January 15, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Have you ever had someone meet you for the first time, and 10 minutes into the conversation, he/she says your name – and it’s wrong?
Oof – painful. So, what do you do? Do you correct them immediately? Do you leave it alone and hope he or she will figure it out on their own? And if they don’t, do you live with the name Teresa instead of Susan for the duration of your relationship?
Now imagine it’s your company’s corporate identity that’s been compromised. What if your company logo is in all caps and your client insists on always using lower case? Conversely, your corporate identity (CI) is all lowercase, and your client uses all upper case . . .what to do? There is only one answer. Correct the client immediately and respectfully.
Our company’s acronym is rpc. We use it much more than our actual company name, The Retail Performance Company. Most clients don’t even think of our formal company name or what rpc stands for as with an IBM or a BMW.
When we launched rpc there was a decision to keep the acronym and branding lowercase, and we use the lowercase initiative throughout our CI. While we live and breathe consistency around our brand integrity internally, our clients were slow to understand and adopt the lowercase acronym. And in the beginning, guess who never stopped and redirected these clients? Yes, that would be me. As a result of my early reluctance to correct the client, I had compromised our brand.
Is this a big deal? Yes. Can we live without the purist view of our corporate identity with our clients? No. We must maintain our brand’s integrity in all things, all elements, not just the logo.
Creating a consistent brand helps to chart a course toward establishing your business in the market. There is a calmness and comfort in brand consistency. And you control all of it.
Being consistent with your brand does three things:
1. Establishes your reputation—your brand
Your business growth requires a track record of performance and success. Understanding your mission, vision, and applying the appropriate measures to establish your brand should keep your company on track. Businesses without a clear vision often can’t set a track record of consistency. A lack of vision usually results in a client shifting gears or trying different tactics. Many efforts fail before they get to the finish line, not because the tactic was flawed or goals weren’t clear, but because you didn’t stay the course and remain consistent with your mission statement. Pick it and stick to it.
2. Separates you from the pack and makes you relevant
Your employees and your customers need a predictable flow of information from you. State your mission, your “Why,” and attach your brand to the tools and characters you want to use all the time. And then use them. And when you stand up for this, they will take you seriously and appreciate your company’s self-respect. This process will enhance your brand value, differentiate you from your competition and make you more relevant than ever.
3. Maintains your message and brand
Your audience pays attention to what you do and what you say. Consistency in your output serves as a model for how others form their own standards and even behave. If you treat a meeting as not important, don’t be surprised when others around you (customers, employees, potential sales clients, etc.) respond in kind.
The same is true with your corporate identity. What message are you sending, and is this consistent with who you are? Marketers tell us that as consumers, when we buy, we often buy what we’ve bought before. We make purchases based on the knowledge that we will receive the same level of quality we’ve purchased in the past, and we trust that we will receive that same level of quality again. The product we purchase may not be the best, but we don’t care because we take comfort in trusting the level of quality, we know we’ll receive, vs. the fear of trying something new and being utterly disappointed.
By being consistent in your delivery, sticking with what your brand stands for, and perhaps sometimes having to go outside your comfort zone to redirect clients as to your brand standards, you can create a customer base built on loyalty and trust. You will create a subconscious confidence in your products and services, resulting in improved performance and greater success- because of a consistent and cohesive approach to your branding.
Others will not remember that once upon a time, they called you Sven and were corrected; however, they will experience and remember the integrity of your brand and become a loyal fan for life.