You’ve been tasked with growing a brand, your own or someone else’s brand, and you know the importance of brand identity in the digital world. Brand cohesion is often an area where brand identity gets lost, or maybe the brand identity has a case of professionalism lapse where it tarnishes the brand’s identity over the long-term.
A brand identity is what allows Nike to be a world recognized brand.
Lawyers, manufacturers, retailers, people that sell courses and everyone in between needs to have a strong brand identity.
But when there are new channels to be seen and heard, this cohesion tends to slowly fade. You can avoid these brand cohesion mishaps by first identifying them and making a concerted effort to avoid them in the future.
1. Create and Enforce a Strict Style Guide
Even if you run a one-man show, you should create a style guide that you refer back to in an effort to ensure you maintain brand cohesion across all platforms. If you plan to hire a marketing consultant, pass on your style guide to ensure your brand’s identity is upheld at all times.
A style guide must include the following elements:
All employees and contractors must adhere to your style guidelines for branding cohesion to be truly effective.
You might even want to go as far as providing a digital logo kit and message guidelines that will allow all people in charge of your business’s activities to be on the same page when marketing your brand.
If you make it as easy as possible to gain access to your kit and even download these files, you’ll find that it’s much easier to set a standard for visual and tone creatives for your business.
2. Brand Cohesion Overseer
If you’re serious about your brand, you must designate someone that will be the reviewer and acceptor of material to ensure that your brand maintains cohesion across all platforms. This individual will have either the final say or at least be involved with all marketing material acceptance.
Without an overseer, you’re relying on a person caring about your business as much as you do – it’s not going to happen.
3. Brand Cohesion is Essential on Social Media
Social media is a must for any modern business. If you’re a lawyer, you need social media. If you’re a local bank, you need social media. Freelancers, home improvement companies, pet stores, funeral homes – everyone is on social media.
Not only do you need to be on social media, but you also need to ensure cohesion across social media platforms.
A few of the biggest errors that brands make are:
- Voice: Implement personality descriptions to maintain a voice that resonates with your brand
- Visual: All visual branding must be fluid throughout your social media channels: colors and logos.
- Guidelines: Is your brand edgy, and will it discuss hot topics, such as politics? If so, this needs to be in your guidelines. You can throw in personality without deviating from your message, but always keep your message at the forefront of every post.
The hardest thing for a brand to do is to ensure that they have the same cohesion across all platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, among others.
4. Social Commenting Guidelines
Social media is so important that you also need strict guidelines when commenting or replying to others. For example, customers may be rude, nasty and even cruel to the person responding on an account, but if this person says something nasty in reply, your brand will be tarnished as a result.
Brands are held to a higher standard, and guidelines for replying may include:
- Things to ignore
- Description of action to take in specific instances
If your guidelines state that the person cannot reply to rude or berating comments, this can help alleviate a nasty tone from an employee who can cause long-term harm to your brand. Always remain with the same guidelines across all platforms to avoid any unexpected mistakes that can make your brand look bad.
5. Know Your Audience
It’s imperative that you know your audience. Know your target audience’s:
- Pain points
Your entire content strategy (yes, social media, blogs and everything you post online) should revolve around your demographic. If you want to bring in leads on social media, are you going to create content that resonates with end users when you’re trying to really connect with company buyers to sell across retail channels?
Will you be gearing your content towards law firms when you’re a manufacturer?
Don’t know your customer’s pain points, or afraid they may have changed? No problem. Starbucks went through the same problem, and they set up a complete website where customers can share their ideas and voice their opinions.
This change revitalized the business, and ensures that they meet the pain points of their audience.
If you’re brand doesn’t know its audience, it’s going to be lost when it comes to marketing, making sales and pleasing customers.