A brand’s image must have visual consistency. The brand must encourage ‘total recall’ across a myriad of channels and mediums to establish complete consumer brand recognition.
If you think of a logo as the entry door to a brand – the brand’s visual identity elements are the facing walls that support and convey the brand’s visual essence and figurative skin. These visual elements work in harmony to establish collective and cohesive brand image.
The visual identity elements that make up the look and feel of a brand are similar to the parts of a fine Swiss watch – they all sync together to deliver consistency, reliability and trust. Although these elements vary from brand to brand, it’s more than likely that these elements consist of the logo signature, color palette, typography, graphic elements and image style (photography and illustration).
Without visual consistency, a brand image is sure to create confusion. It’s like this: You come in contact for the first time with a new co-worker named Terry. Terry conservatively enters the office impeccably dressed – buttoned-down from head to toe. This goes on for a week. On week two, Terry enters the office dressed in cult-punk attire. Even though Terry is still the same person you originally met, your basic impression of Terry becomes confused. Well, brands are no different. We rely on brands to deliver consistency every step of the way.
Now then, there is nothing mystical about what visual brand consistency is. The challenge has everything to do with surrounding the brand with imperative brand gatekeepers that will care for and nurture the brand. This level of attention and commitment must start at the top with the CEO championing the brand. Then, it’s the role of the brand manager to fight for brand consistency, month after month and year after year. While you may think of this as branding 101 – everyday, multi-million and multi-billion dollar companies fail to deliver a consistent visual brand image.
Think of Apple – the world’s most consistent brand – and the impression in your mind will be one that is consistently shared by millions upon millions of people throughout the world. Apple represents one of the finest examples of creating and maintaining brand consistency. The world owes much to Steve Jobs, and his vision, tenacity and spirit will indeed be missed.
How do brand managers maintain a consistent brand image to achieve maximum brand value? Stay tuned for future posts interviewing global brand managers and brand experts to discuss the visual aspects of brand building and keep brands consistent.