You may have heard the saying 'consistency is key'. That sounds pretty important, right? But key to what exactly? Why do you need to be consistent and in what way do you need to be consistent?
Consistency is about showing up in the same way, in a predictable manner. It's not about being boring, and never getting creative or keeping things fresh and interesting, but rather about creating a feeling of stability.
It makes your audience feel like they know what to expect, while still being open to surprise and new things. You aren't confusing them or losing them. They can spot your brand and even when you do something new, because it has a consistent vibe, feeling and intention behind it. They can still tell it is you.
Consistency is the key to growth and loyalty. If you want to attract more people to your brand, you need to be consistent and if you want those who already know you to stay loyal and become long term fans, you need to be consistent.
Let's look at some of the areas that consistency in your branding will help you with.
Consistency will Make Your Brand Recognisable
When your brand visuals consistently have the same feel, style and underlying message they become recognisable.
You will get people making comments like 'I always know it's your pin on Pinterest before I even click or see the logo on it' or ' I knew that had to be your brand'.
Building up recognition is important, as it makes your branding familiar and when someone who enjoys your content, sees your graphic, they will instantly know it is from you and click through. However, if your style and branding were inconsistent, they may easily scroll on by and miss it.
So it builds loyalty, trust and gets your brand in front of the same people more often, building a stronger connection with your audience and keeping you top of mind, so when they need a service or product that you offer or hear that someone they know is looking for it, they will think of you first, because you have stayed consistent and in their mind.
It Makes Your Brand Memorable
You want to stick in people's minds. How would someone describe your brand visuals to a friend, if they were struggling to remember the name of your brand? What are you consistently using that sticks out as memorable?
e.g The brand with all the palm leaves and coconuts and girls sipping exotic drinks illustrated with simple line drawings, in bright happy colours.
This is about combining differentiation and a unique style with consistency. It is why you don't want to be branding based on trends, changing your look every season. You need to get clear on your brand message and find a unique style that differentiates you from others in your industry. Then you need to show up with that style in a consistent way. This is what will make it memorable.
It will stand out in people's minds and they will think of you by the way you brand. And this goes beyond the visuals too, including voice, messaging, marketing and your own presence and how you show up as a person. All these elements play a part in building a memorable brand.
But you could be incredibly stand out different and unique but become forgotten if you don't stay consistent. If you do something crazy different and grab attention, only to change again and again with no real consistent overarching style, you will soon be forgotten. Don't be a one-hit brand wonder.
Consistency Means a Higher Chance of People Taking Notice
Did you know it usually takes someone about 7 times of hearing or seeing something before it clicks and they become aware of it?
Your graphics and content and products may be getting in front of people, but they just aren't really picking up on it yet. It's likely they may just take a glance and think 'oh that looks nice' then scroll on by. But when that happens 7 times, then it really starts to kick in. They start to take notice. You start to look familiar and they are more likely to want to dig deeper and start consuming your content, following you, maybe even making a purchase.
Notice how you do this, how you don't really feel a connection with a brand until you have seen it several times and it slowly feels more and more familiar and it builds you trust with them.
It may take seeing a brand's content several times before you really feel invested and interested. This is why it is critical to keep showing up consistently with a consistent style. You greatly increase your chances of someone becoming interested in what you share and going from a mindless scroll by to being super excited to see what you have to share today.
Consistent Branding Shows You are Professional and can be Trusted
When you show up in a consistent way, your brand looks far more professional. It makes your business appear serious and not just a hobby. When you have a clear consistent feeling a vibe, it shows you took the time to create a brand with intention rather than simply throwing something together on the fly.
It shows you are sticking to a style guide and take your branding seriously. That you don't simply jump on Canva, pick a pretty template and go with whatever you feel looks good in the moment.
When you show up in this consistent manner your audience are going to trust you more. They can see you are putting in an effort to be professional and take things seriously and so they know that if you are doing that with your branding, you will also be approaching your products and services in the same manner.
It is so important to build trust with an online business, as people can't just simply meet you face to face, instead, you need to show them why you are trustworthy and that you are worth investing in because you approach your work with care and professionalism.
Being Consistent Actually Makes things Easier for You
We all want to be doing less right? Well, at least less of the things we really don't need to be doing.
When you approach your brand in a consistent manner, it means less work for you. Once you have a style guide, templates and mood board to guide your brand graphics and design decisions, you can very quickly and easily create the graphics you need with little thought or time.
If you had to start from scratch every time you needed a new graphic, and fussed over the style, the fonts, the layout and so on, you'd be wasting a lot of unnecessary time and actually causing more damage then good.
Creating graphics for your brand is NOT an opportunity to knock everyone's socks off with how clever you are, creating some amazing new design and experimenting with new layouts and graphics. If you enjoy designing, save that for project work. When it comes to your brand, you need to be sticking to a consistent predictable style.
It's a win-win. You audience builds trust with you, and you save time. Less thinking. More doing. Imagine how much visual content you can crank out when you give yourself branding constraints.
This doesn't mean you have to be boring and stick to the same 3 template layouts for every single graphics. It's more about working within constraints. And this is what creates the best designs of all. When anything is possible, designing is really hard, and our work is not as good. But when we work within constraints, we have to think more creatively. Considering how to create something cool, working only with only certain elements and to certain guidelines.
What Elements need to be Consistent in your Brand?
So how do you keep things fresh and creative while also consistent? By having a style guide and using the guide as your constraints, and then getting creative with what you do with those elements and guidelines.
You may want to have some templates to speed up graphics you create regularly, but you can also create free form from scratch, using your brand style guide as your toolbox for consistency.
Your brand style guide should include things like your logo, logo variations, fonts, colours as well as any guidelines on font and colour usage. (like what a font and colour can be used for and what it can't be used for). You also want any graphic elements, icons and patterns that can be used. And then guidelines on the feeling and vibe of the brand, the style of photography and images that can be used and the message the brand should convey.
If you'd like to see a really good example of this, check out the Starbucks brand guidelines for inspiration.
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