Erica Gunn
Erica Gunn 7 November 2022

Six Root Causes of Brand Inconsistency (And How You Can Fix Them)

Even the most carefully crafted brands are damaged by simple mistakes and inconsistencies. These can put off both your loyal and prospective customers. By being aware of common pitfalls, putting systems in place and making use of the right software, you can ensure only the best content is seen by customers.

Branding – whether in the form of logos, typography, imagery or color palettes – defines your product, building brand recognition, shaping your reputation and connecting you with customers.

These three things don’t come together by accident or good fortune. To establish a brand, the whole process requires a lot of refinement and many years of work. What’s more, even after you have a strong brand in place, inconsistencies can derail your best efforts, even occurring in-house.

A brand is perceived value, the personality of your company. Once you have settled on the right colours, fonts, pictures, tone and messaging, you can build a unified look and feel, which eventually breeds familiarity and trust.

Yet a study by Demand Metric found that fewer than 10% of respondents said their brand presentation stayed consistent. Nearly 90% said brand consistency was important, but less than half are actually achieving it. Furthermore, 60% of respondents said that although they had brand guidelines, their materials still didn’t always conform to them.

When brand inconsistencies occur, winning new customers can be a real challenge. But brand inconsistency doesn’t just hurt prospective customers; if an existing customer seeks your product out but can’t easily find or recognise it, they’ll move on.

The world’s biggest brands like Amazon, Coca-Cola and Netflix spend enormous amounts of money on branding. So do startups and other ambitious smaller businesses as a proportion of their revenue. If you’ve invested that much into your branding, you need to maintain it. 

Few brand managers intentionally allow branding to go off course, yet it happens regularly. Your creatives and your copywriters tend to be most in tune with your brand identity and brand storytelling, but for the people who own the campaigns and channels, it can get lost in the day-to-day of the job.

One of the most common examples of brand management inconsistency is when someone in your company uses the wrong asset. This can happen for all sorts of reasons. They might end up using an outdated asset, the wrong brand colours or the incorrect font, tone or tagline. 

When you encounter mistakes like these, they usually come back to the following universal issues:

  1. Lack of communication: You may have a great core collection of on-brand assets, but as more people get involved, new content can start to deviate from established rules and standards through poor communication.
  2. Lack of processes: Often, small companies have simple processes to maintain their brand identity, but as you grow in number of employees and locations, these same procedures fall apart or even worse, become unnecessarily complicated. 
  3. Volume of assets: Keeping your brand consistent is no easy feat when you think about all the different assets in play, from videos to photos to presentations to sales collateral. Multiply that by different departments, third parties, and franchisees, and you can see how mistakes happen.
  4. Inability to find assets: When you work with resellers, vendors or partners, the right access to logos or colour palettes isn’t always provided. As a result, people might simply Google your name and lift whatever logo they can find, which might not be an approved asset, or the right colour or resolution.
  5. Obstructed access to assets: Your marketers may know the right assets exist but can’t get to them, often because they’re stored on individual employees’ computers or emails. Even if they’re kept in shared Dropbox or Google drives, without any process to organise them, accessing the right file can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. 
  6. Barriers to collaboration: The hybrid work environment has highlighted companies’ challenges in maintaining brand consistency, showing the need for a single source of truth. In the past, you typically sat next to each other in an office, where everyone could talk. Now, members of your team could be working at home on individual systems.

Although brand managers feel frustrated by inconsistencies, they may not know what solutions are out there. 

Digital asset management software like Canto is perfectly placed to help. As digital transformation continues to accelerate, managing your assets in a seamless, efficient way is critical. You have to keep customers happy, your brand consistent and your teams working smarter. 

Grab a copy of this brand management strategy playbook today and get started.

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