What is brand consistency? How do you build and maintain it?

What is brand consistency? How do you build and maintain it?

A consistent brand presentation across your platforms can increase revenue by 23%. However, since creating and maintaining a brand implies a collective effort, achieving brand consistency can be pretty challenging.

Consistency is important in building relationships. Think about how you built a relationship with one of your friends. Maybe you were introduced and realized you had a lot in common. You invited them out and had a good time. Every time you invited them after that, they always showed up, and you continued to have great experiences. Your consistent interactions built trust, and that trust established a friendship.

This is similar to how we build relationships with brands. Brand consistency establishes trust because steady visibility and experiences provide customers with dependable expectations.

When brands continue to meet those expectations, this leads to customer loyalty, and with that comes spikes in sales. In fact, research shows that maintaining brand consistency across all customer touch points can increase a brand’s revenue by up to 23%.

But ensuring consistency isn’t easy, especially for larger companies with many internal and external brand-building partners. More people working across many projects can mean more opportunities for branding errors – like an outdated logo or incorrect colors – to make their way to customers and impact your bottom line.

How can brands achieve consistency? What does that look like in the real world? And what’s the easiest way to overcome common consistency challenges?

Keep reading to find out.

What is brand consistency?

You know you need to achieve brand consistency to establish trust and build loyalty, but what does that really mean?

Brand consistency is the process of keeping all brand assets, from visuals to messaging, the same across all mediums. It’s speaking in a consistent voice on your social channels, website, print ads, and brand videos. It’s providing a dependable experience in your ecommerce store and at your brick-and-mortar locations, from your in-store signage to how your employees communicate with customers.

Consistency also means using the same color palette in every iteration of your logo, in your products, and in other brand materials. Consistency creates brand recognition, so customers know in seconds who you are.

What does a consistent brand Look Like?

A brand that has excelled at creating consistency is Amazon; as a result, they’ve developed very loyal customers.

Amazon says its mission is to be “Earth’s most customer-centric company,” and they unite around “striving to delight our customers and make their lives easier, one innovative product, service, and idea at a time.”

The primary Amazon logo contains the yellow arrow that looks like a smile and points from A to Z. This helps communicate the brand’s mission by showing they want to delight customers by selling everything from A to Z.

Amazon carries the arrow smile through to all branding and product extensions. You can find it on their delivery trucks and the box of goods you receive. It’s incorporated into its Prime membership logo, which strives to make customers happy by quickly bringing them what they want.

Their messaging, whether through social media or advertisements, is dedicated to how they’re focused on customers. And their employees follow through on the brand promise by delivering the products they want when they want them.

Amazon provides a consistent look, feel, and message that supports its mission at every touch point. And you can’t deny the results. The company now ranks as one of the top brands on most lists. It was named the leading brand on Morning Consult’s list of Most Loved Brands in America in 2019, which was based on more than 400,000 survey interviews. In January 2020, Amazon was also declared the world’s most valuable brand by Visual Capital.

With consistency in branding and innovative services, Amazon became the most-loved brand. In the span of 25 years, it rose above other loved brands, such as Hershey’s, which has been around for more than 100 years.

What happens when you don’t deliver brand consistency?

Now, let’s examine what happens when you don’t deliver consistency. Think about Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice. Did you picture a carton of juice with an orange skewered by a straw?

Back in January 2009, the brand launched a redesigned logo and new packaging. The orange on the carton was replaced with a photo of a glass of juice. The plain carton cap was redesigned to look like an orange, and the brand moved “Tropicana” and replaced it with a more modern font.

A month after launch, sales of Pure Premium juice dropped 20%, equating to a $30 million loss, and consumers said the new look was ugly and made it seem like a “generic bargain brand.” Some didn’t even recognize that it was the same brand. By February, Tropicana decided to scrap the look and return to the original.

The president of Tropicana North America said he didn’t realize the emotional bond consumers had to the original packaging and logo. Even though the product inside was exactly the same, showing a glass of juice instead of a straw-skewered orange wasn’t consistent with consumers’ expectations; as a result, the company lost brand recognition, trust, and sales.

The moral of the story: Delivering a consistent look and feel is important to your customers and your bottom line. That isn’t to say you should never rebrand. Brands are dynamic, and as the company evolves, their visuals need to evolve as well. But make sure you’re still recognizable to your customers.

Otherwise, ensure that you have solutions in place to prevent brand errors, because even an incorrect font or logo placed by accident could affect customer expectations.

How to build and maintain brand consistency

You’ve seen how consistent brand experiences lead to trust, loyalty, and revenue, while inconsistent ones can erode consumer confidence and decrease sales.

Today, brand-building requires collaborating with large internal teams and external agencies. With so many people involved, how can you ensure that every single brand material is using the correct colors, fonts, logos, and voice, to deliver a consistent customer experience?

Unfortunately, many brands can’t. A study of 200 organizations conducted by Lucidpress and Demand Metric found that more than 60% of respondents said that marketing materials were either “always, often or sometimes created” that didn’t conform to their brand guidelines.

Since these inconsistencies are likely impacting customers’ expectations and revenue, companies need to find a way to prevent branding blunders.

The easiest way to fix consistency errors is with a single source of truth: one point of reference where all of your information can be stored and used throughout the company, and outside it. A single source of truth is crucial for larger teams and companies with external partners, because it makes sure everyone is working with the correct information and assets.

The best single source of truth in this case is a brand management platform like Frontify. Below are five ways our brand management software makes it simple for companies to improve brand consistency.

Create online brand guidelines

Your brand guidelines are the first place internal or external teams should refer to when it comes to creating on-brand materials.

With our cloud-based Brand Guidelines, brand information, including mission, values, colors, logo variations, fonts, usage specifications, and UI patterns, are always up to date and accessible.

There will never be any doubts about whether or not collaborators are using the latest information.


Make approved, on-brand assets accessible

Improve the process for finding and sharing current assets, including photos, videos, icons, and documents, by putting them in the cloud with our digital asset management (DAM) solution. With the ability to add metadata and custom tags, Frontify makes it easy for users to search and find exactly what they need.

DAMs not only help scattered teams easily access assets from anywhere but also ensure that teams use the right branded assets. A survey of creative and marketing leaders who invested in a DAM experienced a 23% reduction in risk by preventing the use of unlicensed or unapproved assets.

Asset owners can also set expiration dates for instances when there are image licenses or other restrictions that make assets time-sensitive. A recent feature addition includes expiration emails that will be sent to any user that has downloaded an asset due to expire.

Develop templates for repeat projects

Ensure brand consistency across repeat projects, like social media graphics, with premade templates. With our Digital & Print Templates tool, designers can build templates and connect them to approved assets, colors, and fonts. They can also decide which sections are frozen and which can be edited to prevent potential misuse.

With editable templates, it’s easy for brand partners to create on-brand materials. After creating your templates, you can then store and tag them in our DAM, so anyone who needs them can find them.

Review designs as they move through the pipeline

Reduce the risk of potential design errors with Creative Collaboration. With Creative Collaboration, teams can see and discuss all design projects in one shared location. A Kanban board lets everyone know exactly where projects are in the pipeline, and they can provide feedback and give approvals.

With increased visibility, teams can guarantee that designs maintain brand consistency.


Audit designs for correct fonts & colors

Frontify’s Inspect Mode prevents brand inconsistencies on web projects. With this feature, design-to-development handovers become smoother because audit functionality helps developers quickly ensure that designs are using brand colors and fonts. If there is a mismatch between designs and guidelines defined in the Frontify Brand Guidelines, developers get a notification.

That helps you find and correct consistency errors early, before they become a problem.


Increase brand consistency with Frontify

With an online, cloud-based brand management solution, increasing consistency – and revenue – is easier. Frontify’s software allows brands to create a single source of truth so internal and external teams have the correct information and assets. Create and share guidelines; store current approved photos, videos and documents; develop branded templates; and collaborate and audit designs.

Start a free trial, or contact us to request a demo, and see for yourself how Frontify can help your brand improve consistency, trust, and loyalty.

Willem Haen
Willem Haen
Brand Manager
Oskar Duberg
Oskar Duberg
Senior Brand Content Specialist