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Marketers, branding strategists, advertising agencies and PR pros alike probably wish they didn’t see it. I speak from experience when I say it makes me twitch a little. And I know it confuses consumers more than it benefits them.
So what is this annoying little blemish that irks us all and ages us prematurely? The case of the confused brand.
Your brand has an identity (of note, the use of ‘an’ indicates singularity)
Yes, brands can represent different things to different people. Starbucks can represent convenience to some and quality to others. Different values aside, it doesn’t mean each market needs a different version of your logo. Or that your Facebook and Twitter should appear so dissimilar that the consumer questions whether or not the same brand/product is being represented.
So just where do these little differences hide?
Logos: It doesn’t matter if the logo has been completely revamped or if the colors were darkened by 15%. The most recent version of your logo should appear on all marketing materials, publicity and advertising. Honestly, it should even appear on your internal communications. I don’t care if you are putting your logo on meeting notes to share with your colleagues. Just cover your tracks and make the correct version appears on everything. When on deadline, it doesn’t take much for the wrong logo to sneak out on a communication.
Boilerplate: Boilerplates change. It’s a given. But it helps to use the same version on all communications. For the sake of consistency, why not use it to describe your company on its Facebook page and extract a couple of sentences for its Twitter bio? The more variations on a theme you draft to describe your company, the more opportunities there are for brand confusion.
Colors: Today, I was happy, so I made my Twitter background smiley faces. Then I got mad, so I made it red. Then I was tired, so I put blankets on it. You get the idea. If it’s your personal account, have at it. Lace it with unicorns and rainbows for all I care. But if you represent a company, could you kindly keep to the brand identity? A strong identity is quite advantageous to your brand, so limit the little indiscretions that weaken it!
Tagline: This one is always entertaining. Often, companies have taglines, but use a variety of succinct phrases to describe them in different circumstances. Can’t we just use the tagline so its value isn’t diluted? ‘Have you had your break today’ didn’t become legendary, nor did ‘The milk chocolate melts in your mouth – not in your hand’ from being part of a family of taglines – they were stand alone phrases heard consistently and frequently throughout the brand’s stratosphere.
Brand Name: I would imagine most of you are laughing at the mere mention of this, but of late, I’ve had this conversation a few more times than I would ever care to. Use your brand’s proper name at all junctures. Those little variations can dilute the value of your brand at an alarming rate. That is simply senseless!
The next time you go to expand the channels through which you communicate about your brand, take a close look at how you are packaging your brand in its context. The little things can have a big impact on brand value!
This post, as well as others of mine not featured on the PRBreakfastClub, are available at the Co-Communications blog.