Brand Consistency: Ensuring On-Brand Communication with the Right Tools

Maarten Evertzen | 15 March 2022

Minimalist font. Neutral tones on crisp, white background. The lone image of a woman in white undergarments — a serene smile and the unmistakable look of tranquillity across her make-up-free face. You do not need to see a logo to confirm that this is, in fact, an ad campaign for Dove.

The ease with which these visuals are recognised perfectly exemplifies what brand consistency means, and how crucial it is in creating and maintaining a strong brand.

But this digital age of high-volume, high-stakes content production demands more than just on-brand communications. It also demands more efficiency in the process. In this blog, I will share how the right tools and software solutions can enhance Brand Management processes and ensure consistency across all brand touchpoints.

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Brand consistency: what it is and why it matters

Brand consistency is what enables an organisation to communicate in a manner that aligns with its values, promise, and identity. To be ‘on-brand’, therefore, means to create content that meets the organisation’s requirements with respect to corporate identity and brand guidelines.

“Why does consistency in branding matter? The answer is simple: consistency creates connections.”

However, it should not be mistaken for the need to make every branded asset look exactly alike. On the contrary, consistency involves creating coherent variations in brand assets to better communicate to different audiences or within a different context.

But why does consistency in branding matter? The answer is simple: consistency creates connections.

95% of purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind”, says Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman. Even when a consumer is not consciously processing your ad or billboard, consistency lets you connect with consumers across all touchpoints, and through different versions of your brand assets.

Brand consistency guarantees every McDonald’s customer the same experience at every restaurant. It informs consumers that the visual cues mentioned above – whether seen on a billboard or a magazine – are from Dove. Consistency in branding builds recall, and a sense of familiarity that creates a unified customer experience. And these are crucial elements in gaining customer trust and loyalty.

How to ensure brand consistency

The key to ensuring consistency lies in effective Brand Management. There is no substitute to a strong, well-organised internal system where teams can effectively and efficiently implement strategies across the organisation.

But this is easier said than done. And I have seen many of our clients struggle with this.

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Keys to effective brand management: people, processes, technology

Effective Brand Management starts with understanding that it is not a singular process but an entire network of systems and processes. Several factors come into play in effectively managing all aspects of branding, but the most crucial ones are people, processes, and technology:

“Effective Brand Management starts with understanding that it is not a singular process but an entire network of systems and processes.”

People: Effective Brand Management requires delegating the right people – with the right knowledge and competencies – in the right positions.

Processes: For Brand Management to be effective, processes and workflows should also be set up in a way that allows for the seamless collaboration between members of your internal teams, and with external partners such as agencies and suppliers.

Technology: Having the right people and a clear process for Brand Management, while essential, cannot work as efficiently without the right technology. Effective Brand Management, therefore, requires a network of software solutions where branded assets and content guidelines can be easily managed and accessed.

Brand technology: the 3 tools that help enhance brand consistency

There is no shortage of useful tools in Brand Management. These three tools, however, are the ones that have the biggest impact on brand consistency:

Digital Asset Management (DAM) system

This is a place where brands store, manage, and share images and logos. It is the single source of truth where the latest versions of your brand assets are stored. A DAM system is a dynamic tool that automatically updates all your assets and guidelines when something is changed. It is the most comprehensive media library for your brand.

Guidelines and education software solutions

Guidelines and education software solutions are a singular system where employees can find the most up-to-date information and instructions on how to use all the brand assets from your DAM system. It also demonstrates how to create content and apply branding to specific channels and touchpoints. Making these guidelines easily accessible from a single source ensures accuracy across all areas of implementation.

Template management and editing system

Editing and template management software makes it easier to create all kinds of brand touchpoints. Think about PowerPoint layout templates, brochures, reports, and even video editing. Equipping these tools with on-brand templates and on-brand elements that are directly connected to your DAM and guidelines and education tooling can help you efficiently manage, edit, and share your branded assets.

“Optimising branding processes requires a system where all these tools can work seamlessly together.”

But having all these moving parts in the process always comes with the risk of disconnect. Optimising branding processes requires a system where all these tools can work seamlessly together. That is why you need a Brand Technology Ecosystem.

A brand technology ecosystem: the power of integration

A Brand Technology Ecosystem is an interface that integrates all your technology solutions within one dynamic system. It provides you with a user-friendly platform for all your employees to easily access, create, share, and manage your brand touchpoints. You can even provide access to third-party service partners, so your photographers, video production agencies, and other partners are already on-brand, too.  

Creating an effective brand technology ecosystem is not without its challenges 

Creating an effective Brand Technology Ecosystem, however, is not without its challenges. Among them:  

  • Finding the right tools for your organisation. With there being a wide selection of tools in the market, finding one that suits your needs can be a time-consuming undertaking. 
  • Integrating new tools with the system you already have also poses a challenge, as there is always a risk of incompatibility between the solutions. 
  • Equipping your Marketing and Communications team with the right skills to utilise Brand Technology tools.  
  • Making sure that your IT/Digital departments have an understanding of how brand management works. 
  • Ensuring the seamless implementation of Brand Technology tools in your organisation. 

If you do not have this type of system yet, or are unsure about your current setup in brand tooling, have a brand technology expert assess your organisation and find out how you can improve your process to better ensure brand consistency.