From the time we wake up in the morning until we go to bed, we make thousands of decisions. A select few require dedicated conscious thought. However, most of what we do is driven by consistency. We buy gas at the same few service stations, go to the same grocery stores filling up our cart with the same products, renew the same auto insurance policy, and go to the same hair stylist for the same haircut. If you want evidence of consistency in human behavior, just do a comparison of your monthly credit card statements.
Consistency is what allows us to function in an overwhelmingly complex world. Inconsistencies are unsettling. We rationalize our thoughts to avoid cognitive dissonance, the mental stress and tension of holding inconsistent beliefs at the same time. We distrust others who lack consistency. The dreaded label of a “flip-flopper” is synonymous with weakness and a lack of character and conviction. Those who express consistent views, even if we don’t agree with them, are deemed trustworthy, stable, and decisive.
What makes consistency such a desirable human trait? By doing things the same way, maintaining the same ideas about things, buying the same products and services from the same companies allows us to cope with life. Businesses deal with customers who, for better or worse, come pre-packaged with all of our evolutionary traits, including our psychological drive for consistency. As a result, consistency is particularly important, especially for companies in their branding.
To achieve branding consistency in today’s complex market is a challenge. The halcyon days of placing an ad in the Yellow pages and waiting for the phone to ring is the marketing strategy of a bygone era. To be sure, the Internet has not eliminated traditional advertising. Traditional print ads and other non-digital advertising channels still have a place. But it would be a dramatic miscalculation to treat today’s marketing with the marketing strategies of five years ago let alone twenty-five years ago.
In today’s business environment, businesses must have a comprehensive branding strategy that projects their desired image across all marketing channels, both online and traditional. For successful branding, consistency is the key. The successful company brand is a persuasive, simple message that a company sticks to, delivers and redelivers. The brand message is the perception of your business to the customer – what you want a customer think of and associate with when thinking of your business. This is the message the customer expects, indeed, wants. It sounds boring, but this complements our human trait of seeking out consistency. It’s why Hollywood keeps producing sequels when they find a winning formula. And it’s why the longest lasting brands have stood the test of time.