A clarion call for brand consistency

brand, branding, consistency, communications, digital channels, content, CEO, sales,


It’s all a bit samey

Yes, these are five little words that, generally, send a shudder down our spine. That’s why today’s mission is to tell you why these words should actually be magic to your ears. Or your brand, at least.

Last week I found myself sharing a speaker platform with Ciaran Fahy, CEO of Ellerman Hotels – The Ritz, London to you and I. I wanted to make a particular point – and in fact, pinched The Ritz as a perfect example (which Ciaran was extremely gracious about). I think it’s worth doing again, for anyone who wasn’t there. Here goes.

You’re taking your Mum to London for a treat and having afternoon tea and a night at The Ritz. (No, I can’t afford to either, let’s pretend)

Here are just some of the contact points you could experience during this transaction:

– The hotel website
– The online booking tool
– The guy you spoke to when you talked about special dietary requirements
– The atmosphere in the lobby
– The reception desk when you checked in
– The quality of your room
– The threadcount of your sheets
– The cleanliness of the bathroom
– The goodnight chocolate provision
– The concierge when you rang for more tea bags
– The waiter at afternoon tea
– The cake and sandwich selection
– The ambience in the dining room
– The reception desk when you checked out
– The helpfulness and attitude of staff around the building
– The porter who hailed you the cab

When you get home, people ask, ‘How was it? So, how was it?
Absolutely consistent.

Consistent is the Holy Grail in the hospitality industry. At a five star, Michelin endorsed establishment like the Ritz, it’s utterly vital, their stock trade. But what organisations outside hospitality often fail to identify is that consistency should be key for them too. All of those Ritz experiences are what make us feel something about their brand. And that applies, whether you make engine parts or big data analysis to the fast food industry – it isn’t merely how you appear, but how you make people feel that constitutes your brand.

Acknowledging this has been a complete awakening for some of the organisations I work with and has provided a fantastic driver to take them to new places. It’s fine having your digital team handle social media and the website; your (remote) sales team doing their thing out in the field; your marketing team running a brand reinforcing thought leadership programme and your CEO giving an industry keynote and airing his personal view. But if these don’t add up to the same thing – and implicitly reinforce your purpose – then you’re not only wasting valuable time, energy and money, but an opportunity to create a rich, robust brand that truly stands for something.

Advice? Start by getting someone to run a little audit – gather the things your company has said to the outside world across all of your channels in the past month. Or three months. Or year. And see if it all feels as though it adds up to a whole. You’ll spot the gaps. And the opportunities.

Want to talk about brand consistency programmes from the initial audit outwards?

Get in touch. We’re very friendly.

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