to the point where people recognize you. If your audience doesn’t know what to expect from you, they won’t be able to tell whether the thing in front of them is from you or another brand.
Consistency gives your audience what they need to pick you out in a crowd. It gives them a backlog of information that shapes what they expect from you and helps them recognize you.
- You’ll build trust
Going back to the slightly crazy example we started with, if I bought a car out of the blue, my husband would forgive me and we’d move on with our life. We’d have to talk it out and figure out a way to return the car, sure. But things would go back to normal. If I kept on making erratic decisions, though, he might stop trusting me with handling our money, setting our budget, and being in the house alone.
The same principle applies in branding. If your audience can’t figure out what you’re about, what you value, and how you’ll treat them, they won’t know what to expect from you. If no one knows what to expect from you, they won’t know whether they can trust you. And who wants to do business with a brand they can’t trust?
Consistency helps you create trust. It communicates that you know what you’re doing and shows professionalism. It helps you show that you’re dependable and makes your ideal client feel safe doing business with you.
Consistency means staying on brand to deliver the same message in everything you do. It means staying true to what your business is about and what your ideal client wants and needs from you. It creates clarity so that people know exactly who you are and what they can expect from you from the very start.
If you’ve put any amount of work into your brand, make sure you’re protecting it by being consistent.