Have you ever glanced up at an advert from a train platform and known instantly which company the ad is for? Even without any mention of the brand itself and before you see the logo, you just know.
You recognise the company behind the ad because they’ve shown up consistently over time. They have a unique visual tone you can spot in seconds.
Repetition breeds a certain familiarity. If the company’s message seems authentic, then you end up feeling like you know them and can trust them.
This is the key reason why strong, consistent branding is so important. It grabs your prospect’s attention and it builds trust. And because trust is now more important than ever in both finding and keeping customers, it helps you to grow your business too.
The benefit of being instantly recognisable
It might sound obvious, but it’s often forgotten that customers prefer to buy from companies they like. Companies they can relate to. And the best place to start in getting someone to like you is being on their radar in the first place. You have to be instantly recognisable.
Mailchimp have a strong, instantly recognisable brand.
This in itself is tricky of course. We fly through our social feeds on an average day, our eyes darting from one piece of intro text to the next. Most of them pass us by. The ones we do engage with tend to be trusted sources we’ve spent time with before.
That’s because our brains like consistency and patterns.
Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. She has visited your site a few times and has read some of your blog posts. She has subconsciously familiarised herself with how your brand speaks and how it looks. But even though she has followed you, she ends up skipping past your social post in her feed because it doesn’t look familiar to her.
In the millisecond when she’s deciding whether to invest her time in your new post or not, the visual cues that would have persuaded her are missing.
That’s why consistency is so important. By showing up regularly in the same outfit, you’re seen as being dependable. You’re saying “this is us, this is what we look like, and this is what we believe.” If that story resonates with your prospect, then you’ll have a new follower who’s also more likely to become a customer.
The challenges of showing up consistently
So, by showing up consistently, you make life easier for your prospects. You help them to join the dots regardless of where they are on their own personal buyer journey.
But this can be challenging for some brands.
After all, sharing content on a range of different platforms with consistent branding can feel like a real effort. With limited time or resources, you might feel obliged to sacrifice a unified visual identity for the sake of “getting something out there”.
Our brand kit for Ticket Tailor gave them a consistent presence across a variety of channels.
After you’ve finished reading this article, take a look at a few of your own recent updates or communications on different channels. Do they tell the same message? And is it clear from the visuals that it’s you?
If the answer is no, it might be because you don’t have easy access to your branding materials in the first place.
You’ll likely have included your logo, designs, and colour scheme into your website. But do you have easily-accessible templates that allow you to quickly replicate the same look and feel elsewhere? Your Facebook ad, your Instagram story, and your website should all share the same DNA.
That’s not to say that you can’t be creative and alter a few elements as you go. The tone on LinkedIn isn’t the same as Instagram, for example. But the core should remain consistent. Otherwise you’ll feel like you’re having to introduce yourself again and again. And you’ll confuse those who are already following you across these platforms.
Make it easy for your prospects to get to know you and like you
Consumers have so much choice these days that they can afford to be picky about brands they buy from. Most prefer to only engage with those that they like and trust.
In Robert Cialdini’s classic book, Influence, he sets out several persuasion techniques that companies use to get you to buy their products. One of them is being liked. But before prospects can grow to like you, they have to get to know you. And in order for them to get to know you, you have to show up consistently.
Consistent branding is a long game. You might not reap the rewards of it straight away. But stick at it. Keep showing up with the same look and feel. You’ll speed up the process of prospects becoming aware of you, getting to know you, and then liking and trusting you.
And from there, you’ll be in a great place to grow your business.