During the recent election campaign Malcolm Turnbull was ridiculed for using the expression “continuity with change”. The reason, primarily, was that this very phrase had been used in the American political satire Veep because the writers thought it was “the most meaningless slogan they could think of”.
That’s not helpful to a man looking to still be Prime Minister, but what he was suggesting was not as ridiculous as many were only too happy to make out. Certainly not in a business sense.
What most really successful brands are able to do is to change (meaning evolve, refresh, move with the times, adapt to new opportunities etc) while staying consistent with who they are and what customers like about them and expect from them – in others words, staying recognisable and reliable.
Related Article: Rebrand, refresh or re-engineer?
If there’s no consistency (or continuity) in what you do, then you are essentially launching something new all the time and throwing away a lot of hard earned goodwill. At its most basic, consistency is all about reducing risk by establishing trust. I know that brand and I like what they offer me.
Unfortunately, to many people brand consistency means only visual identity – use of logo, colour, correct tagline. These things are important, of course, because they are symbolic of your brand and if you can’t get your symbols right that implies you’re not getting the rest of the stuff right either. You need a custodian of your visual identity and they need to be vigilant.
I always say that the most vulnerable time for an organisation in terms of visual identity is when a new marketing manager comes in because they want to make their mark and that’s a very obvious way to do it!
Related Article: How Staff Can Build Your Brand
But consistency is about more than just the visuals. You also need to have consistency in other brand elements – your values, your personality, your behaviour, your product offering and your product differentiators.
If you suddenly start doing things you didn’t do before or offering products that are out of kilter with the rest of your catalogue or the things your customers find interesting or approve of, then they may start questioning your reliability and their loyalty to you.
But the really tricky one is your values. It’s hard to promote your firm as respectful and dignified if one of your senior consultants, managers of salespeople is anything but that and has no intention of changing. And it’s even harder if he or she is one of your biggest fee earners or sales people. How would you deal with that one?
Have any questions regarding your brand? Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org