Alright guys, this week we’re gettin’ straight to the point. Finding a good theme is harrrdddd sometimes. Tedious even, especially when you’re trying to find your brand’s identity. You might want it to be traditionally professional but thinking it could be boring, ahem I mean too cut-and-dry. Perhaps you’re thinking flashy and dynamic but are afraid your audience won’t take you seriously. And the colors!!! (Just wait til’ you discover they all have meanings). So how do you pin it down? What the hell is a theme anyway?
Bipolar Branding is not good business
The theme is the quintessential, holy grail of all things you can define to make your communication consistent. It is EVERYTHING!!!
Once you have a theme you have to stick with it. It’s very problematic when you have a brand and your communication is constantly flip-flopping. It’s what I’d like to call “Bipolar Branding”.
Bipolar Branding can potentially push your progress six steps backwards. From both digital and real world perspectives if you’re constantly changing your theme, it confuses the hell out of consumers and people willing to invest in you. And that sho ain’t what you want right? RIGHT??!! I don’t want that for you either.
Stop fighting yourself. Remember who you are
You might not have a clear concept of who you are as a brand yet. Maybe you’re still struggling to define the theme that perfectly represents your brand. And that’s okay for the moment. Branding isn’t a sprint, it’s an ongoing marathon. Even major companies like Playboy, Coca-Cola, and Apple struggled in the beginning, but once they clearly knew who and what they were, history was made.
You also might be having a hard time knowing what kind of people you want to attract with your brand and even why you want to draw that type of audience. That’s another part of trying to find yourself. I believe that fear plays a role in that. Some people can get so caught up in trying to attract and please everyone, attempting to be versatile, that they either lose their original identity entirely (I can name quite a few mainstream examples) or that they end up alienating their core consumers. It’s good to be versatile, but in this case it is versatility that’s poorly executed. You can’t afford to be anyone else. Staying true to your theme is WHY you’ll have brand advocates. Stick to your guns.
My Bologna Has a First Name… and you’re going to remember it
I hate bologna by the way.
Branding is a hard business but I’m sure you know that already. Brand consistency is one of the most important parts of having a thriving entity. It takes discipline, early experimentation, and a solid understanding of what your theme represents and who it caters to. Creating a memorable brand is everything from what it will look like (design elements), the reason why people should gravitate to you your brand, and what purpose does your brand have to begin with. Your objectives with having a consistent theme are to be easily recognized and to maintain the loyalty and following of the consumers.
Time to Open the Treasure Box
Be Unique: While many brands are beginning to resemble one another these days, your objective is to be different from everyone else. All of the leading brands have designs, themes, ideas, and logos that make you think of no one else but them. Having a great creative sense is important and some ideas come quick while most of them take a while to process so don’t be afraid to experiment at the beginning in order to find out what works for you. To have a consistent style that can be known through the real and digital worlds, including social media is an important key to brand success.
Stay Disciplined: After you have a particular style that works best for you and that’s unique, you have to stick with for the long haul. Not literally forever because there’s always a need to change with the times. But like I said earlier, too much unnecessary change will hurt you. There should be absolutely no reason to change anything unless you KNOW that change will lead to greater gains. If you stick with what you have and improve upon that theme instead of changing it, you can maintain and increase the advocacy of your brand.
Understand Who Your Theme Caters To: This is pretty simple. When you create an overall theme, you have to think about who it is you want to attract and how accessible you want to be. All of that is solely up to you. But when you do find that audience, make sure that theme represents them and never stray away from it no matter what. Just like you want your audience to be loyal to you, you have to be loyal to your consumers. Synergy, damnit! Being inconsistent with your theme can confuse and frustrate them. And you’re losing a lot when that happens. So, when you have something good going just stick with it and it will pay off in the long run.
If you have to change do it gradually and only if it benefits the consumer: Change is necessary sometimes, but nobody likes extreme change. The problem with some companies is they tend change or add things that benefit nobody but the brand maker (for the short term). When you have consumers established you should only make SMART changes and SMART additions to your brand. For example, if you want to make changes to the accessibility without sacrificing the core of your brand then do it. If you want to change the logo after a long period of time, do it. But do it gradually and do it in a way that fits the ever changing needs of the consumer.
What are your thoughts? Any advice on branding consistency? Feel free to speak your mind in the comments.
Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100185647