A GUEST BLOG POST FROM Kayleigh at KW Design
Own or run a business?
Then hopefully you will be familiar with the importance of branding. In today’s market we have just a split second to catch the attention of our consumer, so it is vital that we make the right first impressions with our business and its branding.
Today I want to share with you a common mistake that we see many brands make on a daily basis… often without realising. This mistake can have damaging effects towards your business and your customers’ perceptions.
Some of the best brands in the world do this really well. Any guesses?
It is a thing called ‘consistency’, well, brand consistency to be precise.
Something very simple but more often than not something that is overlooked by many business owners. Brand consistency is a key area to focus on if you want to succeed with your business. All too often parts of the business get left or forgotten about which leads to out of date information, inconsistent design, mixed customer messages and compromised customer service.
So ask yourself this question… how consistent is your brand?
At a glance you may think all is well… but dive in a little deeper and take a look at the finer details.
Your brand is everything, from retail shop standards to premises, customer service, the way you talk and present yourself to customers, and any other channels you choose to use such as a website or marketing materials. All of these play a key part in your customer deciding if they should trust and use you or not.
A successful brand will be consistent in ensuring everything links up so customers know you at a glance, and can expect a certain standard of quality and service, regardless of how they access, see, or hear about your goods or services.
Here is a great little Mystery Shop exercise that will help you get to grips with brand consistency and highlight areas for your own brand to focus and improve on. Spend as little or as much time on this as you like.
Part 1 – Mystery shop a brand that you look up to.
When you are next out and about, pretend you are a mystery shopper. Scrutinise different aspects of your chosen business in detail. Think about the points below –
- What do they do well?
- What is it that attracts you to the brand?
- Take a look at their communications including social media. Is there a certain tone of voice used across these?
- If they sell products then what does their packaging look like? Is it professional and does it tie in with the company brand?
- The same goes for signage: can their premises be easily identified?
- If you are feeling brave, go a step further and give them a call with a customer query. This is a great (and free) way to gain insight into a brand’s service levels.
- Take a look at the website. Is it user friendly and easy to navigate, is it easy to purchase goods or services from, or does it contain valuable information to help you make informed buying choices?
Basically you should look to cover every area of the brand that a customer would experience. Make notes as you go and when finished you will be clear on what things your chosen brand does well and also see areas where there is room for improvement.
Part 2 – The next step is to take a look at your own business.
Better still ask someone outside of your business to do this. This is a great way to indicate if your key messages / unique selling points are clear from a customer’s perspective. You know what you do, but do your customers understand what you do?
Use this feedback (or your notes if you do this yourself) to compare and contrast your own brand against the favourite brand you have mystery shopped.
A common worry that people have is budget. Yes the big brands may have a much larger marketing budget than you, but don’t let this put you off. Consistency costs nothing, simply a few hours of your time to make sure your brand is linked across the channels and spend time highlighting any areas that need attention.
Below are a few things to think about with your brand –
Brand identity – Use of your logo, fonts, brand colours and tone of voice. Are these the same? If not then agree some brand guidelines and work through each media channel (brochures, website, marketing materials etc.) to make sure that these are all consistent. All should follow the same professional format and layout, so when a customer has seen one thing they know at a glance which brand it is from.
Social Media – Do all your accounts look the same, are profile / header images consistent? Is the company information complete across all platforms? Customers should be able to recognise your business at a glance when using social media. Make sure that you fill in as much detail as possible in the ‘about us’ or ‘company profile’ sections. Another tip is to think about what you post. Keeping your personal life separate to your business is a must. Post things that are relevant to your business and show it in a professional light. Sharing personal photos, family pets and holiday snaps will put potential customers off.
Customer Service – in person, by phone and by email. Do you have policies in place for you and staff to follow? Everyone should be on the same page when handling customer queries and complaints so it is worth having a processes or policy in place to follow across your brand. This is vitally important if you have several outlets or premises. Customers come to expect the same great service no matter where they are buying from.
Hopefully this article has got you thinking about your own brand and will save you from this common mistake that so many people make. Spend a few hours out from your day and look at your business from your customers’ viewpoint.
Chances are, a consistent brand will mean that you are a step ahead of your competition.
If you would like more information on branding for your business then please get in touch. KW Design offers brand and retail consultations, helping you to grow your business and be found by your ideal customers.
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