Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising #4: Learn To Be Consistent in your Graphic Branding

In the first three articles of this series, I think we have been very insistent at laying some groundwork for you, and I hope you’ve taken them to heart.  It’s taken me 30 plus years to get to that level of understanding and you’re able to absorb it in only ten articles. Good for you. That’s fantastic. The history of the concept of branding was a graphic symbol that represents the value of the products and company to the consumers to create product differentiation for products that have reached commodity status like soap. The concept of branding originates with the use of cattle brands for beef ranchers (see image above).

What I want you to keep in mind moving forward is that as much as we all recognize change is all around us, and the only constant is change, we are immeasurably comforted by things that stay the same. There is a security in tradition, in style, in look, in the way things used to be.  When there is unwelcome change, we pine saying, It wasn’t like this in the old days. 

We have a tremendous amount of support and stability in the familiar. I want to make sure you don’t lose that. It is important to keep embracing and trying all of these new media and opportunities and new looks and styles. Please don’t get so far away from your knitting that your target audience has no idea who you are, or what you represent anymore.

I want you, for Mistake Number FourTo Please Stop Changing Your Look. Remember that your customers are expecting you to have a recognizable colour scheme, a logo, a typeface. You want to build that brand. Maybe that brand is just you. Like I’m trying to do here. 

Maybe it’s the product or service that you are aggressively marketing. If you keep changing your image you’ll have a hard time being remembered. You want to build upon the equity of the look and the style and the voice that you spent so much time nurturing.

An abrupt change just for the sake of it can be absolutely devastating to a brand because all of a sudden all of the people who followed you, tried your product were enamored with it, stayed with it, trusted it, believed in it, they start to recoil with…what are they doing?… why are they changing their look, their stuff, I can’t recognize them anymore. Below are the histories of some iconic brands and you can see how their logo has evolved over time.

Be careful when you make a refresh.  I don’t mind you doing a little bit of tweaking to maybe change the colour and bring the look in a little bit more contemporary. However you don’t want to come up with an entirely new image that has your customer puzzling…..what brand are you now, you’re not what I know, what I trust with you. 

You’re going to start the cycle all over again of trying to build up the equity. So here’s how you fix this. Please, please, please be consistent, keep your look the same across all media.

You are trying to establish an identity that is exclusive to you.  If you don’t do anything to distinguish yourself and keep your uniqueness, you become as inconsequential as used tissue paper. Constantly changing undermines all your built up equity. You will be forever relegated to commodity status. You’ll be consistently challenged on price and not on the value your product delivers. Now, that said, as I mentioned it is okay to refresh and update the look and the brand once you’ve gained a foothold.

But too frequent changes will compromise your sales, your impact, and your memorability. In the closing words of Billy Joel’s ‘Just The Way You Are”©

I couldn’t love you any better

I love you just the way you are.

So be consistent.  You’re proud of the look you’ve established. Get as much mileage out of it as you can and keep placing it where your audience knows they can expect to see it.  In today’s digital world there is incredible ad clutter and to get into their minds you need to be single minded.

About the Author: Dennis Kelly is an advertising expert with 30 years of wisdom to share for Office Today readers and is the author of two books “Nine Secrets To Improve Your Advertising” and “57 Media Spikes”. CLICK HERE to learn more. Office Today Readers receive a FREE 30 Minute consultation with Dennis to discuss what your next media moves should be. Send an e-mail with OFFICE TODAY CONSULTATION in subject line and the best times to chat. Emaildennis@firstimpressionsmedia.ca