Consistency has got to be one of my favorite subjects. I love it – and I love it because it’s easy AND it works.
So if you’re not being consistent with your business image then this is why you need to change that:
- Being consistent means doing the same thing over and over again. Which means that people see the same thing over and over again – and that means that they remember you. On average, we need to come into contact with a person seven times before they become a client. Will they join the dots between each connection if each touch-point looks different, has a different feel to it, doesn’t remind them that they’ve already seen something which was similar?
- Consistency shows reliability. If you’re doing the same thing again and again then you are reliable and trustworthy. Which can only be a good thing for prospects to think!
- Being consistent with your business image helps you to look professional – because your brand identity is finished, well thought through and intentional.
- Consistency allows your business values, purpose and message to shine through. This is the whole point. If you spend time working on your brand identity so that you communicate what you’re all about through your visual communication – then it makes sense to use the results from this exercise to do just that Every Single Time you have something to put out there. This means that when your ideal client sees something from you they resonate with your brand right away.
- If you are consistent then this helps you to differentiate from others – so you’ll stand out for your customers.
So how do you achieve this consistency?
What do you actually have to do?
Here are some tips to achieve consistency in your business image:
- Work on your brand identity. This is all of the visual stuff that you need to think about for your business. Make decisions about the colors you use, the typefaces you use, the style of imagery that you use, the layouts you’re going to use – does your logo always appear bottom right, centered, top left? Do you have a series of illustrations or elements identifiable as your own? Once you have all of this stuff down – you’re ready to think about how to apply all of this across your business. Go and make yourself a brand board – if you don’t know what one of those is, check out Pinterest – and then STICK TO IT. That’s why this is SO easy, because all the decisions have been taken care of.
- Social Media. This is for many people the main tool used on a daily basis to interact with their audience. If this is you, choose either your logo or your photo for each platform and make sure that it’s the same image across them all. I am not saying that this is THE way to do it, but for me, I use the SAME photograph of me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and YouTube and my logo on my Facebook page and my Google + Company page. Think carefully about how to make sure you are consistent across all your platforms.
- Again – with social media, you might want to create images to share. Perhaps a blog post image or images with questions or quotes. The best thing to do here is to make a template and use this every time you want to create an image. This will mean that you could go into the file and change it really quickly – but because it’s a template it’ll look very similar to the other images you create using the same template. Maybe you’ll swap the colors round or change an image – but it’ll still be the same template. Easy-peasy.
- Your website – take a look at it and think about how you can use those decisions you made earlier to keep your brand looking consistent. Could you use the same image that you’re using on your Facebook cover, on your website? Could you use the colors that you’ve chosen rather than the ones you have? Where there are images on your blog or on your sidebar – how could you alter those to be inline with your brand identity? If you’re sending people to your website, then when they arrive they need to feel as though they know you already from the social networks they’ve seen you on. Make them feel like they’ve arrived in YOUR online home, not someone else’s.
- Your email signature – don’t leave this out. I bet you send a ton of emails. So find out how to change your email signature and add your logo to it, your links in the right font (or as near as you can get) and anything else that’s going to help you stand out.
- Now that we’ve covered the online places that you need to ensure your business image is consistent, you need to think about everything else. Use the same colors, typefaces, styled images and layouts for your brochures, pop up banners, leaflets – and those tiny pieces of card that you’re handing out to people everywhere you go – your business card. There should be similarity between all of these items so that there’s no mistaking who they’re from. If someone cut your logo off with a pair of scissors then your brand should still be identifiable.
- Do you have premises where people visit? Even if you don’t, then using your brand in your work area is still a great idea to help you feel connected with it. Could you paint a wall in a brand color? Add a statement in a picture frame using your chosen typeface? Could you find items to display which strengthen your brand identity?
- One of the key things when considering how your brand looks is to think about your business values. How could you integrate these values into every area of your business? Some of these things may not be visual – perhaps the wording of an email, a voicemail message, the naming of a program or the smell people are welcomed with.
Number one is the most important one – if you have that then all of the other tips are easy. It might seem like an effort setting all of this up – but you can do it, and once you have, you’ll find it so much easier each time you need to create something for your business because all of the decisions have been made in advance, you just need to implement.