As I sit writing this post about brand consistency, I’m in my garden. We moved house just before lockdown and I’m really enjoying the surprise of what’s blooming each week.
At this time of day I’m out of the direct sunlight and there’s a soothing breeze. The sound of the trees and the birdsong is lovely but I’m distracted by the fact that some of the plants are looking scorched (some might say dead!). It’s probably not quite hanging together the way the former owner designed it.
I only have myself to blame. I didn’t get around to those finishing touches like filling the planters and I haven’t been watering the garden regularly since the sun came out. My last garden was more shaded and I’d been used to the rain taking care of that job for me (this is England after all…). I hadn’t spotted that I needed to intervene quickly enough.
As a marketing director and brand guardian, you learn quickly that you have to dip in and out of different areas of the marketing mix as needed. Brand consistency is all about making sure that the details add up and that the people across the organisation who make it work, have what they need to do so – it needs orchestrating. Asking a geranium to bloom beautifully without water is like asking a sales person to pitch a new product they haven’t been trained on.
Just like gardens, companies and the markets they operate in will change over time. If you’ve embedded a clear value proposition it will guide the way you shape that change – like a north star. Yet the change will still require some of the parts to move; the introduction of new product features or new ways to access your services for example. People who were involved when you first ‘launched’ your brand may have left – and with it the understanding of ‘why’. Corners start getting cut for good reasons without a continual reminder of the bigger picture. New ideas are implemented that don’t fit with the strategy because everyone forgot what you said two years ago when you planted it. And the brand begins to wilt.
Brand consistency is key to your value proposition staying alive and relevant. It’s about continuous re-planting and re-watering. And the marketing team has to be the constant gardener.
Jill Pringle is a marketing strategy consultant and a classically trained singer. Her business Brand Symphony Marketing provides consulting, workshops and training programmes for CEOs and their marketers in service-led businesses. Her book The Brand Symphony outlines her trademarked Orchestrate Method to developing a clear value proposition and orchestrated marketing strategy.