Your visual identity is the first interaction your customers have with your brand. If it is unique and bold it will differentiate you from your competitors and stick in your customers’ minds. If you fail to keep it consistent you can risk the loss of trust from your customers, create confusion, or worse! Discover the costs of an inconsistent visual identity and how to avoid making this mistake.
A problem many companies face
Creating a logo and graphic charter is only the start of your visual identity. The heavy-duty work comes in implementing it across all channels, in every project, and having every employee use it properly.
We have all seen it, a company changes its logo, yet your monthly newsletters still have the old colors. You go to a store and cannot tell the associates from the other customers apart. You receive an email from customer service, but the company name is misspelled in their signature… Seemingly small details that have huge impacts on your perception of them.
What are the costs?
01. Create confusion for your customers
Your visual identity is the best way for your customers to recognize you. If it is constantly changing or not up to date on all channels, how can your customers be sure that it is really you?
Imagine being contacted by a sales member from a company you have worked with before. The logo in their email signature does not match the logo on their website. Would you think this person is a fraud? Not only are you confused with who is emailing you, but you are not sure if this person is authentic. And, it is worth noting that a brand that is perceived as authentic is more likely to be recommended and customers are 2.4 times more likely to purchase a product from it.
No matter where your customer encounters your brand – email, website, in-store, billboard, or other – it should be 100% aligned. No detail or moment is too small, and no touchpoint should go without a thoughtful integration of the visual identity.
02. Damage your public reputation
Not only does inconsistency lead to customer confusion but it also negatively impacts public perception. Every decision a company makes is highly watched and scrutinized. One mistake and you can spend years trying to win back your customers.
Companies such as Gap and even Coca Cola have experienced backlashes when they were inconsistent with their visual identity. When customers already love your product, inconsistency equals a drop in quality in their minds. This is the case when Coca Cola tried to make their famously dark-colored drink into a clear liquid substance. Shocked customers boycotted Coca Cola which subsequently resulted in the company spending years to win back their good reputation.
When a company is inconsistent with its visual identity this appears as a lack of effort and care in its reputation. Customers will wonder why they should even purchase from you in the first place.
03. Experience financial loss
The financial impact of having an inconsistent visual identity can be severe as well. The way your customer perceives your brand influences purchasing decisions. In fact, a consistent and strong visual identity outperforms weak-perceived ones by 20%. If you are not being consistent, your customer will be persuaded to go with your customer instead.
When a customer can easily recognize your brand that creates reassurance in their mind and reduces risk. If they associate your visual identity with quality and all the other great promises you make to them, then you can be sure that they choose your product every time.
04. Lose trust with your customers
Customers crave consistency, especially when purchasing a product. Every detail in their buying journey should be aligned from A to Z. If you cannot stay consistent with your visual identity, then the customer is left to wonder if you can really deliver on your other promises.
Imagine having an excellent interaction with the sales member of a product you are purchasing. Then, when you go to use the product you discover an error. You contact the customer service who is rude, puts you on hold for an hour, and makes no effort to solve your problem. You would feel pretty let down, wouldn’t you? The promise of a great product you received from the sales member did not follow through in every step of your journey.
The best way to build trust with your customer is to be consistent. Your visual identity should be recognizable on every platform just as your product and service should follow through on the promises made from start to finish.
How to avoid inconsistency?
To start, make your graphic charter, typeface, brand color, templates, and all rules for cohesion available to your employees, both digitally and physically. Keep in mind that your team members are your best ambassadors when it comes to conveying your brand. Thus, the information should be easy to access and updated regularly as your brand evolves.
Next, stick to the same components when creating campaigns or sending out emails. Be sure to use images from the same source or ones that are similar in appearance. Using the same designer to create your visuals guarantees that each new campaign and chapter of your brand follows a strict code. Also, it is extremely useful having a brand manager oversee it all and put in place procedures for the company to adhere to.
Make every touchpoint count
People need to see your logo more than 5 times to connect it with your company. Therefore, every interaction your customer has with you should be fully optimized. Think of the touchpoints between your customers and your brand. For example, the email, an often-overlooked channel, is sent on average 40 times per employee per day. For a company of 100 employees, that is 4,000 opportunities for your customers to interact with your visual identity, every day. Branding those emails with consistent signatures that display your company logo, brand color, and vital information is a non-intrusive way of communicating your brand.
Solutions to help you stay consistent – Letsignit
Letsignit is a solution that easily automates the diffusion of the company’s visual identity into every employees’ email. With its centralized platform, your only task is to simply upload your logo and choose a pre-made template with your brand color already integrated into it. Your employees have nothing else to do but to enjoy their email signatures. Furthermore, if your visual identity evolves or your company moves to a new address, it only takes one click to update the signatures for the entire company. This eliminates the stress of becoming inconsistent and helps you in the daily defense of your visual identity.
The once painstaking task of controlling your brand on this touchpoint is reduced to only minutes and saves your IT time. Additionally, you turn every email sent by your colleagues into a targeted marketing opportunity with the inclusion of campaign banners.
Coca-Cola image source: https://www.businessinsider.com/soda-brands-that-failed-2016-3-24?IR=T