To ensure a positive customer experience, brands need to develop and maintain a consistent identity now more than ever before. Doing so grows more complicated with every emerging platform that connects brands to customers. Email, chat, social media, online ads, and more are all now widely available tools in every marketer’s—and nearly every customer’s—toolbox.
As many as 95% of customers use three or more channels in just one interaction with a brand. Therefore, your company must maintain brand consistency across multiple channels to ensure a positive customer experience and promote a favorable reputation. A coherent brand image also improves visibility by making it easy for customers to recognize your brand, regardless of platform or advertising medium.
Let’s explore how to maintain brand consistency across all channels, how to adapt your strategy for different channels, and how technology can help streamline the process.
7 essential steps for maintaining brand consistency across multiple channels
Regardless of the size of your company or the industry you’re in, the following steps can help your brand maintain consistency across multiple channels:
- Clearly define your brand personality
- Create and distribute a brand style guide
- Educate all employees on brand identity and consistency
- Create a brand consistency task force
- Perform regular communication audits
- Foster cross-channel integration
- Tailor your brand voice to individual channels
Here’s a closer look at what each of these actions entails.
1 Clearly define your brand personality
Brand consistency is only possible if you have a clear brand to project. It should already include your brand’s mission, values, identity, and voice. However, you also need to assess the emotional impact you’re having on customers.
After a positive first impression, potential customers want to know more about your brand. They’ll engage with you and decide whether they’re intrigued. If they become customers, learn why and translate that information:
- Is your brand giving them a sense of belonging?
- Do they feel connected?
By determining the impact your brand is having, you can gain more clarity on how your identity is being received. If it’s out of alignment, tailor and reshape it.
2 Create and distribute a brand style guide
Arrange your brand’s rules of engagement into a brand style guide that is easily accessible to all employees. Ensure the team members who will need it understand it and how to access it. By introducing tools like Grammarly Business, you can create and share company style guides across all formats with your team. This will help get everyone on the same page regarding what your brand is all about and how to project that identity coherently.
This style guide should clearly outline your brand identity and specific internal regulations for verbal, written, and visual communication. For example, an internal regulation could state that communications must always reflect positively on your brand. Brand voice and tone in particular should be clearly defined for maximum efficacy. Be sure to update this style guide regularly.
3 Educate employees on brand identity and consistency
Brand consistency isn’t just a vital consideration for your marketing and PR team. Ensuring individuals across your company are intimately familiar with your brand values, mission, and voice will also contribute to consistency—not just in formal marketing campaigns but also in informal brand advocacy.
To illustrate this, imagine you’re on a road trip across the United States. During the trip, you visit the same large fast-food restaurant in three different states. Even if you aren’t aware of it, you know you can depend on employees at each location to give you a standard quality of service and food. This is because the staff at all of the restaurant’s franchises—thanks to consistent company communication and training—are thoroughly familiar with the chain’s brand identity and values, and understand the experience that people who visit their restaurant are expecting.
In the unlikely event that you experience any significant issues, you know that the chain’s customer support team will promptly and pleasantly help you. This trust and confidence in the restaurant, in turn, keep it on your itineraries for future road trips.
Your employees are the face of your brand, and they can have a significant impact on your reputation. The better your employees know your brand, the more confidently—and effectively—they will be able to convey value when recommending your products or services.
4 Create a brand consistency task force
Selecting one or more team members from different departments to oversee style guideline adherence can also help promote brand consistency. A diversity of expertises coming together to achieve the same goal is invaluable. These team members will be kept up to date on the brand style guide and meet regularly to ensure branding is clear or make adjustments if needed. The team will also be able to train other employees in externally facing roles, such as discussing your brand with a community group, and offer extra support as necessary to ensure everyone is on the same page at all times.
5 Perform regular communication audits
Though it may sound counterintuitive, adaptability is key to successfully maintaining consistency. Both technology and customer preferences are likely to evolve over time or shift quite suddenly. The brand consistency task force that regularly reassesses your strategy and channels and stays abreast of new trends will ensure your message consistently reaches your target audience as intended. The task force can provide insight on any current adjustments or clarifications that need to be made if consistency is ever disrupted.
The task force can also take part in regular audits to ensure that your communications on all channels stay on-brand by allowing you to identify areas of improvement quickly—before they become pervasive issues.
6 Foster cross-channel integration
Delivering a consistent multichannel experience also means allowing for seamless transitions from one platform to the next. This is where cross-channel communication comes into play. A customer may start by communicating with you on social media and then transition to email or chat. You want to guarantee that they receive the same message across all of those platforms to prevent confusion and make sure they have a good experience.
You can also use cross-channel communication to support lead generation. A teaser video on Instagram including a link to Twitter or an embedded video on your website will make all of your platforms feel that much more cohesive—and make your message that much more effective.
Internally, you must account for your customers’ multichannel experience in your analytics. Be sure your marketing team can gather and assess feedback from every channel, including how your customers move from one to the next. This will offer more accurate insight into the customer journey and allow you to identify any problem areas along the way.
7 Tailor your brand voice to individual channels
Although your brand personality and identity should be consistent across all channels, this does not necessarily mean that the specific ways in which you project that identity will be the same for every channel. Instead, the best strategy will use each platform’s strengths and emphasize different aspects for optimal efficacy.
To determine what approach will work best for any given channel, ask the following questions:
1 Is this channel primarily focused on text, visual, or audio messaging?
- For example, a blog is a text-heavy medium—although it can and should include multimedia content—whereas YouTube is video-based.
- When analyzing engagement metrics, pinpoint which methods have been the most successful on each channel.
2 What are the restrictions regarding message length (for text, audio, and video)?
- For example, Facebook allows over 63,000 text characters per post, making it an optimal channel for long-form content. (However, long-form content should include a visual to keep readers engaged.)
- You can find text length and file size restrictions in the draft form with a simple Google search. If your content is too long, it will be rejected and you will have to resize it.
3 What audience segment(s) will most likely interact with my brand on this channel?
- For example, Instagram is most popular among users aged 18–29, whereas LinkedIn’s main audience consists of adults aged 30 and up.
- Consider who your existing customers are and ask them for feedback. Effective communication requires effective listening, too. Interactive polls and surveys with your brand image are a great way to get as much feedback as possible.
4 How does your audience primarily use this channel?
- How your audience uses a particular channel should affect the tone your brand uses on it. LinkedIn, for instance, warrants a more professional tone, as the people who access it are there for work purposes. TikTok and Twitter are ideal for lighter, more fun content, as the audience is generally there for entertainment.
- Similarly, emails written to customers who contact you for help will require an empathetic tone. A marketing email promoting a 50%-off sale, on the other hand, will have a more upbeat, snappy tone.
- Track trending content across your team’s channels.
- Monitor engagement metrics to identify messaging and tones that resonate with your audience on these channels.
One final consideration to keep in mind is that 85% of Americans own smartphones, and at least 15% use only these devices to access the internet. As such, it’s imperative to ensure all of your channels are mobile-friendly—including blogs, websites, and email.
A tool to help your brand maintain consistency
While editing written communication is important for maintaining quality and consistency in your messaging, it can also be time-consuming. The right technology, however, can help streamline this process significantly.
Grammarly Business is a digital communication assistant that is ideally suited to helping organizations like yours maintain brand consistency across multiple channels. Grammarly goes far beyond checking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Its business style guide feature allows your company to keep several internal style guides that help different teams align their communications to your brand, no matter their audiences and materials. This includes unique branded terms and culture-specific language. You can also use brand tones to set preferences around which tones (such as “cheerful” or “formal”) are on brand and which are not on brand. Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant helps teams quickly and accurately analyze written communications for fluency, clarity, engagement, and more.
Grammarly is simple to use and access and can integrate with several platforms, making it easy for your team to consistently keep communications aligned with your brand identity at all times—and across all channels.