Brand Balance: Consistency vs. Coherence
Branding is both art and science; a delicate balance of creative flair and cognitive research. For that reason - and so many more - it's crucial to view your brand as both a firm foundation and an evolving entity.
In the same way that your business is guided by an underlying mission statement, your brand is rooted in a set of core values that should inform every aspect of your marketing.
Those elements aren't static either, but they should be consistent enough to provide the bedrock for everything that you intend to build on top of them.
Brand Consistency vs. Coherence
That elusive mix of a memorable, recognizable brand base and the creativity to keep it fresh can be boiled down to these two words: consistency and coherence. The trouble is, you can go too far in either direction and overshoot the advantages of a well-balanced brand.
A brand requires consistency by definition. As the repository for all the values, aspirations, and benefits that your product or service delivers, it needs to be distinct from others in your field and immediately recognizable. That recognition only comes with repeated exposure, which when combined with a consistent look and feel serves to build brand awareness.
But creativity must also to come into play, so that your brand doesn't stagnate in a dynamic world and become incoherent. A brand that never explores new creative territory, or fails to evolve with its fans and broader audience, slowly loses the coherent message that first brought it to prominence.
Branding is a balancing act between maintaining a familiar feel but not descending into blandness. Walking that line is never easy, but the benefits of doing so are well worth pursuing.
Brands That Went Too Far
There are examples throughout marketing history of brands that went too far in either direction; evolving too fast for consumers in their drive for greater coherence, or failing to stay with the times, in the name of maintaining a consistent brand.
Some of the names we covered in our look at big brand u-turns earlier this year epitomize these dangers (although it's easier to recover if you've developed as bulletproof a brand as Apple!)
Think of some of your favorite brands; what have they done to hold your interest over the years? How have they changed, without abandoning the original value(s) that drew you to them in the first place?
After reflecting on the best of those brands, ask the following questions of your own:
- Are any aspects of our brand outdated or, worse still, irrelevant in the modern market?
- What are the fundamental elements of our brand that cannot be touched without breaking its consistency?
- Is your industry changing around you? If so, how does your brand need to pivot to keep up and maintain relevance?
- In which marketing and advertising channels can you experiment with brand changes without alienating a large chunk of your audience?
- Which of your marketing tools works best to adjust when you want to get more creative? Which ones are more effective as an anchor for your brand's core value?
Once you answer these questions and have a couple of role models in mind, you'll be in good shape to make the decisions that keep your brand moving forward (like using a memorable custom phone number) without losing the qualities that attracted your fans in the first place!
On the point of consistency, there are few marketing tools more tried-and-trusted for brand awareness over the years than a memorable number.
Vanity numbers offer a great way to anchor your brand awareness across multiple campaigns, even as you alter other aspects of your creative. Get yours today.
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- Written by: mike on September 25, 2014Driving a small business toward success takes more than hard work; a successful business must brand and market itself efficiently and effectively.Read more
- Written by: mike on September 16, 2014Marketing is an investment, and like everything else in your portfolio, you expect to see a return. Whether it's increased info on leads, more calls, or pure and simple sales, everything in your marketing tool kit must pull its weight (or be dumped in favor of something else that does). Compared to most marketing tools, vanity phone numbers work harder for you andRead more