Consistency is Critical When Building a Strong Brand
In your career, you need to actively manage your personal brand, and consistency is critical to creating a strong personal brand. You must be consistent in every aspect of how you express your brand. Whatever you are, be that—over and over and over again, so that those whom you are trying to influence don’t have to think about what you stand for; they just know.
A brand is the promise of a future experience. The more consistent the experience, the stronger the impression will be. We don’t question whether McDonald’s® will be fast, because it’s always fast. It may not be your favorite restaurant, but if you want a quick meal, you may just stop there.
In my career, I develop marketing plans for many different products or services. In developing marketing plans, it’s important to look at all the different aspects of a brand, the media plans, and the marketing messages. I look at the website and the packaging and the PR and at least eighteen other consumer touch points to thoroughly evaluate a product’s brand messaging. It is a rigorous process to examine all the different aspects of how someone is going to get an impression about that brand. It is the brand manager’s job to craft these touch points in such a way that each builds on all the other brand communications.
Apple® is a classic example of consistent brand expression. Simplicity and innovation are at the core of their brand. These qualities were built into the DNA of the company, right from its beginning, when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were driven to develop a computer that was simple and intuitive and easy to use. When you look at how their brand gets expressed, you see simplicity and innovation pervasive in every aspect of their brand. Their packaging is monochromatic, and their retail stores are very clean and crisp. The billboards advertising the iPod are crisp, clean silhouettes of people with pure, white earbuds, and the iPad and iPhone rely on infinitely consumer-friendly touchscreen technology.
So how do other companies carry through with this consistency? Southworth communicates the refined nature of its brand in many different ways, leveraging their heritage in their tagline “Trusted since 1839″ and conveying quality in all brand communications. They know that their customers buy its fine papers to communicate high-quality for their own branding and business communications and express their social refinement when using Southworth’s personal stationery products. They stay true to their brand by choosing high-quality cotton fiber for their pulp, enforcing strict production processes at their mill and using a higher quality rigid packaging to protect every last sheet of paper from soil and wrinkles.
Just as good brand managers are very consistent in their communication, you want to be consistent in the expression of your brand. Just as a product or service or company must look at all the elements affecting and shaping its brand identity, you need to spend time reviewing the factors contributing to (or detracting from) your personal brand. Review how you are currently coming across to people and identify the activities that are working well and those that are not contributing to the personal brand you would like to express.
Rahna Barthelmess is a branding strategist and author of the soon-to-be released personal branding bible Turbo-Charge Your Career. You can find out more about branding and personal branding at http://www.turbochargeyourcareer.com/