7: Brand language: consistency

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Quality communications can be maintained over time. We know the importance of imagery and text when building brand identity, so lets look at keeping some consistency in those messages.

‘Tone of voice’ is often mentioned in connection with corporate identities. This means that, over time, we come to recognise the distinctive ways in which different brands communicate with us. With this recognition comes an expectation of how those will speak to us through their advertising and marketing communications.

For example, the visual styles, sound and graphics associated with television adverts for DFS and IKEA couldn’t be more different.

DFS_ad IKEA_ad

All DFS adverts are about immediacy; the current deals on offer, express delivery, the ‘while stocks last’ quick sale. The voiceover and music are at a high volume level, demanding your attention.

Also, the furniture featured is often extremely large in size, much larger than the traditional two-seater sofa, giving the impression that you as consumer can afford luxurious seating at an affordable price. Keeping up with the latest trends is important, meaning that this year’s sofa may become obsolete within five years, triggering another purchase.

By contrast, the IKEA ad is quieter and delivered at a slow, measured pace. In their world, they believe that their customers tend to take longer to get to the buying decision. The ad encourages viewers to think about its products not as one-off sales, but in the context of a lifestyle choice, where the prospect of a new sofa could spark a debate about redecorating a whole room, or even an entire home.

Matching the approach to the audience

The point is that you could look at another five DFS adverts and each would contain the following elements:

1) the bold tactical (immediate, time limited) offer is quickly introduced in the voiceover
2) clear graphics visualising individual price reductions
3) the offer is repeated at the end of the advert (just in case your eyes and ears missed it the first time)

Building a consistent brand

To help keep your brand communications consistently credible and engaging, you need to think beyond the basics. It’s not enough to check that your latest brochure or website update uses the right colours or the logo at the right size.

Text: whether your house style is serious, humorous or whimsical, has the copy been written in accordance with that style? How does it compare with previous communications?

Imagery: Does your imagery all look as if it comes from the same place? Is the lighting and image quality consistent? Are your images informative and enticing?

You know your products, services and target audiences(s) better than anyone else. To give your brand communications the best chance of being noticed by potential customers (and prompting a positive response) all you need to do is to back up your brand promise every time.