I find the nuances of marketing fascinating. When I watch TV ads I'm always considering why the ad agency chose to use that specific model, that color t-shirt, that tag line. The list goes on and on.
Recently I was watching TV when an ad came on and I sat there thinking and then saying out loud “Why do I know this is a Target commercial?"
Without them showing their logo, even subtly, without a voiceover informing me it was Target I instinctively knew I was watching a Target ad.
But how have they convinced me that the style of ad I was watching is exclusive to their brand without so much as a logo on the bottom right of the screen? Answer: consistency.
Target consistently serves up light backgrounds (often white or gray) bold outfits, some white and red touches, and models looking straight into the camera. Yes, of course there are variations to this formula (some with the Target logo saturating every inch of the screen), but nonetheless the ad below screams target for more reasons than just the brand name on the page.
Why Consistency is So Important
1. It's Marketing on a Higher Level
First and foremost, without them showing a single slogan, sale price or brand name I'm already thinking about being in Target, shopping in Target and buying in Target.
Brand consistency takes you to the next level in marketing.
You're no longer convincing consumers to stop into your store or buy your product. Your brand is so consistent, so synonymous with your product experience that when a consumer sees your signature brand logo they are already thinking about making their next purchase from you without you even having to ask.
2. Consistency Makes Your Brand Feel More Dependable
When you're getting to know a person, you start to develop opinions, ideas and assumptions about them based on your interactions. If they are dressed in a business suit one day, bermuda shorts and a ratty T-shirt the next and then a scuba diving suit another time, it may be hard to nail down exactly who they are and what they are all about.
Now imagine this same person is someone you are considering doing business with. Wouldn't you be concerned about their consistency in their work based on their inconsistent appearance? You may think twice before bringing them into your business because they're unpredictable.
Your consumers can feel the same about your brand if you aren't careful. If your social media voice is whimsical and silly but your product packaging is sterile and plain, you're sending mixed signals that will confuse consumers and leave them feeling like your brand can't be trusted.
Zach talks a little more about sending the right kinds of signals in this article.
3. Consumers Trust Brands They Recognize
Brand recognition is not just about getting your name out there. It's about helping consumers get to know your brand on a personal level.
It's a long-standing concept that purchasing is more an emotional decision than a practical one.
Part of engaging the right emotions with your consumers is making them feel like they know your brand and that your brand can be trusted.
Brand consistency is part of building trust.
Why do you always buy the same brand of milk or the same brand of pens? Because it's predictable. You know what to expect and you know you will like the outcome.
Giving consumers a dependable experience across all your channels of communication works along the same lines as always putting out a dependable product.
Developing a seamless look for your brand across your website, all social media channels, even in your store and on your product packaging will make consumers feel more comfortable with your brand, and will make them more likely to purchase from you again.
Consumers want to know you
Interacting with consumers through a consistent brand voice and aesthetic is a major step towards letting consumers get to know you as an organization.
When they know you, they will identify with you and your purpose. And when consumers feel like they know you and can trust you, they will be more likely to purchase from you and more likely to recommend you to their peers.
I've heard so many people say if they could just get consumers to try their product they know they would like it and would want to buy from them again. Well, putting a consistent brand message in front of consumers is one strong step in the right direction to attracting new customers.