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How To Maintain Brand Consistency and Why It’s Important

The start of a business, new business line, or even a rebrand is a magical time bursting with fresh, new ideas. A special thing happens at the launch of a brand, new product, or even rebrand that is full of excitement, hope, confidence, and pride. Your shiny new brand guide is delivered with all the rules for the road in tandem with your new brand assets. Both help you navigate branding on the road ahead. Everyone on the team is excited to jump into the driver's seat and show the world (or your market) the new brand.

As the momentum builds, so do your touchpoints and output channels. Marketing and sales initiatives drive ambitious goals that push the brand further and further out into the world. As this happens, more and more team members are touching the brand. Then partners, vendors, consultants, and other third parties are now handlers of the brand. When things are moving so fast, the brand rules can get lost in translation, like a widespread game of telephone.

Next thing you know, the brand is starting to veer off course, going rogue from its original vision. It’s time to pump the brakes, call in roadside assistance, and get back on track.

Let’s take a look under the hood.

What is a brand audit?

It is a process in which a company takes a snapshot of its brand assets and gives it a rating—a scorecard, if you will. With brand audits, we’re measuring brand coherence. We’re looking at how much a brand touchpoint measures up against the brand guide so you can identify performance and any gaps that need closing.

When should a brand audit be done?

This should be a regular process. A standard running metric we go by is 6 months, depending on the company's size. You may choose to do them quarterly—but at a minimum, we would suggest you mark it on your calendar to audit every 6 months.

Why are brand audits important and worth the time investment?

The short answer is brand consistency. Gaps in brand consistency are not ideal because it pulls the brand in a different direction, compromising the very identity of the brand. Most of the time, this is done unintentionally as more team members touch the brand and more outputs of the brand increase. The reins start to loosen.

What damage does inconsistency cause?

If there are inconsistencies within your brand, your customer’s perception of you is just that—inconsistent. When customers spot areas of inconsistency, they lose trust in your company—whether they’re conscious or unconscious of this.

Why are we talking about trust in a branding article?

You have a relationship with each and every customer or potential customer that interfaces with your brand. You’re given two options with relationships: either nurture that relationship or neglect it. What is at the heart of relationships? Yep, you guessed it. Trust.

More than 50% of your customers' experience is (tied to their) subconscious and how they feel about your brand.

—Brian Solis, X: The Experience when Business Meets Design

Mistrust leads to loss of customers, low customer retention, and as a result of all this, a loss of sales.

Take, for example, a coworker. If they acted differently every day, you may wonder how they would show up next. This creates unease and a sense of apprehension. Mistrust is then formed and, along with it, a loss of credibility.

Since that coworker in this hypothetical seems to be all over the place, you wouldn’t know what to expect in both their output and your interactions with them. Inconsistency creates mistrust which is a hard thing to gain back. In terms of relationship management 101, it takes more work to win back trust than nurture it.

The last thing you want is for your customers to turn away from you due to poor brand consistency, creating barriers. The sooner you catch it, the less damage control you’ll have to do in the end.

Trust is built in brands in the most old-fashioned of ways—through consistency and transparency.

—Leah Hacker, CEO, Rebel

How to avoid brand inconsistency.

Take inventory and get a pulse on how your brand is looking, sounding—and yes, feeling to your customers. If there are any gaps in brand consistency, create an action plan that steers a course for correction. You’ll not only be protecting the integrity of your brand, which is super important. But also be protecting the perception of your brand in every nook and cranny.

Are you curious how your brand scores in brand consistency?

So are we. So we’ve prepared a detailed brand audit checklist to help you get this process in motion. Now all you have to do is set the meeting with your team and start the audit. Happy branding.

Brand Audit Checklist and Scorecard from Rebel

Brand Audit Scorecard Template

Time for a brand audit? We got you covered.

Have a question?

We answer big questions. We answer small questions, too. Whatever your Q, chances are it’s on our FAQs page.

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Give us your most wicked business challenge. And we’ll find truths in places you wouldn’t expect. So, whaddya say?