An inconsistent brand message confuses customers, turns off prospective buyers and muddles your image with audiences. According to Salesforce, the average customer journey involves six to eight touch points, so maintaining a strong brand across channels has significant benefits. As Forbes notes, the power of a strong brand includes recognition, consumer trust and greater financial returns. How can companies ensure consistent brand messaging across more complex channels than ever before?
Managing the realities of decentralized organizations
For larger companies, struggling with the reality of a decentralized organization can be challenging. Global companies are comprised of a compendium of cultures, business units and time zones. Communications managers can help streamline their message globally by:
- Defining centralized guidelines related to branding and messaging in the form of a brand book or style guide
- Establishing clear guidelines for localizing content, including variations on core brand elements such as wording, logo or colors
- Designating a communications stakeholder to answer questions not covered in the guidelines to ensure that any branding decision is aligned with your company's larger objectives
Preventing version drift or out-of-date documents with the right technology
Inconsistent messaging can also occur due to version drift or individuals not having access to the latest documents. Investing in the right technology can help. Use communications platforms that all appropriate personnel can access at any time to get the latest version of a logo, investor document or product sales sheet.
With the right platform, changes can automatically be updated. Let's say your company is going through a rebranding and changes its logo. Certain technology platforms will automatically update the file in any presentation, Word document or other file where it's used. Centralizing your document management helps ensure that the latest files are used while eliminating unnecessary mistakes or long delays while stakeholders wait for a busy person to respond to a file request.
Avoiding the negative impacts of inconsistent messaging in customer service
Nowhere is brand messaging as important as in the channels where you provide customer service. Customers contact your company for help using a variety of methods. An unhappy customer might call into a contact center, reach out via Twitter, engage in live chat or send an email to your support division. It's critical that all elements of the customer interaction be consistent regardless of the channel. Communications managers can work in partnership with customer support to bring the brand's voice, values and defining elements to customer service training. Whether it's how you communicate with customers via a greeting or consistently relaying customer and product policies, keeping messaging standardized across your customer support channels should be a top objective of effective brand communication.
Educating your employees and vendors — your front line for consistent messaging
If inconsistent messaging has been an issue for your organization, it's important to take the time to educate your employees, vendors and partners. Start by developing the resources above and looking at ways technology can facilitate a smoother process. Train your team with brand-focused workshops. Communicate with your agencies and internal partners to ensure that all content, creative and interactions focus on your latest brand guidelines. Finally, look into developing a portal that can empower distributors, vendors and other partners to be on-message and using the latest collateral each time they mention your brand.
Maximizing your message in an omnichannel context
Increasingly, companies are shifting toward omnichannel strategies. This creates a high-level strategy that aligns with the business's objectives and audiences. Each channel is used to distribute messaging and content that supports that higher-level vision. Adopting an omnichannel approach helps ensure consistent branding across all channels and touch points by anchoring every campaign and initiative to the company's most important objectives.
An inconsistent brand message erodes your image and can ultimately damage all the brand building you've strived so hard to do. Take proactive steps to assess where inconsistent branding may be occurring and use education, clearly documented guidelines, technology and a sharper strategy to bring a strong brand to market each and every time.