Contributed By Renindia Karyandi
After my years of professional practice, I have found it common for most clients to ask for a new logo when they call on any brand consultant. But as you probably know, the logo is simply the tip of the iceberg. Remember that you cannot let a logo speak by itself, but it has to be part of an overall brand building strategy that, when well-executed, takes the brand into the right business positioning, thus establishing meaning, attraction, and loyalty.
So it is clear that the ultimate goal of a brand building process is to win the share of mind from your targeted customers. Once you have done that, you have achieved what is called ‘brand recognition.’ This means that your audiences now know the brand well enough to define what your brand may say, its personalities, etc.
Of course, let us not forget that brands must reinforce the tangible experiences through its various product offerings, services, environments, communications down to the behaviour of each front liner. Consistency at various effective touch points is key if any brand wants the audiences to recognise it. Recognition works in a way that creates placement in any person’s pattern of thought, and may work positively for one brand or negatively for another. Once your audience has clamped on to a positive recognition, you want to do everything to maintain it. Recognition will then affect a person’s buying behaviour thus pushing sales harder than any marketing or advertising plan in the long run as it is more emotional and personal.
At this point, we have come into understanding of why thorough consistency will establish greater recognition by your audience, building a clear area for them to choose out of your competitors. In its relation to the design process, when you think about consistency, you’re thinking about the product. When you’re thinking about current knowledge, you’re also thinking about the target audience. They are basically two sides of the same coin. So designers who spend more time thinking about building relevance to the targeted audience are the ones that end up with more usable designs. Consistency in design is about making elements uniform — having them look and behave the same way thus recognisable. The challenge is then looking for a way to leverage the usability by creating uniformity.
For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi have always been similar in their “fun and young” personalities, the two companies have consistently stayed on separate paths over the decades. Overall, Pepsi has kept its high energy, music influenced strategy while Coca-Cola can be seen constantly gravitating towards the emotional side of branding. In terms of their visual communication to the targeted audience, the two brands are always keeping up their consistency with good design. Although from time to time, they do change the look and feel tailored to the theme of their promotional campaign.
There are some visual elements that are maintained to keep them consistent in terms of brand design implementation. For example, Coca-Cola has always used the colour red as the visualization of its brand personalities while, Pepsi is committed to the combination of blue and red, which portray the high energy of their personalities.
Consistency may be the last refuge for the unimaginative, but at the same time one must create an integrated, delightful experience, designed from the customer’s point of view. This will generate repeat branded interactions with the company thus increasing sales, and most importantly, communicate the meaning and believability that increases loyalty.
Renindia Karyandi is Creative Managing Director of SpaceSym. She started her career in a Southeast Asian-based brand consulting firm and has gained further experience working on both the client and agency side of the business.