The Key to Consistency

There's a common misconception in branding that centres around the idea that consistency is all about maintaining the same methods, messages, and approaches. People often say, "Consistency is key," but there's a twist to it that's frequently overlooked. If your consistency only reinforces the status quo, you might actually be holding your brand back from its true potential.

Consider this: if you're consistently using marketing tactics that no longer resonate with your audience, like an old photo of a product long repackaged, you're consistently missing the mark. A dependable routine of advertisements, social media posts, or email campaigns sounds ideal, but if they're not evolving, neither is your brand's relationship with customers. What you're consistent at may just be consistently staying behind in a race that's always moving forward.

Take, for instance, Nike. They've consistently stayed at the top of their market not by resting on their laurels but by being at the forefront of marketing trends and product innovation. They use customer feedback to drive the next wave of product development, pairing their strong brand identity with a relentless pursuit of improvement. This approach keeps them relevant and maintains their place as industry leaders.

Conversely, look at Reebok. There was a time when they were leading the athletic footwear industry. However, their reluctance to embrace the same level of evolution in their branding and products as Nike did led to a decline in their market share. They maintained the consistency of their past approaches while the market environment and their audience's expectations continued to evolve. This exemplifies the risk of valuing the wrong type of consistency—a lesson many brands can learn from.

Brands should aim for a type of consistency that is synonymous with evolution and improvement. Imagine a company that began with physical flyers and print ads, sticking to these methods might have been consistent, but is it effective? Not when customers have moved their attention to digital platforms. A brand committed to evolution would adapt by boosting their online presence with targeted social media campaigns and digital storytelling, ensuring they remain relevant and engaging.

So, let's redefine consistency. The goal should be to consistently deliver value in the most effective ways possible. As those methods evolve, so should your tactics. Foster a brand identity that thrives on improvement and adaptability—the kind that doesn't just prepare you for the future; but helps you shape it.

Tanner Garniss-Marsh, RGD, is a brand strategist and designer working with business owners to bring their envisioned brand to life with strategic and practical solutions.

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