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Monday, 16 January 2012

The Other Kind of Branding Consistency

There is a fair bit of information available on the importance of making sure all of your marketing materials carry the same look/feel and message but there is a missing element to this concept that isn't as widely discussed. Does the impression that your logo, website, and brochure present, carry through to the rest of the sales process? This is especially important if your customers need to visit your brick and mortar location to complete any part of the sales cycle. Does the look of your reception area match the picture your client has in his head? Does the receptionist greet him with the same personality that he would expect? Are your sales or technical people giving off the same vibe as your brochure?

I remember a manufacturer's rep that would visit me and other sales staff regularly (I wasn't always working full time as a designer). He wore a Hawaiian shirt, had a fun and casual demeanour and was more laid back than any of the other reps that would come in to promote their latest wares. That was enough to keep him likeable and memorable but his business card, literature and email signature were just like him... fun colours, loose design and very casually fun. He presented a complete marketing package. To this day, I remember him better and with more fondness than any of the others.

Conversely, I remember walking into the office of a well established advertising agency. I had to walk through an unnerving labyrinth of narrow corridors (made from those portable cubicle dividers) to end up in a reception area that hadn't been redecorated since Gunsmoke was still a pilot. When I asked for a prospectus, a very sad looking receptionist handed me a stapled booklet of about 50 black and white photocopied pages that read like microwave oven instructions. For the purposes of this article, I guess I have to give them a high mark for consistency... consistently bad, but I wonder what my final impression would have been if the had real snazzy printed materials. I think in addition to being unimpressed with my physical experience, I probably would have been just plain confused as to which represented the company accurately.

Don't confuse your prospects. If you have a brochure that is bright and flashy and fun, make sure your day to day activities within your office are bright and fun as well... from the walls to the water cooler conversation. This last piece of the marketing puzzle will leave your prospect with a complete and clear impression of who your company is... and they will be far more likely to return.

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