Most important ingredient in building a successful brand
With ambitious growth target, startups and businesses in India want to build a great, charismatic brand, and often they ask me what the formula is? The secret sauce?
First and foremost a brand can be anything, it can be a business, an idea or you (entrepreneur, CEO) and brand building is an evolutionary process with revolutionary ideas and razor sharp marketing.
However, I have been researching, observing several successful brands, leaders/ entrepreneurs that have created a personal brand out of themselves, connecting the dots I found one common criterion. Criteria that ensured they arrive at a stage where the brand stands for something and strong recall with its target audience.
The most important ingredient for brand success is CONSISTENCY.
“Consistency as an ingredient for success is not just derived or applicable to brands but also sportsmen, designers, leaders, social impact, or any work or idea we pursue in life”
Well, let’s start by what should not be mistaken for brand consistency?
– Brand logo, colours and font used everywhere is not just consistency.
– Consistency doesn’t mean boring, it does not mean the brand is “repetitive”.
– Consistency is not just a symbol/ tool, it is also a ritual/ practice over a period of time diligently that endear us to the brand culture.
Why brand consistency?
Building trust & credibility
When you are consistent, you build trust with customers. Trust is based on the brand promise delivered consistently over a period of time.
Customer recall & engagement
When a brand consistently communicates with its customers, speaks the same language over a period of time, the recall for customers is stronger as they are bombarded with by too many brands on a daily basis. This, in turn, makes the brand engagement deeper with customer and valuable for both.
Marketing & PR needs an anchor
Marketing activities through the calendar year are intensive and using multiple channels/ medium. The marketing team needs a consistent brand message, a steady strategy that can translate to multiple creatives which are diverse yet the underlying brand message has to be consistent. PR activities over a period of time need to position and articulate with the same voice as the brand and will need guidance to remain consistent.
Company needs brand culture
As the business/ start-up grows fast, the company needs to create and sustain a brand culture that affects internal stakeholders and external audience. Leadership and every team member need to reflect the brand values in their approach and operation. You will not trust the leadership in the company who talks and operate differently and is inconsistent.
– International brands such Nike, where the tick mark/ swoosh symbol is synonymous with the brand identity but also its core culture of sports and active lifestyle. The latest Nike India Ad reiterates its core messaging consistently with its international advertising.
– Indian brands such as Titan and Tanishq have established that consistency through its messaging of women breaking stereotypes in different ways (second marriage, gender biases, working women) and reiterated the idea of a modern Indian woman with limitless opportunities.
– Amul is another great example of consistency in not just delivering its products but its brand and marketing have been creative with iconic illustrations of interpreting the most trending news and has also been consistent about it for decades.
Tips for brand consistency
It is imperative that every company/ business/ start-up completes the brand standardisation process as the business starts to scale up. They can take up after raising funds or growth in revenue but the standardisation of the brand logo, usage & design language is a hygiene exercise. The brand manual or guidelines as a standardised document become a reference guide for all teams in the company to follow and build brand assets.
Brand imagination & reiteration
The brand standardisation and its manual act as a template, anchor and reference to establish the consistency of brand assets. This leads to marketing and brand team spearheading creative/ innovative ideas to execute marketing activities, brand campaigns, PR etc. The multiple creative ideas and activities build on engaging its audience and reiterating its underlying brand message consistently.
Multiple Experiences consistently
Customers get bored with same ideas and experiences, they constantly seek new stimulating experiences through different touch points of engagement. As a brand and in marketing, we need to create innovative experiences to grab attention and engage our audience yet reiterating the consistent brand core message.
Brand culture needs to be consistent with the brand core. The brand core and values are reiterated with consistent messaging and distribution of it to its audience/ customers. This helps us to create an innovation-driven environment within the company across verticals/ departments but also engaging our customers and expanding in the market. No customer will trust your brand if you talk like a teenage but act like a grandfather, look like an eagle but act like an elephant. The strategy and execution have to be in sync and consistent.
Brand consistency needs a strong positioning, discipline and rigour to maintain the brand core over a period of time. It requires a serious commitment by the top management and entrusts the brand team to be consistent yet creative.