Consumers buy from brands. They may engage with your company and make purchases through various channels, i.e. Pinterest, a mobile app and your website, but they’re not coming to you because you’re a multi-channel retailer; other retailers are too. They come to you because you are offering a product they want or need.
While you may have great products and prices, if you don’t have consistent brand messaging, across your online channels and brick-and-mortar stores, you’ll have confused customers, low customer satisfaction and decreased revenue.
What is brand compliance?
Brand compliance is ensuring that you have complete control over your corporate brand across every level of your organization, including every retail store and employee, and across each online channel (blogs, Facebook, Instagram, etc…). Having complete brand compliance enhances your company’s brand and image.
According to branding experts, a company’s brand equals 35-40% of its market revenue. And a recent survey found that three-fifths of chief executives believe their company’s brand and its reputation represent more than 40% of their company’s market capitalization. Not only does brand compliance and reputation lead to increased profits, but it also affects your retention of employees. Eighty percent of employees between 18 and 30 years old said they’d leave a company if they thought its brand was weak.
When you don’t enforce or consistently encourage brand compliance across your stores, it hurts your employees and your overall company’s reputation and growth. More importantly though, it negatively impacts your customers, creating an unwanted gap between how customers perceive your brand and how you want your brand perceived. Consumers trust things they know, and when your graphics don’t clearly communicate the same message to every customer, they don’t know what to expect with your brand, so you’ll never gain their trust or their business.
Using Graphics to Ensure Brand Compliance
You have to be consistent in how you visually represent your brand. A consistent portrayal teaches all customers to expect a specific look, feel and experience from your brand.
Keeping a brand consistent across national locations is no simple feat. But there are a few ways to ensure your stores represent your brand as intended.
1. Be consistent with the use of your brand logo.
The consistent use of your brand logo is perhaps the single most important element to ensuring brand compliance with retail graphics. Your logo is your company’s identity; it’s a common element in your graphics that visually connects every store no matter its location. Logo consistency is key to maintaining a clean, constant brand. Of course your logo doesn’t need to go on every retail graphic, but when it is used, express the importance of stores not stretching, squeezing or otherwise modifying the logo to try and fit a certain graphic. Logos aren’t made to be modified; they’re made to give a solid presence and build up strong recognition of your brand.
2. Be uniform with verbiage and font types.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but words are just as important as imaging in your graphics. One store can’t express a promotion differently than another store or think they can print their own store slogan that differs from the company slogan. A customer could walk into one store, and then visit family in another town and walk into the same store but think they’re in someone else’s store because verbiage isn’t uniform. The same with font types. Don’t allow each store to pick their own. Limit the number of fonts your stores can use so graphics look the same at every location.
3. Use the same color palette.
Many consumers know a brand based on color alone. If you see red and yellow together, you think of McDonald’s, or if you see a brown truck, you know it’s a UPS truck. These well-known brands understand the importance of color to a brand, and you should too. Choose either a company color or a company color palette, and then have each store use these colors as the dominant color scheme with every retail graphic produced.
Also, make sure you regularly monitor and check in with each store every so often to ensure every location is staying compliant.
The difference between a good brand and a great brand is consistency—be a great brand.