Delivering brand consistency in a connected world in four steps

    Klik hier om het orginele artikel te lezen op TNS NIPO (20 July 2016)
    People who behave in a consistent way are often judged more trustworthy and reliable. Behaving consistently means showing the same personality wherever you are and with whoever you meet. People who do the exact opposite by showing different faces in different occasions can make people feel confused and ‘on their guard’. Does the same apply to brands when it comes to the personality they radiate in their numerous touchpoints?

    Why does consistency matters?
    I recently saw some examples of advertising for a coffee brand. The brand had some print ads where the images showed a lively personality and a luxurious one in others. When I checked their Facebook page it radiated naturalness. Three widely different personalities from the same brand. Very confusing for consumers. Delivering a consistent brand message is something I see brands struggling with very often.

    We at TNS know from experience that consistency in your brand personality across all occasions and all touchpoints (advertising, but also retail environments, websites, salespersons, direct marketing, etc) really works. We have proved this by looking at more than 5.000 brands all over the world, that radiating a consistent personality makes brands stronger. These brands have higher market shares and make more profit.

    Consistency is key
    Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, SEA, product review sites, blogs and more. With the growth of possible channels and touchpoints (next to (digital) communication/advertising also retail environments, websites, salespersons, direct marketing, etc) for brands to connect to consumers, delivering consistency can become quite a challenge. Overcoming this challenge creates opportunities for synergy between touchpoints which helps getting your brand message across. This synergy is the true benefit of having an integrated marketing approach. 

    But, where do you start when your brand wants to improve its integrated marketing strategy?

    create-a-visual-language.jpgStep 1: Create your brand’s own visual language
    Your brand’s visual language must match your brand personality. Use pictures that are unmistakably yours. Use these visuals to tell your brand’s story across your touchpoints.


    A good example is Suitsupply. They call themselves a pioneer and are a challenger of the category: they match an Armani suit in quality, but for a lot less in price. 

    Suitsupply wants to show they’re a bold, daring, different and non-conforming brand. This clearly shows in their visual style. Even the reactions they provoke with their campaigns show their brand message is coming across. 


    Example 1 | The bold and non-conformative visual style of Suitsupply is a perfect match with their desired brand personality

    Step 2: Find your tone of voice
    Finding the right tone of voice can make all the difference in the world. Especially on social, it’s not only important what you say and when you say it, but also how you say it. A brand’s tone of voice should be distinct, recognizable and unique.

    This is a great example of a conversation between Kim Kardashian and Giorgio Armani on Twitter.


    Example 2 | Giorgio Armani finds exactly the right tone of voice, consistent with their personality

    The initial response of Giorgio Armani is very helpful, but then they cleverly draw attention to her having misspelt the brand name. This would be wrong for any other brand, but because Giorgio Armani is all about being refined, with an intelligent and competent touch, it is great use of symbolism.

    Leveraging-technology-to-add-value.jpgStep 3: Leveraging technology to add value
    Many brands make the mistake of thinking ‘we need our own app’ when it comes to leveraging technology to add value. But there are there are two very important questions brands need to ask themselves. The first is, is my app valuable? Does it bring something new and interesting to my consumer? And the second one, does the app fit my brand personality?

    Nine out of ten times, the answer is ‘no’. But there are some great examples of brands who do find a way to combine their brand personality with offering something new. 

    One of them is the Sit Or Squat app from the toilet paper brand Charmin. Their brand personality is about fun and they want you to enjoy going to the bathroom as much as they do. The app allows you to locate the nearest clean toilet. The colourful animation and use of light humour fits well with their brand.

    Example 3 | Charmin has built a useful app that fits with their brand character and visual style

    Each bathroom is rated either a "sit" (meaning it's clean enough to use) or a "squat" (you're better off going somewhere else or at least do not sit down when you use it). This is great example of using technology to add value and it fits their personality.

    Another example is IKEA. IKEA’s brand personality is about everyday living, creative and practical design and being affordable and for everyone. This not only shows in their branded app, but also in the video showcasing the app. Just take a look below.


    Example 4 | The IKEA app is also a well created app that matches the intended brand personality 100%

    ensure-coherence-across-all-touchpoints.jpgStep 4: Ensure coherence across all touchpoints
    The last step is ensuring coherence across all touchpoints. Innocent is an example of a brand that succeeds in radiating the same brand personality in all of their touchpoints. It’s a fun, enthusiastic and spontaneous brand and this shows in their print ads, packaging and social. This makes their brand message powerful and irresistible. 

    Example 5 | Innocent is a brand with very coherent touchpoints. Look at their print ads, tweets and packaging.

    How to become more consistent and therefore more irresistible
    So, in order to improve your integrated marketing strategy and to radiate a more consistent brand personality across all your touchpoints to really become irresistible and drive growth, you have to deliver against these four steps.


    6 | The four steps to become more irresistible

    These steps and the proof I talked about, will help you to convince your management that consistency in personality is crucial. They will not risk missing out on share and profit. The involvement of the management will also make it easier to make sure that your organization becomes internally aligned on your brand personality. Everyone in your organization must understand what your brand stands for and how they have to behave accordingly. And I mean EVERYONE. Not only marketing, but literally everyone: from the reception desk to the sales managers in the stores to the people in the call centers or in your social media teams. They all have to feel, look, smell and talk in line with your personality. Then you really become a consistent, and truly irresistible brand.