A couple of weeks ago when writing about loyalty starting on the inside of an organisation, I noted that a key element in building loyalty was consistency, with the promise I’d expand on the topic.
Whether you make stuff or sell services; whether you’re in a B2B or B2C business, non-profit, social business or work for yourself; consistency is the king when it comes to building brands.
As usual I’m not (just) talking about the consistency that gets all the attention in brand talk – that is of message and communications. Although that is certainly necessary and important, the consistency I’m talking about is all the other things that build a brand:
- Consistent products that do what they say they will do and keep doing it.
- Consistent service so people know what to expect.
- Consistently implemented values so employees know what’s OK and what isn’t.
- Consistent purpose so everyone who engages with the organisation knows what you stand for.
- Consistent delivery of the big things and the little things.
- Consistent focus even when you think you’ve got it right.
- Consistency in how they are delivered.
- Consistency in why they are delivered that way.
- And, yes, consistency in what you say about all those other things.
Consistency will eat creativity for lunch. You can be the most creative, out there, ground-breaking, purple cow worthy thing. But if you can’t be consistent, if I can’t count on you or it, then I don’t care. I’m not coming back. And I’m certainly not telling my friends.
Think about a brand that you like. That you return to time and time again. I’ll lay odds that among all the other things they are, and no matter what they sell or provide – they are also consistent.
Consistency isn’t sexy. It wouldn’t win any “fun things every brand needs” survey. It isn’t written about in brand or management books or Harvard Business articles. It requires rigor and discipline. It’s work. It’s doing something once. Doing it again right. Then doing it again and again and again. And staying focused on doing it even when you’re sick of thinking about it.
It’s not the only thing that matters, but I can promise you this – without it you don’t have any chance of building a brand that lasts.
Are you being consistent?
See you next week.
Michel is an independent brand analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com.