The Ultimate Brand Consistency Checklist: Unleash Your Brand's Full Potential
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it thousand times—CONSISTENCY IS KING.
Inconsistency is one of the most common ways companies damage their brand, especially within the first few years of a new business. When it comes to establishing your brand, our brand consultants will tell you there’s no faster way to dismantle progress than inconsistent execution.
But what exactly does it mean when we say consistency is king? Sure, sticking with your brand colors and fonts is important, but true brand consistency goes deeper than just the visuals. Staying consistent is a multi-dimensional branding effort. It should be a thought line that connects every aspect of your business, from what you see in your digital marketing and advertising to the operations and organization behind it all.
Still need some guidelines to maintain brand consistency? Check out the Brand Consistency Checklist from Quill Creative Studio below.
Brand Consistency Checklist
1. Get your brand guidelines down pat
If you’ve gone through any formal branding process or rebrand project, you’ve likely got a Brand Guide. Within the pages of a brand guide, sometimes referred to as a brand style guide, you should find a full breakdown of the fundamentals of your visual brand identity, like fonts, colors, and logo, as well as brand strategy components like mission and message for both external platforms and internal culture.
Unfortunately, many brand guides stop short, giving businesses only surface-level components of their brand, which leaves big margins for error when it comes to staying consistent.
That’s why at Quill Creative Studio, we took the brand guide experience and cranked it up to eleven. We want our clients to leave the initial branding process with every single tool they need to successfully execute consistent branding, so our brand guides go beyond the minimum brand identity components. When you get a brand guide from Quill, you won’t just see a crisp logo and the perfect colors and fonts (although you will see those things); you’ll get the full framework of your unique brand positioning, brand strategy, and core message. Plus, you’ll see a full showcase of applicable examples and mock-ups of how your brand elements can be used in the real world, which brand elements work best in certain mediums, and a comprehensive walkthrough of each element and how they work together to create the full brand experience.
Part of staying consistent is getting your brand guidelines down to a science, so don’t settle for anything less than a brand guide that lays it all out for you. Once you have that guide, you have the roadmap to brand success!
2. Get everyone on the same page
Now that we’ve hooked you on the brand guide gospel, it’s time to spread the word! Everyone on your team should have at least a cursory understanding of your brand strategy, no matter how big or small your business is. No, not every single employee needs to get clued in on the ins and outs of the brand guide, but at the very least, the people who work for your company should understand the story and purpose of your brand and, ideally, be bought into it themselves. After all, who better to represent your company than someone who actually believes in its mission?
Besides bringing your current team up to speed on brand messaging and vision, keep brand consistency in mind when hiring internal employees and external partners. Choose people during the hiring process who already understand your brand and are already invested in what you’re doing. If you’ve got a strong, consistent brand, it’s likely you’re already attracting the right kinds of potential employees.
3. Create a central library of elements & reusable templates
Unless you’re a one-man band, at least a handful of other people will be working behind the scenes with you on your marketing strategy, helping with things like social media, website, brochures, advertising, other digital products, and more. This means that you need to take an organized approach to keep all those materials consistent.
Your first step should be to create a central place where all your brand and visual elements, templates, and collateral are stored so that anyone working on new pieces knows exactly where to start. Don’t discount the power of templates, either. A systematic approach to layout for different pieces of collateral can save you and your team time and stress when approaching a new project. Plus, maintaining a consistent layout structure is a powerful way to communicate the feeling of your brand to your customers across various channels.
When you finish the initial branding process with Quill Creative Studio, you’ll have a full library of visual elements and branded templates going forward. If you need help staying consistent, the brand experts at Quill are just a phone call or email away to help you get comfortable. We can double-check assets and graphics for you the first few months after brand launch, and as you continue to grow with your brand, we can help with ongoing brand management, creating new elements or templates for you as needed.
4. Stay organized and establish a process
So now that you have the central library with all your brand elements, the challenge is to stay organized! The more people on the team, the more organized you need to be. Establishing a process for updating assets and reviewing new collateral across marketing channels is a must.
When new brand elements are created, or old ones are adjusted, make sure these files are updated in your central library so everyone who needs to has access. As new projects are created, have a clear review and approval process. Getting one or two more sets of eyes on a piece of collateral before it goes out is a good way to ensure brand guidelines are followed and no errors slip through.
5. Stay true to your voice
While things like color palettes and fonts are easy to keep consistent, staying true to your brand voice can sometimes feel more challenging. This is why going through the full brand building process is so important. When you brand your business with Quill, you won’t just get a visual identity; you’ll get deep down into what makes your company unique and come out with a voice and message that is truly yours.
Once your brand voice is established, it’s just a matter of staying on course. Keep all messaging cohesive with consistent verbiage based on the key differentiators established in the initial branding process. Your main messaging should leverage your unique selling properties to gain differentiated brand recognition and build trust and loyalty within your customer base.
Don’t get lost in a mix of saying whatever comes to mind. Whatever it is you’re saying, say it with your brand voice. When in doubt, lean into those key differentiators and keep it simple.
6. Don’t get in the way of yourself
This one is deceptively simple—don’t let your personal preferences influence your brand. It sounds easy enough, but it’s not always as easy as we think to check our egos at the door, especially in a small business setting when the owner might be a key player in branding decisions.
If you find yourself struggling to keep your own voice and your brand’s voice separate, working with a top branding agency like Quill can help. Quill will set up a structure around your brand so you won’t ever feel the need to bring in personal preference. We want to set you up with a foolproof guide and easily accessible elements so there’s never a question about your brand’s visuals and messaging.
7. Take time to review
Staying consistent should never feel like being stagnant. It’s important to work with your branding agency to do a brand audit once or twice a year. When we do audits with companies at Quill, we put everything out on the table—all past sales and marketing collateral, brand elements, messaging, platforms, and systems—and do a full review to see if we can identify any areas of branding inconsistency.
Doing this kind of regular audit will help with brand consistency and uncover areas of stagnancy that may need a refresh.
Do you need help keeping your branding consistent?
Here are the cliffs notes:
- Get a comprehensive brand guide, and don’t deviate from what’s inside it
- Get everyone within the company on board with your brand
- Use a central hub where all brand elements live
- Use templates for a consistent look and feel
- Keep brand elements organized and current
- Establish a process for review and approval of collateral
- Stay true to your brand voice
- Don’t let personal preferences override your brand guidelines
- Spend time auditing your brand once or twice each year to check if everything is staying consistent and identify if there are any areas that need a refresh
Whether you’re a completely new business or a company with an established brand, our team of branding experts can set you up for brand consistency success.
If you’re still struggling to keep your brand consistent, let’s chat! Our brand consultants are here to help!