At Harvey & Hugo, we build brands.
To do that, we use a wide mix of skills and specialities from across the fields of public relations, social media and content marketing.
But the one element that remains constant across all of them is a trick anyone can use to help build their brand – consistency.
That means being consistent in defining your brand and consistent in publicising your brand – let’s take a closer look.
When we’re talking about consistency here, it’s helpful to know exactly what we mean by brand. A brand is not just a font or a logo, or even a product: it’s everything.
It encompasses every single way you communicate with your audience, whether that’s through social media, email footers, merchandise, uniforms, your website, business stationery, the way you answer the phone – all of it creates a view of your brand… and it needs to be consistent.
Take Innocent, for example. The smoothie maker is now known primarily for its social media content (potentially even more than its drinks), and this is all to do with how the brand consistently positions itself – funny, a little naïve, a small fish in a big, big pond. Never mind that nowadays it’s owned by Coca-Cola – the underdog branding and the hyper-personal touch remains.
Consistent branding also needs to encompass the physical too, and here we are talking about things like logos, fonts and colours. Keep them consistent and you’ll soon form those associations in your audience’s head, just as we already associate Apple with white, Coke with red and EasyJet with orange…
Putting it into practice
So now you know what to do, it’s time to look at how to do it.
A great place to start is with a brand statement, in which you can set out your stall from the get-go. It will help you ensure that vital aspects of your brand, such as key messages and tone of voice, are all laid out for anyone to see, as well as allowing you to revisit them and remind yourself why you do what you do.
Speaking of why…
As Simon Sinek says: “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” What this means is that often, audiences aren’t buying into you because they massively prefer your product or service to the rest on the market. Instead, they’ve chosen you as they feel in some way that your values align with theirs.
All of which means it’s important for your brand to communicate the why of what you’re doing, to allow it to resonate with your audience. This can form the basis of your brand statement and, again, is something you can revisit should you ever lose your way
Other things to consider are:
– Your mission – what does your brand do?
– Your values – what is important to you and your brand
– Tone of voice – are you formal? Cheerful? Humorous? Playing it straight?
– Key language – what words do you want featuring in your content?
– Brand guidelines – here’s where you can talk about your fonts, logo and colours
Of course, it’s also important, when thinking about your overall strategy, to make sure your activity is consistent too.
It’s not much use sending out a press release once in a blue moon, or posting on social a couple of times a month. Sure, you’ll get noticed at the time, but audiences are fickle, and they’ll soon forget if you’re not constantly placing yourself in front of them.
Ultimately, consistent activity is what builds excellent brand awareness; we often use the analogy of a tap dripping in an empty bath, where each drop seems insignificant, but the regularity of it soon fills a tub.
And don’t expect overnight results, either. When it comes to brand-building, you need to keep plugging away and it can takes months, or even years, to see a real result.
To truly leave your mark on the public’s consciousness, you need to focus on regular activity with consistency across everything your do – because building a brand is a marathon, not a sprint.