I talk a lot about how important it is to have a consistent brand identity. For example, here’s a post where I’ve outlined how consistency in your branding will enable to you grow your business by building trust, professionalism, and a loyal customer-base.
What I haven’t done is explain how exactly you can do that. How to maintain a consistent brand identity and what having a consistent brand really means for your business. So in this post, I’m going to do just that!
Here are some key areas to check when you’re evaluating the consistency of your brand.
Your brand identity elements
Before you can check that your brand is consistent, you need to know what you’re checking it against, right? Your brand identity elements might include:
- alternate logos/submarks
- colour palette
- brand typography
For the sake of organisation, it’s great to have the digital files for these elements in an easy-to-access place on your computer where they’re easy to grab when you need them.
For logos, patterns and icons, this will probably mean various file formats, such as PDF, PNG or EPS, while for colours you might have a text file where the Hex code is easy to copy-paste, or a flat image that you can open up and use the eye-dropper tool on to grab the exact colour.
How you keep these elements organised is totally up to you and your preferred way of working, but keeping them organised and up-to-date is the first important step of keeping your brand consistent. Make sure everything is high-quality, looks crisp and clean, and fits together cohesively.
Brand board or style guide
Brand boards or style guides are great documents to use for maintaining a consistent brand. In its simplest form, a brand board is just your brand elements laid out on a single page, which gives you a quick and easy reference.
Related post: What so many style guides are failing to cover
Business cards & stationery
Anything you pass on to customers/clients from your business should clearly look representative of your business. Your logo should be visible, text should be set in the same typefaces, the colours should be the same, and so on. This would include business cards, letterheads and envelopes.
And don’t think that if you’re a fully-online business, that this point doesn’t apply to you! Your invoices, receipts, and any other documents you create should also be carefully created to be consistent.
These days, a lot of businesses use online software for things like accounting and design options may be limited because of that. But if you have the option of adding your own logo, changing colours or typography then take it! Taking the time to adjust these small details to suit your business helps you to personalise the experience of a consumer buying from you.
If you send anything to customers, or sell physical products, then extending your branding to your packaging is an amazing way to build a great brand experience. This might include things like using stickers with your logo printed on them, boxes or tissue paper that reflects your brand colours, or using branded labels. Help build anticipation of your products by getting your customer excited from the moment they recognise your branding from the box it came in.
A lot of business happens online these days, so having clear branding on your website is a necessity. As well as making sure you’re using your brand elements consistently across your website, make sure that each individual page of your website also has a consistent look. Keep things like main headings the same size, in the same formatting between different pages. If your buttons are a certain colour on one page, they should probably be that colour on every page.
This kind of consistency is super important for usability, and the easy navigation of your site by consumers.
You probably send a lot of emails, don’t you? I mean, who doesn’t? Check that your email signature is on brand, with a nice clear image of your logo, but try to keep the file size small since space is often so limited in emails.
Now, because of the way email is handled and effected by various email services, this is an area where I don’t spend too much time worrying about things like, the colour of links and typography. Images and formatting tend to break down pretty quickly once an email goes through a couple different email readers, so it’s not worth getting concerned about.
For email newsletters, having a simple template is a good idea. This might mean always including your logo, or a banner image at the top so it’s easy for readers to remember where these emails are coming from.
Whether you like to use a logo in all of your profile pictures, or an photo of yourself, it’s a good idea to use the same image across all of your social media platforms. This’ll go a long way to help build awareness and recognisability of your brand. I also wouldn’t recommend changing the image very often at all. In fact, if you do decide to change it, it might be a good idea to give your followers a heads up and let them know you’re still you. People can be quick to unfollow an account they don’t quickly recognise.
Also keep your header images consistent on platforms like Twitter and Facebook where you have the option of adding one. Using templates for posts is also a good way to keep things consistent, as well as being an excellent time-saver.
Ads & marketing material
Google/social media ads, or any other kind of marketing material should definitely be recognisably your brand. So, for example, if a person decides to click an ad online and is taken to your website or some other page, there should be a clear connection between the look of that page and the look of the ad they started from.
Ok! I hope this list helped you to know where to start when it comes to checking the consistency of your brand identity. All business grow and evolve over time, so checking that your branding is still going strong is important to do. It’s natural for the visual branding of a business to adapt to changes in your goals, customers base, or aesthetic trends. When it happens, make sure the alterations you make in one part of your branding is carried out across the whole thing (sometimes, this might mean it’s time for a rebrand). Any time you make new collateral, you also want to check that it matches what you already have!
Do you have any tricks you use to keep your brand identity consistent?
Looking for more content? Try these:
- Useful questions to ask when self-critiquing your business’s designs
- You need to do a brand audit, and here are the great reasons why
- Should you hire a graphic designer for your small business?
- How defining your core customer will boost your business
- How to stand out with authentic branding
- A complete guide to creating a brand that perfectly suits your business
- 5 typography tips to refer to when designing
- How to use consistent branding to grow your business