Do brands have to compromise creativity for consistency?
Many brands fall into the trap of deviating from their core brand promise, believing that to be relevant, they need to continuously be ‘creative’ and change the brand assets that they go to market with. Not only is this an investment in time and money, it’s a sure-fire way to damage any kind of consistency in your brand narrative and hence how the market and your stakeholders are able to understand who you are and what you offer.
Creativity doesn’t have to be new or about breaking boundaries. In a business and branding context, it’s really about finding smart and engaging solutions that help you to solve problems and allow you to connect with your stakeholders in a relevant and meaningful way.
Creativity starts with setting the right vision and core purpose for the brand. Your communications need to consistently deliver against that brand purpose and build on this compelling idea.
There needs to be certain brand assets that are consistent across all communications. Colour palette, fonts, brand graphics, tone of voice and personality. These allow the audience to subliminally connect with the brand, without necessarily seeing the name or logo. That’s the end goal, where you can move from awareness and recognition to creating connection, when your logo is no longer required for your audience to know it’s your brand, or when your logo can stand alone and hold meaning and affinity.
If you see the white ribbon graphic on a red background, you automatically associate it to Coca Cola. Whether you see it in Times Square or in an alleyway of Mumbai. Brand consistency is the steady and unrelenting uniformity of your story, visually, verbally or through experiences.
In today’s world the variety of touch points can be overwhelming. With many agencies and people now delivering projects and initiatives that are an extension of your brand, it is becoming increasingly more challenging to create a coherent narrative for your brand. The first challenge is how the brand is translated in a way that is relevant for the touch point but remains meaningful to the brands purpose.
Design systems, for your online and offline brand touch points, are there to create a framework and a set of tools, that allows people to change elements such as the message or change an image and still maintain brand consistency.
Ease of rollout for internal teams, non-design colleagues and various other partners is important. A good design system isn’t open to interpretation, yet still allows brand expression.
We provide our clients with the design systems and toolkits, such as brand guidelines, templates and brand audit systems to be able to implement and manage their brands consistently. They also allow for easy dissemination throughout an organisation, creating alignment and consistency.
Three years ago, we helped the DED Dubai launch Dubai Economy across 4 government agencies. Today the brand has maintained its consistency, allowing Dubai Economy to consolidate its efforts and budgets behind one brand, whilst launching new products, services and initiatives.
A consistent brand doesn’t mean you’re going to be less creative, rigid or be limited in how you communicate or engage. It means that you are confident in who you are and what you offer. Consistency builds trust and nurtures relationships. That is where the real value is. That is how brands help to grow business.