Brand consistency and brand evolution are both important to an effective brand strategy. As an organization, you want to stay true to your values and purpose while still meeting the changing needs of customers and adapting to the evolving marketplace in which you operate. Here’s how to strike that balance between consistency and evolution when building your brand, no matter what industry you’re in or what kind of business you have.
Developing a brand strategy is key to maintaining brand consistency while allowing your brand to evolve. It ensures that you maintain your focus on what is most important to your customer base, while still being open-minded to potential new opportunities. A good way of doing so is by developing a set of guiding principles for your business; these principles act as a blueprint for how you will live out your company’s values in every interaction with clients.
In order to build a strong brand, you need to be able to maintain consistency with your brand. Creating a well-defined set of beliefs and a clear brand purpose will allow you to consistently communicate these things to your customers, employees and partners. When changes are made in response to customer feedback, it is important that they take into account what makes a brand unique. Make sure your customers know who you are as a company before making any drastic changes or additions to your brand. When branding your company, there is always some level of risk involved; it is up to you on how far you want to take that risk.
The important thing to keep in mind is that building your brand is not just about consistency; it’s also about evolution. As you grow and as your audience grows, your messaging must expand as well. Make sure you don’t lose touch with your original core values by expanding too much, too quickly. Be wary of diluting or changing your key differentiators in favor of other messages that may be more relevant at a certain time, but are not true to who you are. Over time, your brand evolves. As you continue to refine your business model, your mission may change or grow, your values will likely remain consistent, but everything else is fair game. The trick is to balance consistency with flexibility. Brand consistency is important when it comes to your values, purpose, brand personality, brand culture and commitments. But brands also evolve. As the marketplace changes and customer preferences change, brands change – not always drastically but enough to adapt to consumer needs, communication trends, etc.
Building your brand to evolve
Most of the time (although there are exceptions to this), the worst thing you can do when making changes to your brand is make it look like an entirely different brand. To avoid this unfortunate “makeover effect”, build your brand with adaptability in mind so it’s easy to evolve going forward by establishing a scalable foundation for your brand so that it can continue to grow. To do that, you need to create a well-organized brand platform and categorize your messaging to indicate core values and promise and current value propositions. Your value propositions may change and having a well defined ethos, culture and mission will allow you to keep your brand grounded foundation while allowing you to adapt messaging to reflect how your services, offering and even audience focus changes.
Reimagining your brand to make it change-ready
When it comes to brand evolution, you need to remember that your business is a living, breathing entity. You can’t sit back and expect your brand to grow on its own—in order for a brand to evolve, there has to be new investment in that growth. This includes a willingness to reinvent your company so that it’s change-ready. If you’ve never established a brand platform, start by creating one. Before you can change, you need to know what you are changing – that is, have a clear idea of your brand that is documented and organized.