Picture: 123RF/melpomen
Picture: 123RF/melpomen

There are several factors causing serious reputational damage to brands, ranging from social media to fake news and cyberattacks. It’s therefore imperative that companies have measures in place to minimise the possibility of reputational damage. Brand consistency, which is critical to establishing trust, is one of those measures, given that it can provide a layer of brand security for organisations as well as their customers.

The value of brand consistency

Brand consistency is a key tool that helps customers and potential customers to recognise a brand and helps to establish relationships of trust with customers. According to research findings from a survey conducted by Investis Digital and Forrester Consulting, “More than half of businesses see an improved reputation as a result of consistently communicating their brand values.”

By delivering a consistent experience in every interaction with customers, they know what to expect when they engage with you. It also demonstrates that you take detail very seriously and gives customers confidence that you will deliver quality service to meet their needs.

This consistency can also be used to provide brand security in that should customers receive a phishing e-mail that includes your company logo, for example, based on previous experience in dealing with your company, they would know that the e-mail didn’t come from your organisation.

Achieving brand consistency

Brand consistency can be achieved only by establishing specific brand guidelines that are managed from a central department within an organisation and implemented by every employee throughout the organisation. These include visual elements such as the logo and font colour, to the tone of content used in communications.  However, as employees have access to e-mail and company materials across multiple devices and are able to create personalised customer communication as needed, achieving consistency is a great challenge for organisations.

To ensure brand security, every employee needs to know what the brand stands for, understand their role in delivering a consistent brand experience and be committed to delivering a consistent brand experience in every customer communication. This helps to establish the brand’s reputation and build trust among customers while helping to secure the brand and even protect customers from potential threats.

Ease the process of brand consistency

Though many companies have brand guidelines and standards in place, sharing these across an organisation and having all employees implement them is a real challenge for marketers. This is supported by findings of a survey conducted by Investis Digital and Forrester Consulting, which revealed that “only 25% of businesses rate themselves as very effective at consistently managing their brand values across digital channels”.

To ease the process, employees need to be given tools that will help them to deliver consistent brand experiences at every customer touch point. All relevant documents from letterheads to sales collateral and presentations should be easy to access from a central location using the technology they have become accustomed to using daily.

E-mails should be branded with beautifully designed e-mail signatures and be written in the correct font type and colour. To provide added peace of mind for the recipient, e-mails should include the organisation’s unique font within the e-mail signature as this is far harder to replicate than ordinary fonts and therefore adds an additional layer of security. 

The content should also align to the overall brand with employees easily accessing predeveloped and approved content that can be personalised to include specific client information. Attachments should be branded correctly and contain the correct information to ensure brand consistency in all communications and to build brand trust.

Adhering to legal requirements and compliance

To provide added security for both the recipient and sender, e-mails should adhere to legal requirements and compliance acts such as the Privacy of Personal Information (POPI) Act and Electronic Communications Act (ECA). To achieve this, e-mails that contain personal information should not be shared with external parties but should only be sent via the organisation’s own internal server to the customer.

Include disclaimers in every e-mail sent to address confidentiality, copyright, contract formation, defamation, discrimination, harassment, privilege and viruses. Without a disclaimer, the company could be faced with a possible lawsuit from recipients.

The big take-out

Brand consistency in all customer engagements helps to build brand trust and can provide a layer of security for organisations and their customers.

Putting the basics in place

All content and branded materials should be easy to access regardless of the device or where the employee is based. Branded communications should be managed from a central location with tamperproof mechanisms built into the system to ensure that employees can’t make changes to documents, presentations, e-mails and other company information without the necessary approvals.

Ensuring brand consistency across employees and devices is a key challenge for many. However, it’s a critical task in establishing trust with employees and customers and requires a strategic approach to achieve success. However, technology also needs to be implemented across organisations to help ensure brand consistency in all customer engagements as this not only helps to build brand trust, but can provide a layer of added security for the organisation and the customer.

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