How do your customers identify you? Is it your logo? Or your catchy tagline? Perhaps your company name is well-known in your industry or area. All of these things and more are part of your brand. Your brand is a comprehensive asset representing your reputation and ability to connect with your target audience.
Brand equity is the overall value of your brand. As you can imagine, some of the largest companies in the world have extremely high brand equity. According to a study by Kantar, Apple has the highest brand value in the world at $947 million. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and a Chinese company called Tencent all round out the top five. A valuable and powerful brand can translate into real revenue and bottom-line success.
Brand equity isn’t just for mega-corporations. Brand equity can be a powerful asset for any business, regardless of size, location, or market. Nike’s iconic swoosh and “Just Do It” tagline translate into billions of dollars a year in revenue. However, strong brand equity can also be valuable for your locally-owned business.
The question is…how do you create brand equity? There are many different strategies and tactics available. Branding, graphic design, content, and even search engine optimisation all play a role.
However, there is one key ingredient that all strong brands possess. It’s consistency. Consistency is the magic ingredient that makes a brand work. You can have the best design, color palette, tagline, and other branding elements worldwide. However, if your audience isn’t seeing your brand regularly, they won’t make the connection.
People know Nike because they have seen the swoosh and the tagline over and over for years. They know Apple because the logo and the company name have been pervasive in our lives for decades. The same is true of your branding. The more often and consistently people interact with your brand, the more likely they trust you with their business. Below are five ways to add consistency to your brand and increase brand equity.
Think of the most iconic brands out there. What do they all have in common? They have a well-known and easily-recognizable logo. Amazon’s is their name with the line connecting “A” and “Z.” Nike has its iconic swoosh. Apple has an apple. And who could forget McDonald’s with its golden arches?
Think about what all of these logos have in common. They are incredibly simple. They’re not overly designed. They don’t use a wide range of colors, not overly complex. They are simple enough that a customer can look at them and quickly identify what they represent.
The other common element among all these logos is that they are used often. Nike’s swoosh appears on every material and content the company publishes. Amazon’s logo is everywhere. It’s online, Amazon delivery boxes and bags, ads. It’s even on the side of trucks and vans nationwide. Every time you see the Amazon logo, you are reminded of the company’s existence. The logo has done its job if you’re also reminded of that item you need to buy.
Your company may not be as big as Amazon, but your logo is still critical to your brand equity. Your market should see your logo as often as possible. Make your logo present on all of your materials, from ads to brochures to invoices and more. If your logo is too complex, consider having it redesigned to something simpler. Simplicity and consistent usage are the keys to maximizing your logo’s value.
Just do it. The happiest place on earth. You’re in good hands. Shave time, shave money. The ultimate driving machine. What’s in your wallet?
Can you match these iconic taglines with their companies? If so, it’s because those brands use their taglines consistently in everything they do. Think about Capital One’s commercials. They all end with the phrase, “What’s in your wallet?” Even if that phrase does not fit the context of the dialogue in the commercial, it still ends with that sentence.
Using a tagline is a specific psychological tactic to keep a company top of mind with a customer. After hearing the line repeatedly, it begins to stick, much like a catchy song or jingle. Over time, the company becomes well-known to potential customers because they identify strongly with the tagline.
You may not make television commercials that star famous actors like Capital One. However, there are still ways to capitalize on the consistent usage of a tagline. One is to put it on all your ads, designs, and social posts. You can make it a hashtag on social media. If you use video in your marketing, you can end each video with your tagline.
Much like a logo, the key to a tagline is keeping it short, sweet, and simple. You want it to relate to your business but also be broad enough to apply to every type of customer. Nike’s tagline of “Just do it” is so broad that it can apply to every sport under the sun. The same should be true of your tagline and your audience. Make it simple and broad, and use it consistently.
Another way to build brand equity is through regular online content publication. This strategy, known as content marketing, helps you build trust, expertise, and authority with your audience.
There are a few ways to use content to build your brand’s equity. A blog is a good start. A blog is a page on your website where you publish articles that are helpful to your target audience. If you own a plumbing company, you might publish articles about identifying plumbing issues, maintaining plumbing elements in a home, and fixing simple problems.
You can also post social media content demonstrating your expertise and authority. For example, you could use an infographic on Facebook and Instagram. Longer text-heavy posts work well on LinkedIn. Tiktok is video only. Make sure you match the right type of content to the right platform.
The key to making content marketing work? You guessed it. Consistency.
The more often you post, the more likely your audience will associate you and your company with the problems that you solve. To go back to our plumbing example, if a homeowner regularly sees your company sharing content about plumbing issues and fixes, they will begin to associate you with plumbing repair. They will be more likely to contact you when they have a plumbing issue.
Publish your content on regular days and times to improve your consistency. A wide range of software and online platforms will allow you to schedule social and blog posts in advance. You do all your content at once, and your posts for the week or month are finished and put on autopilot.
Your company’s logo may be the most prominent example of design in your branding. However, design goes far beyond the logo. The most recognizable brands in the world use the same design elements in everything they do to encourage easy recognition and consistency.
For example, McDonald’s is well-known for its golden arches. However, have you ever noticed that nearly every McDonald’s graphic prominently features the same combination of red and yellow? This isn’t an accident. It’s very much by design so consumers will instantly recognize the design and associate it with McDonald’s before they even read the words.
UPS is another company with a recognizable color scheme. They, of course, use their signature brown, but they accent it with the same shade of yellow, dark brown, and occasionally light blue. Starbucks has its primary green shade, accented by three other shades of green. Home Depot uses orange and white. Netflix uses red, black, and dark gray.
You get the idea. Color schemes aren’t just for large corporations. They’re for businesses of all sizes and types. The more consistently you use the same color scheme, the more recognizable it will become over time, and the more it will resonate with your potential customers.
You don’t need an expensive graphic designer to create your unique color scheme. Many websites will generate schemes of three to five colors complimenting each other. You can find the one that best fits your business and use it regularly in your branding and design.
Many people think that branding is a mysterious strategy for a business. They think they must have a revolutionary idea, ultra-creative logo, or tagline.
The reality is that the most powerful branding involves three elements – simplicity, consistency, and time. The branding elements have to be simple enough that anyone can recognize them. The branding has to be used consistently. And people have to see the branding over a long period of time.
When those three things happen, that’s when a brand becomes a valuable asset that actually drives business.
Practices to Build Consistency
Now that you know how to build consistency within your brand, here are a few ways you can apply that knowledge:
- Pick an easy-to-remember company name: If your tongue gets tied trying to say your business name, your revenue will suffer.
- Establish a catchy slogan: Most of us could probably name 10 slogans in 10 seconds. If your business slogan isn’t memorable, your company could disappear into the abyss in the eyes of the customer.
- Determine brand-specific service protocols: Do you include a handwritten note with your orders? Differentiate your business from the rest with that extra touch that says “thanks.”
- Hire a brand manager: Building brand consistency requires constant effort, as does maintaining it. Hire someone who focuses solely on how your brand interacts with customers to improve and evolve with the marketplace.
Putting the knowledge you gained about brand consistency into practice will look different for each company. Tailor these suggestions to your business to reap the rewards.
The Advantages of Brand Equity
Building a brand can be difficult, especially with so much to accomplish with your logo, tagline, content, and color palette. However, there are some worthwhile advantages to establishing and maintaining brand consistency:
- Builds trust with the average consumer
- Lends a sense of legitimacy to your brand in the face of so many scams
- Promotes efficiency among employees, branches, and other company members
- Builds awareness of your brand in the social sphere
- Develops brand recognition so customers immediately recognize your company
- Establishes expectations for customers when they do business with you
- Increases your revenue
The greater consistency you can bring to your business, the more lucrative the rewards.
Tips on How to Build Brand Equity
As you put this newfound knowledge about brand consistency into action, remember that it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. While you’ll need to do well in the here-and-now to establish your company as a specific brand, maintaining that and evolving it requires just as much effort. Here are some tips to keep you motivated:
- Create a set of guidelines for all employees to follow
- Write content from a single point of view, such as a ficitonal persona
- Establish and maintain cross-channel consistency, from social media and email to direct response and email marketing
- Maintain a consistent schedule of posts, from blogs to social media
- Incorporate your mission statement whenever possible
- Give customers a (good) reason to talk about your company
While there’s no specific rulebook to follow when it comes to building and maintaining a consistent brand, you can use the responses from your customer base to reflect how your company is received. Pay attention to even the smallest factors to determine if you’re hitting the consistency nail on the head.