Consistency is becoming even more of a business imperative and a key driver of success. Perhaps this is simply because consistency builds trust among consumers, and consumers are more likely to engage with brands they trust.
BrandQuantum founder Paula Sartini says that for consumers to trust a brand, visual consistency is key: how the brand looks, what it says and what it does are the three fundamental elements which build consistency. As such, most branding agencies focus predominantly on the visual aspect of brand consistency.
However, the experiential side of brands is increasingly coming to the fore, influenced by a myriad factors that may not include visual consistency but have a significant impact on how consumers perceive the brand and is informed by all their interactions with that brand.
In today’s digital age, where consumers are exposed to brands across various platforms, it can be a challenge for companies to communicate a consistent brand experience in every interaction with their target audience. In addition, companies are required to adhere to several regulations, such as the POPI Act and the Consumer Protection Act. That is why branding cannot be the sole responsibility of the marketing department.
“This is why there is an increasing awareness of what I call operational marketing,” says Sartini. “What is the point of investing so much money into the visual consistency of a brand when a single thoughtless piece of communication not in keeping with the rest of the brand’s image can do untold damage?” she asks, adding that everything can be ruined by one negative experience at another touchpoint – for instance, an automated letter that does not stand up to the brand’s promise or the terms and conditions at the bottom of a letterhead that do not comply with the latest legislation.
It’s becoming harder and harder for brands to maintain consistency, especially when one considers the multitude of touchpoints where consumers and brands interact, not to mention the rate of change in the digital world. “Marketing departments have less and less control of the places where their brand appears, and they cannot be everywhere at once,” says Sartini.
BrandQuantum’s solution has been to develop software that manages brand consistency, freeing up marketers and their agencies to focus on other vital activities, without having to worry about policing their brands.
“This software, which is cloud-based, manages consistency across all touchpoints – every single piece of communication, on every program in real time. It plugs into Microsoft Office and is not managed by IT, rather it is centrally owned by the marketing department, who can make real-time changes, synchronizing content, toolbars and all the latest collateral to be compliant with the most up-to-date legislation and brand content,” Sartini explains. She says employees of a brand don’t have time to spend digging the latest collateral off the Intranet or shared files, which is why so often the wrong content is used. This software ensures every person has everything they need at their fingertips to maintain brand consistency.
“Operations may be the least sexy element of marketing, but ultimately it’s what keeps the business going and ensures consistency,” Sartini concludes.
The big take-out: In a climate where maintaining brand consistency is affected by many different factors and is becoming increasingly challenging, BrandQuantum has developed cloud-based software that manages brand consistency for marketers, agencies and employees at all touchpoints.