The Good & Bad of Brand Consistency
When you think about the critical elements that make up any successful business, elements such as budgets, sales and staffing probably come to mind. Each one of these elements plays an intricate role in contributing to the success of a business. However, there is arguably an equally important aspect of operating a successful business that often times goes overlooked. The element that I am referring to is maintaining brand consistency.
There are a few varying reasons as to why brand consistency is overlooked. First, it is easy to ignore because it is increasingly difficult to attach a dollar figure to. You can’t put a dollar sign on the way that people look at your brand and so day-to-day tasks with more exact data points seem to attract more attention from senior management. Additionally, brand identity is easy to overlook because people don’t truly understand what a brand entails. A brand is much more than simply a name, logo and catch phrase, it is an experience and it is an identity.
Brand identity is everything that a company represents. A brand can claim to represent quality and care in their product or service but if they are not constantly making the effort to train employees and create buy-in at every location, it is a faulty claim. Branding is an ongoing and intensive process. Employees come and go, but the brand remains the same, or at least it should. Often times this is where a brand loses its consistency. Each employee should be viewed as a brand ambassador because each day that they report to work they play a pivotal role in portraying your brand to clients. Ensuring that all employees, regardless of location have been uniformly trained to represent your brand in a calculated and precise manner is necessary to maintaining strong brand consistency. A great example of a company who has mastered brand consistency is the trendy clothing retailer Vineyard Vines.
Vineyard Vines has established a strong brand message and they are experts in conveying their message at all retail locations. Vineyard Vines has established all of the key ingredients to creating a brand.
Name: Vineyard Vines
Logo: Pink Whale
Phrase: “Everyday Should Feel This Good”
Vineyard Vines retains all of the core ingredients to creating a strong and easily identifiable brand, however, what elevates Vineyard Vines from competing brands is their ability to maintain the brand that they have worked so hard to create and grow. They have mastered the second part of branding that many seem to neglect, that element being brand maintenance.
It is easy to establish a brand, anyone can establish a brand but what becomes increasingly difficult is maintaining that brand as it expands. In the case of Vineyard Vines, they work tirelessly to maintain consistency among all store locations and even online. In-store employees receive intensive training and constant reinforcement of branding goals. Those goals revolve around creating the best experience imaginable for their customers. By constantly reminding their employees of brand goals, clear expectations are drawn and all employees are able to work towards delivering the intended customer experience by highlighting the good life. Vineyard Vines has established brand consistency by being true to their brand at every turn of their business and continuously invest in educating their employees about branding goals and expectations. Speaking from personal experience, I know that no matter what Vineyard Vines location I walk into, I will receive the same trusted product and unwavering customer support as I will at any other location. This is the model of brand consistency.
On the contrary, I recently ate at a local pizza shop which will remain nameless that dangerously lacked brand consistency from one location to the next. I dinned at two separate locations of the same chain, however, the first location was nearly enough to deter me from ever dinning at the second.
I was out and about one Saturday afternoon and I needed a quick bite to eat so I swooped into the grab and go styled pizza joint. The pre-made pizza was placed into a toaster oven and I was handed my unimpressive, grease soaked slice of pizza and I was on my way. As I took my first bite, the pizza was room temperature at best. It tasted like it had been made days in advance and I was thoroughly underwhelmed. At this point, I had no intention of returning to the restaurant. Now, fast-forward to a few weeks later when I yet again needed a quick bite to eat and I stumbled upon the same chain restaurant in a different location, I was hesitant to pay for another slice of their pizza but I was hungry and I did so with the expectation that I would be receiving a disappointing slice of room temperature pizza. However, this time my pizza had been made fresh. I had such a great experience the second time that I started to attend the location on a weekly occurrence and it had gained my ringing endorsement.
The issue with this particular pizza chain is the inconsistency within the brand itself. When I walk into a location of a brand that I trust, I expect the product to be universally consistent and when that is not the case, the brand itself suffers mightily in the eyes of this consumer. This is why consistency within a brand is so important. Many consumers will not give a brand a second chance and so that first impression will dictate the success or lack there of the brand.
While it is easy to establish a brand, it is even easier to neglect it. By reiterating brand goals and company philosophies, your brand consistency will improve and your bottom line will too. Invest in your business by investing in your brand!