Everyone knows when they go to McDonalds that they will get exactly the same product and exactly the same service, every time. This consistency is one of the critical reasons for the massive success of McDonalds.
Being consistent is critical to your small business marketing in two key ways. The first is absolute consistency of branding and messaging. It takes 8 contacts to convert someone to a customer. EIGHT! So it is important that every bit of marketing including the logo, the colour scheme, the copy, and the imagery, is consistent.
Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points. Jonah Sachs
Everything you do needs to reflect your brand, your business, your unique message. Every piece of marketing that a person sees should continue to build their impression of your brand. If each piece of marketing that a person sees is inconsistent it is as though they are seeing a new brand or new business every time.
It is hard to maintain consistency over time without a brand guide
After being in business for 3 years I sat down with a friend, who also happened to be an advertising guru.
We went through our advertising, from print ads in magazines to flyers, all the way through to our product packaging when we send the products out. We looked at marketing material across the 3 years, not just at a point in time. She pointed out that the colours changed (from deep red to red-brown), that our logo wasn’t always present and that the feel of our imagery and graphic design changed from image to image. I was actually quite shocked at how different they were over the two years.
That isn’t to say that your image shouldn’t change over time, sometimes it is important to undergo a re-branding exercise.
However, consistency in colour, presentation of logo, website, and imagery should be fairly consistent over time to deliver an ongoing and cohesive brand experience to your customers. I recommend having a colour scheme, with RGB and/or hex values for everyone in your business to use, as well as a couple of approved ways of displaying your logo (e.g. colour on white, white on colour, stacked or horizontal). You could also have a set filter that you use on all images, or a type of image that you tend to stick to. Look at different examples for inspiration.
Provide a Consistent Customer Experience
The second way consistency is important to your small business is consistency of customer experience. Having processes in place to make sure that every time a customer visits you they get exactly the same treatment (as much as possible!).
Going back to the McDonalds example above, you know what to expect when you visit, and this is the beauty of consistency. If I go to a cafe for breakfast one day and the food is good I will probably go back. But if something is different the second time (note I said different, not bad) I am less likely to go back. For example, if the poached eggs with avo on sourdough is made with smashed avo and feta one day and sliced avo the next it means that I don’t know what to expect next time, so I am less likely to go back.
The same thing applies to every business. Provide consistency to a customer so that their experience is always the same or better.
As you grow and take on more employees this means having good training in place, and documented processes. It means documenting the customer experience (down to offering a drink at a certain point in the experience for example).
When I go to the hairdresser we always start with a debrief about how I want my hair to look, and then before we get to work, my hairdresser offers a hot drink, or glass of wine (depending on the time of day!). It’s the same every time and this is reassuring for customers. It tells them you have your shit together and you know what you’re doing.
How can you provide more consistency in your marketing messaging and customer experience?
This entry was posted in Branding and tagged Branding, Consistency, Marketing Messaging on March 15, 2017.