Curated content without consistency doesn’t make a brand for all time

If content is king, then consistency is the ruthless queen.

Excellent communication in advertising and marketing requires a strict discipline to the rules of style. The public doesn’t take kindly to grammar and spelling mistakes or random, disconnected visual elements. Such errors can instantly lessen the value of a brand or product and risks driving the audience away, never to return.

A brand only succeeds if its style is consistently applied across all ads, websites and social media. So how do you establish consistency? Here are a few factors to consider as you’re making choices about your brand’s identity.

Start by using styles already available
There are already established editorial style guides that many content creators follow to deliver consistent, high quality messaging. Guides like The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook are largely used by news media, but they are also among the best examples of organization for rules and policies related to editorial standards. Since media advertising plays a prominent role in branding, it’s worth referencing one of these media industry popular style guides as groundwork for your internal and external communication rules.

What terminology makes up your brand?
You can only create standards if everyone is on the same page about your brand- and industry-specific terms and phrases. The Chicago and AP books include standards for how to display numbers (using numerals vs. words), how to address cities and states, and other proper and common terminology. Start here, then decide what rules need to be applied to your brand. Once you’ve established your in-house editorial rules for advertising and marketing, commit to them.

A brand to remember
Consistency shouldn’t be limited to advertising alone. The brand of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has sustained for more than a century—thanks to several design aesthetics that have been consistently applied in its television, audio, print, outdoor, social media and opinion leadership. According to Small Business Trends, the brand’s logo has used the Spencerian script font, clear white text, and bright red background with great success since 1885. Use fonts, colors and graphics to create a logo and brand that work across all platforms and can also stand the test of time.
According to Pew Research in November 2016, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone—nearly 250 million people who are waiting to see a company’s brand on responsive websites, apps and social media. HireRabbit notes that brand consistency across the web can inspire name recall, deliver strong messaging from one platform to another and eliminate confusion with your competition. Whether your brand is part of a tweet marking a special occasion or pops up in an ad after you win a round of Angry Birds, your consistent brand can stay with users even when they put away their iPhones.