How are some brands able to achieve such instant recognition? Brand recognition comes down to one super simple concept – Consistency! In this article Brand Stylist, Meg Harrop walks through four tips for keeping consistent with your brand message and visuals, and why this one concept can help your business to grow.
We’ve all seen those accounts on Instagram that seem to sky-rocket almost overnight. This isn’t a blog post just about Instagram and going viral, I promise, but it illustrates my point really well if we focus on it just for a second.
You’ll usually find that a lot of the huge Instagram accounts are very niche and focused on one thing. Travel bloggers are a really good example, many tend to gain huge followings quite quickly because of one main thing. Yes, they’re posting beautiful pictures of often exotic places…but most importantly they’re usually very, VERY consistent.
Consistent in what they’re posting, how frequently they’re posting, and what their images feel like. You’ll scroll through their accounts and each image is of the same theme. There is a consistent colour story and mood. Perhaps there are even consistent angles their pictures are taken from, where you can almost imagine yourself inside the picture of this place they’re painting for you.
This consistency is the key to both growing a following and growing a business.
One of my favourite travel accounts to follow is Find us Lost so take a quick look at them if you haven’t come across any travel accounts on Instagram before.
Even when your brand or business sits in a completely different niche and industry, there are always things you can learn from others. Always think “how can I be inspired by this, what can I learn from it?” (Side note; please don’t go crazy and copy all the things from all the places – you really do need to be careful about being inspired over copying.)
Being super consistent is a concept you can apply across your whole business.
By representing your brand consistently over time it:
Social media is an amazing and FREE way to get right in front of your customers weekly and daily. Never mind moaning about the algorithm and finding the right hashtags, I bet you already have a following and quality is more important than quantity. Nurture the people who already follow you, how can you provide more for them?
Which posts do your followers respond best to? Know what does well and give people more of that. Share behind-the-scenes on a consistent day each week. Share the best seller from your shop each week. Share a personal post each weekend so people get to know you a little better.
Share your morning routine on Instagram Stories if you dare to show up daily. It might feel daring at first if you’re not used to it, but it really allows people to get to know you and relate to you by sharing something so simple.
There’s a brand that I’ve bought clothes from a couple of times now called Lucy & Yak. Their business feels professional, but fun and personable at the same time. When you buy an item you get a gorgeously branded email with your order confirmation, and then another branded email when your order has been dispatched (visual branding consistency!). Your items arrive in a hand-made bag along with a bit of nicely designed information about the material the clothes were made with and the history of the brand (brand story, message, and visual branding consistency!).
What really wowed me though was the personalised email I got from one of the founders personal email addresses each time I ordered. The first time it said “Thank you so much for buying your first Lucy & Yaks! I hope you love our designs as much as we do!” and the next time, “So happy to see you back!! Thank you so much, it makes us smile to know you love Lucy & Yak as much as we do.”.
I don’t think for one second they were personally written each time, but it doesn’t matter. You can use automation software to log how many online orders come through each email address and send cute personalised emails to really build trust and rapport with your customers.
In the same vein hand-written notes are a beautiful touch, but if you have a high volume of products going out of the door, think about ways you can automate these personal touches to stay consistently personable for each and every customer.
One of the best investments you can make for your business is in professional product and lifestyle photography. Brilliant photography can elevate your brand in so many ways and I would go as far as to say invest in this first before your logo and brand design if you need to choose one or the other. When the time is right, your logo and brand design can feed off your photography and be crafted in harmony with it so that all your visuals work together beautifully.
As Sam Burgess would say “Think magazine, not catalogue”, and Libby Ballard Ceramics does a brilliant job of illustrating this point with her product photography. Libby has her images taken by a photographer friend and they tell beautiful visual stories. There’s often a hand peeking into the frame and movement with her products being used so that customers can imagine themselves using them.
Also, think about having professional photos of YOU taken. Believe me, your customer wants to see you and know you.
Try to choose a photographer that is experienced with brand photography – they will be able to help you craft a photoshoot that feels true to your brand.
Having all the information about your brand together in one notebook or computer document can do wonders for helping you stay consistent. You should have your colour palette and font system listed in there if you have those standardised but also make notes on your brand vision, values, and voice as well as the visual side.
You can never be too consistent, so revisit your brand guide often, let it be your bible! Your vision and values may shift from time to time as you get further into your business journey so this should absolutely be a living document.
If you’re putting your brand guide together in digital form consider using Notion which lets you have multiple pages, links, images, text and much more together all in one place, hosted online. There are so many ways to use it and it can be accessed from most devices.
I use Notion as the base for my whole business, I keep track of everything from my to-do lists, to my calendar, to my brand guide. I highly recommend checking it out! It’s brilliant if you work with others or have employees as you can have multiple logins and make some pages visible and some private.
I hope this has helped you to see the benefit of being more consistent with your brand and given you a starting point to for taking action! I’d love to hear your thoughts so head over to Instagram and let me know how you’re getting on!
If you would like help with branding or rebranding your business you can find details of my brand design package over at lemonandbirch.com/services
Meg is a brand stylist and designer for small businesses. She’s passionate about helping people build their business dreams into a reality with intentional, thoughtfully crafted brand identities.
After working on branding with corporate clients, Meg longed for a more fulfilling way of life. She set up her design studio, Lemon & Birch, in 2016 to bring her branding design skills to the small business community.