Your company’s brand is the hallmark of its public identity. It’s how consumers identify your business and share in your story and values. Brand consistency preserves customer trust and loyalty when product lines and circumstances change. It is the foundation of your relationship with your customers. Still, it can be challenging to remain true to your brand during periods of rapid growth and innovation. Stray too far from what customers know, and their loyalty can begin to fracture. How can a company pursue innovation without sacrificing its existing market share?
Vision and values
An established brand has a history, and brand consistency is an investment in preserving that history and the consumer loyalty that comes with it. When a business makes changes, its corresponding brand must adapt to match its evolving goals and maintain a connection with its customer base.
Brands are founded on company values, but values — like goals — are subject to change over time. When making marketing choices to match a growth strategy, decide which values to uphold and discard those your business has outgrown. Look to create more alignment with changing market preferences and consumer values. Does your target market value sustainability more than it did before? Are you looking to add a younger demographic to your market share? How do growth goals mesh with your existing company mission? These questions are essential to a successful brand evolution.
Even more than values, the images used to define a brand are frequently its most recognizable feature. Think of golden arches or the silhouette of an apple with a single bite missing. Most consumers will recognize the brands to which these simple image descriptions refer, and McDonalds and Apple count on that easy familiarity. But that doesn’t mean their brand images are static. Dynamic changes — in alignment with efforts to innovate or expand market share — capitalize on consumer familiarity even as the business and its brand embrace growth.
Land O’Lakes is one recent example of a brand change in alignment with evolving company and consumer values. The company redesigned its logo to preserve elements of the original — the same font and colors — while highlighting its long history of farmer ownership, thus maintaining brand recognition even as it updated what many consumers deemed an outdated image.
Communication, commitment, and consistency
Once you’ve determined how to both preserve and update the substance and style of your company’s brand, revise the company style guide to reflect the values and goals driving your growth strategy. A style guide is a “brand bible” for stakeholders. It communicates the details of color schemes, fonts, image parameters, and message guidelines for creating marketing materials. A style guide is a reference book, vision statement, consistency contract, and communication vehicle for every element of a company’s brand.
Beyond the style guide, establish updated values and brand details internally with clear communication and continuous reinforcement. Growth and brand changes are a natural part of doing business, but keeping everyone and everything on the same page is crucial to communicating a consistent message in your company’s marketing efforts.
And consistency is key. It’s a commitment to preserving the trust your customers have in your brand as you grow. Be transparent about brand changes and the reasons for them, and reassure consumers that changes are designed to enhance your product’s value and contribute to their positive customer experience.
When your business grows, it’s important to remain connected to your brand. An established brand is a powerful thing. It communicates company values to consumers, drives recognition, and symbolizes your ongoing relationship with your loyal customer base. Successful growth and change rely on preserving some measure of connection to the brand your customers know and value.
Look for ways to maintain a clear link to the past, even as you look to the future.