Branding is identity. It’s presentation. It’s an impression you leave on others. It’s the feelings summoned when someone thinks about you, pictures you, remembers you.
Branding is your identifier. The images and words that distinguish you from the crowd. It’s your tropical shirt at a tuxedo gala. Your navy blue suite in an all gray world. Your black dress in group of sweats and leggings. It’s what you put out into the world to define you from the person next to you or to define you from the other coffee grower down the shelf or the community action group in the next city over.
Branding, it’s how you look. It’s how you sound. It’s how you show up.
Consistency creates a brand. Your brand has to deliver on its promises consistently. It has to have a consistent look and feel. It has to have a consistent message, a consistent personality. All of this consistency builds trust between you and your customers and clients.
Of course, if consistency builds your brand then, inversely, inconsistency destroys your brand. To understand this process, think of your own life. In our personal lives, this process of brand consistency is similar to personal integrity.
Stop and think of a specific person you feel has true integrity.
Now ask: why do you feel they have integrity?
To help answer that, think of the sayings:
“THEY’RE A STRAIGHT SHOOTER,”
“THEY’RE THEIR OWN PERSON,”
“THEY’RE TRUE BLUE.”
What are these sayings really saying?
They’re saying this person is consistent. No matter what situation they’re in, I know how they’ll respond.
This consistency, this reliability creates safety. Thanks to evolutionary biology humans fear the unknown, the unpredictable. You could be eaten in the dark because you don’t know who or what else is in the dark next to you. Around a fire, you can see the danger coming. Unpredictability, unreliability, undependability create fear. The dark is scary because it’s unpredictable. You could be safe in there. Or a tiger could be a foot away from you.
When a person is inconsistent, when you don’t know how they will respond, they become unpredictable. And someone who is unpredictable is scary. An unpredictable person is the walking manifestation of the primal dark. And someone who’s scary is untrustworthy. Or to come full circle, they have no integrity.
For instance, this unpredictable person: 1. may show up to work on time today.
2. Or they may be late.
We don’t know, so we didn’t let them lead the meeting.
1. One day they’re nice,
2. another their passive aggressive and critical.
So I didn’t invite them to the party.
UNPREDICTABILITY CREATES FEAR. AND FEAR BREAKS TRUST.
On the other hand:
PREDICTABILITY CREATES SAFETY.
Think back to the dark and now think about the fire. When you can clearly see what’s coming next, you feel safe. And safety builds trust.
Here’s our semantic chain:
1. inconsistency equals unpredictability.
2. Unpredictability creates fear.
3. Fear breaks trust.
And the inverse:
1. consistency equals predictability,
2. which creates safety,
3. which builds trust.
And to have a truly great brand, people must trust you, which means to build a great brand you have to be consistent.
Ok, so we can picture how a reliable person gains the trust of others. And we can see how an unpredictable, inconsistent person breaks trust.
But how do you translate these personal interactions and relationships into the abstract entity of your business and your brand?
Simple: through the visuals and words of your business.
Just like a person, your business shows up to the world by how it looks and how it sounds.
For instance, the visuals of your business are things like:
-your product packaging,
-your social media photos,
The messaging of your business is
-the word choice, and
-the selling points
you put out to the world like on your:
-social media posts,
These visuals and messages are your business’s personality projected out into the world.
When you stop to think about every place and instance where you display an image to represent your business or use words to describe and relate to your business, you see that there are hundreds to thousands of these touch points.
And to create the consistency you need to build trust, to build your brand with your customers and clients, you have to ensure that each one of those thousands of touch points are absolutely in synch.
To see this point, think of a time you found a great business. They made the exact product or provided the exact service you needed, whether it was dog bones or car rentals. You read through their website. You read all the great reviews by other customers. You’re ready to buy.
You click the contact page:
and the link’s broken.
When that happens, do you still try to work with that business?
If you’re like most people, the answer is no.
A site error page takes maybe 30 seconds to load, but it breaks a potential lifetime of trust.
Why? Because that business was inconsistent. Great customer reviews are inconsistent with a missing contact page. That business in your mind went from being a hidden treasure to being unpredictable. And unpredictability creates fear:
"WELL, SINCE THEIR CONTACT PAGE WAS BROKEN, I’M AFRAID THEY WON’T SHIP THE ORDER RIGHT."
"WHAT IF THEY SEND IT TO THE WRONG ADDRESS?"
"OR OVERCHARGE MY CARD?"
"OR IT’S THE WRONG SIZE?"
And a potential lifetime customer clicks the x of death on your website.
So, we know:
consistency builds trust and that trust builds your brand.
We also know that:
to create consistency you have to synchronize the words and images of the thousands of touch points between your business and your customers and clients.
So, now, the most important question is:
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE THOUSAND MOVING PARTS? HOW DO YOU EVEN FIND ALL THESE TOUCH POINTS?
-If you don’t find them all and manage each one, how do you know that you’re not losing a lifetime customer and then another one and another one and another one?
-How do you do all of that and still run the rest of your business?
The accounting still needs to be done. The front clerk position still needs to be filled, and next month’s order still needs to be made, and you still have to find time to eat and sleep.
The answer to all of this is simple:
ask for help.
We can’t help you make delicious dog treats or screen that stack of new applications, but we can help build your brand. We can help wrangle all those touch points, line them up, and create the images and words for each one.
Like a civil engineer, We can survey the river, craft the blueprint, and oversee the building of the dam. We can help take your business and you from being flooded and overwhelmed to living in a thriving, irrigated, growing life.
But, like “Reading Rainbow”, don’t take our word for it. Look through our case studies here. And when you’re ready, take two minuets to schedule your free consultation.