If there’s one thing that we’ve learned over the past few years – we can all agree that the unplannable is probably inevitable and might just be around the corner. Despite all the expert thinking and measures that we put into place about what we’re going to do for our brands and how we’re going to take things forward – nothing is off the table – Enter the Pandemic.
It went from business as usual to disruption (not the good kind) and interference across the value chain, overnight.
Advertising budgets were halted
One of the staple components of our media strategies was ‘always on’ digital advertising campaigns that allowed us to communicate to our customers- whenever and wherever. This came to an abrupt stop at the beginning of the pandemic.
We had to change partners and onboard new ones
When the adspend started trickling down again, in the interest of reallocating budgets and resources for maximum benefit, we were compelled to get creative with how money was spent. We had to pivot from our established partners and in some cases work with new partners (like Amazon) to satisfy this ‘new normal’.
Brands were unable to host consumers in real life
Brands used to rely on real-world retail environments to curate and lead the consumer experience of the brand. For example, Pre-pandemic someone would head to the Apple store to try out the new iPad. Now that the Apple store is closed. Brands had to find a way to carry the experience forward.
One of the common struggles is how to convey, control and lead a brand across the value chain. This is only exacerbated by the fact that we are on overdrive to solve for these new parameters brought about by the pandemic.
The need to ensure that our brand is presented correctly and effectively is becoming more and more challenging and more and more important if we are to stay ahead of the curve. This is where brand consistency really shows its worth.
Consistency cements your brand further in people’s minds so you are memorable even when you are unexpectedly offline
If your brand standards are strong and robust they can carry you through advertising silence. The pandemic has brought to the surface the need for stronger and more cohesive brand consistency across the board so it can withstand anything that’s thrown at it.
Consistency allows your partners to take the ball and better represent you in your absence
Assuming that you need to onboard new partners quickly and efficiently, a clear and consistent brand directive reduces all friction to act on your behalf. It reduces time and the red tape associated with induction, approvals and management. This is important as partners may need to be added to the mix quickly, for more efficiency or to represent you in the last mile. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to perform.
Consistency inspires trust on platforms where not all our senses can be engaged – where returns are costly and poor reviews are deadly.
Brand consistency bridges the gap of not being able to be there in real life. A consumer can easily get a sense of how trustworthy a brand is through its cohesiveness and how well represented it is across all platforms where it is present. If you can’t see and feel your way to your new product then a brand can help bridge that gap. The goodwill and trust that you have garnered along the way coupled with how consistently it is represented everywhere online can make all the difference.
In summary, brand consistency is a foundational and essential component that can be influenced to achieve a level of security from the unknown that we are now fairly confident can become a reality. Our landscape is a digital world where decisions are made on the spot and every incremental factor matters. If our focus is to develop a set of robust, clearly transferable and contextual brand standards that stand their ground, across all digital platforms, all kinds of creative assets, online or offline – we are in a stronger position to withstand whatever conditions the climate brings.