Any marketing that is executed without brand alignment will harm the health of the business and weaken marketing ROI.
Brand Alignment ensures that all aspects of a brand are authentic, clarified and consistently represented. A well-aligned brand establishes trust amongst customers and leads to the ultimate business asset: brand loyalty. When alignment falters, confusion, missed opportunities, and a diluted brand experience can occur.
Understanding the following signs will help you proactively address brand identity issues and steer your brand back on track.
- Inconsistent Messaging:
Inconsistent messaging is a telltale sign that your brand may be out of alignment. When your brand fails to deliver a consistent and coherent message, it can lead to confusion among customers and undermine your brand’s credibility. Signs of inconsistent messaging include:
– Confusion among customers about what your brand represents and offers.
– Customers struggle to differentiate your brand from competitors.
– You have difficulty describing the purpose and vision of your company
To address inconsistent messaging, it’s crucial to refine and communicate a clear brand message, establish brand guidelines for consistent communication, and ensure all team members are aligned with the brand’s messaging strategy.
- Incohesive Brand Identity Across Touchpoints:
If your brand’s visual representation, such as colours, fonts, logo and brand assets varies from one platform to another, it will weaken brand recognition. Signs that indicate an incohesive brand identity across touchpoints include:
– Discrepancies between your physical and online presence.
– Inconsistent use of visual elements such as logos, colors, typography, and imagery.
To address this issue, it is crucial to ensure consistent brand identity by aligning visual elements, adhering to brand guidelines, and conducting regular audits to identify and rectify any inconsistencies.
- Disconnect with Target Audience:
A significant sign that your brand may be out of alignment is a disconnect with your target audience. When your brand fails to resonate with your intended customers, it can hinder your growth and hinder your ability to build meaningful relationships. Here are signs to look out for:
– The customers you attract are not the customers you wish to target
– You find your customers difficult because they are mismatched with your purpose.
To address this issue, it is essential to refine your brand positioning and messaging to align with your target audience’s preferences and aspirations. By reconnecting with your target audience, you can revitalize your brand and foster stronger customer relationships.
- Internal Misalignment:
Signs of internal misalignment within the team can have a significant impact on your brand’s consistency and effectiveness. It’s crucial to ensure that everyone in your organisation is on the same page when it comes to your brand identity, values, and messaging. Signs of internal misalignment include:
– Team members interpret and communicate your brand differently, leading to mixed messages and confusion.
– Lack of brand advocacy. Your team members aren’t actively promoting and living your brand values, resulting in a diluted brand experience.
– There is a disconnect between the brand promises made externally and the actual behaviors exhibited by team members internally.
– Your team lacks a comprehensive understanding of your brand’s purpose, mission, and target audience, hindering their ability to deliver consistent messaging.
Addressing internal misalignment requires clear communication, comprehensive brand training, and fostering a culture that values brand alignment. By aligning your internal team, you can create a unified front that consistently represents your brand to the world.
Brands That Understand the Power of Consistency:
Power brands as we know them, have claimed that position due to strategic and diligent brand alignment.
Our favorite examples of brands that do consistency well include Apple who has done the genius work in defining a brand culture around innovation. From the products to the people who work there, Apple employees are encouraged to think outside the box and develop new ideas.
Their slogan “Think Differently” strategically hits the bull’s eye of their target audience, the innovators. They leave no questions as to what they stand for and who they serve. There is also a notion around simplicity, from their Apple logo across all their branding and marketing there is a sense of simplicity and enjoyable customer experience – without the tech talk!
With their genius brand defined, their marketing is delivered with a consistent look and feel throughout the customer experience. Whether you see them on social media, their website, or through an advertising campaign, you know at a glance you are dealing with a power brand you can trust. Using specific typography, photography, and graphics, apple is easy to recognize and prompts us to recall a positive experience we had using their products. This is not done by accident, there is strategic brand work at play, see the brand identity prism below:
Example of inconsistent brand messaging:
McDonald’s “Arch Deluxe” Campaign (1996): In the mid-1990s, McDonald’s introduced the Arch Deluxe, a burger marketed towards adults. Their campaign positioned the Arch Deluxe as a more sophisticated, grown-up option, with advertisements showing children expressing disinterest or even disdain for the burger, emphasizing it wasn’t for them. This was a stark departure from McDonald’s universally family-friendly image. The inconsistency in messaging—simultaneously promoting a product as too mature for kids while being a brand historically centered around families—confused consumers. The Arch Deluxe was ultimately deemed a costly failure, and its marketing campaign is often cited as being out of touch with the brand’s core identity.
In conclusion, brand alignment plays a critical role in the success of your business. Shortcutting your marketing by skipping brand alignment will create a short circuit in your business’s potential in reaching its audience and achieving its purpose.
Recognising the signs of misalignment is the first step towards realigning your brand for consistency, resonance, and effectiveness. By addressing these issues head-on, you can regain clarity, establish a stronger brand presence, and create meaningful connections with your audience.
Remember, brand alignment is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment. Regularly assess your messaging, visual identity, and internal alignment to ensure that your brand remains consistent and aligned with your strategic vision, internally and externally.
By taking the necessary steps to align your brand, you can build trust, differentiate yourself from competitors, and cultivate lasting relationships with your customers. Stay committed to delivering a cohesive brand experience across all touchpoints and engage your team in embodying your brand values.
With a well-aligned brand, you can confidently navigate the market, inspire customer loyalty, and drive sustainable business growth. Start the journey of brand alignment today and unlock the full potential of your brand.