The image your brand broadcasts to the public must be consistent with your corporate goals, target demographic, and overall marketing strategy.
Believe it or not, brand unity is getting harder and harder to achieve. The days of employees working at one location, during the same hours, are far behind us. In today’s work environment, businesses strive to be flexible – allowing workers to telecommute and work odd hours. In larger corporations, employees in the same department could be spread throughout offices in different cities or countries.
If you don’t see your coworkers every day – or even see the building – living the corporate brand and promoting the same brand message and values becomes tough. That dilemma then bubbles over into your company’s brand unity as a whole, particularly the image that you present to your customers and the public.
Brands need harmony for two crucial reasons: professionalism and cohesion. If your company is perceived as unprofessional, no one will trust your products or services. If you aren’t putting out a cohesive message, then customers will get confused – and possibly angry – at your mixed signals. Being untrustworthy and perplexing are not good ways to earn business.
If you are struggling with brand unity in your own business, here are our suggestions to getting your marketing back into harmony.
Logos, Fonts, and Colors
No matter the size or your organization, create a Style Guide that defines your approved logo, logo usage, tagline, fonts, and color palettes. Designate a brand manager to guarantee that your brand remain steady across all marketing channels – verbal, visual and digital. Share your Style Guide internally as well as with your marketing agency, printer, and promotional product vendor.
Establish one visual style for your business and stick with it. If you keep a cohesive look and feel through every marketing channel, customers will be able to identify you easier. This includes graphics and images used throughout your website and marketing materials. We just visited Ford’s Fish Shack for lunch and their visual brand is spot on – from décor, to menu, to wait staff apparel, and call ahead cards – we knew where we were and who they were! (The food was great too!)
Voice and Tone
What voice speaks to your customers? Define your voice and then preserve it throughout every internal communication and external marketing piece. Live it. If you are casual and funny in one piece and then all business and serious in another, customers won’t understand who are you trying to reach. Setting a homogeneous tone and voice are key to any good marketing content.
Once you’ve found your voice, make sure you retain consistent messaging. Just like controlling your tone, you have to keep your message geared towards the same audience – and always with your mission and vision in mind.
Sweat the small stuff. Customers notice everything, especially in the days of social media. All employees should have the same business card, the same email footers, and the same dress requirements. When customers communicate or interact with different areas of your company, they need to feel like they are talking to the same company.
Brand unity is key to projecting a whole and undivided corporate vision to your customers. Find your voice, refine your message around your mission, and maintain the same visual style. The more you can establish a dependable brand experience, the more your customers will reward you.