Nike is one of the most recognizable brands today. But Nike’s brand recognition isn't solely a result of their iconic "swoosh" logo or their catchy tagline "Just Do It.” It’s not even due to their powerful ads featuring popular sportspersons.

It’s because of their consistent portrayal of all such key brand elements. Whether it's on a billboard, a shoebox, or a digital ad, the swoosh, the tagline, and the elite athlete endorsements are always consistent and work together to create a cohesive brand identity.

The opposite is also true. Ignoring consistency in your branding elements can push success away from your brand and lead to several costly consequences. In this post, we are going to look into some of these consequences, understand the root causes behind brand inconsistencies, and finally suggest an effective solution so that you never have to worry about inconsistent branding again.

Drawbacks of brand inconsistency

Here are some of the costly consequences you might face because of inconsistent branding of your business:

Weak brand recall

Marketers know that irrespective of the channel they adopt, they only have a few seconds to capture their potential customer's attention. How the audience perceives the brand plays a significant role in their purchasing behavior. When you use inconsistent branding elements, you are bound to confuse your potential customers because it sends mixed signals about your values and products, leading to weak brand recall.

A classic example of this would be brands reworking their logos. For instance, think of the Pepsi logo; over the period, the brand has made multiple changes to its logo. Now, imagine a scenario where they use multiple logos simultaneously. How do you think consumers will react? There is no doubt that the audience will get confused and might consider the product with a logo they are not familiar with as a fake. Not following the brand guidelines will make it difficult for consumers to establish a clear and memorable image of this brand in a crowded marketplace and might lead to loss of revenue.

Perceived unreliability among customers

Consumers are spoiled for choices today. The same product is being sold by 10 other brands like you. So, how do you differentiate yourself? Simple! By building trust. In all likelihood, consumers will trust a brand that is well-organized and consistent.

For example, consumers always associate Starbucks with a reliable and high-quality coffee experience. Their consistent branding and designs contribute to this perceived reliability. As a customer, whether you walk into a Starbucks in New York or one in Mumbai, you will experience similar branding elements in the design of the store, the packaging, and the overall brand presentation.

Long story short, when you do not embrace brand consistency, you are automatically portraying that your brand is an unreliable one. Because inconsistency portrays that you have hardly spent any time and effort in creating a unified brand image.

Reduced marketing campaign effectiveness

A marketing campaign is effective and successful only when you establish an emotional connection with your target audience. Consistent branding helps in this regard as it reinforces the emotional aspects of your brand.

Inconsistent branding, on the other hand, disrupts this narrative, making it challenging for customers to connect with your brand on a deeper emotional level. This reduces the overall effectiveness of your campaigns and may lead to rebranding efforts or additional marketing campaigns to correct the narrative. This will add to your marketing costs.

4 Root cause of brand inconsistencies and how you can avoid it

Here are the main reasons why your brand faces inconsistencies, along with some useful tips to fix them:

❌Not having clear brand guidelines in place

Brand guidelines are a well-defined set of rules that outline how a brand should be represented across various channels. Make no mistake: most businesses have brand guidelines. In fact, they even keep it updated. The problem comes when it is not easily accessible to employees.

For instance, many brands rely on PDF guidelines even today. However, whenever an update is made to this original PDF, the changes are not reflected in the employees’ PDF version automatically. In all likelihood, the employees will still be using the older version, resulting in brand inconsistencies.

💡How to fix:

Make your brand guidelines easily accessible to all employees. Use a centralized and easily accessible digital repository for storing and accessing your recent brand guidelines. It could be stored in your company’s intranet or even in a cloud storage, which is accessible from anywhere.

❌Lack of processes

A lack of streamlined processes surrounding your digital assets is another core reason for inconsistent branding. When you do not have proper operating procedures for asset creation and management, your team will end up using any asset that is easily accessible and feels right to them.

Also, without proper processes, you will find your creative database to be in a chaotic state. It’s common to find folders filled with marketing creatives of confusing names and wrong categorizations.

This, in turn, can often lead to difficulty in locating the correct asset, leading to use of incorrect creatives, all of which, ultimately causes inconsistent branding.

💡How to fix:

Develop and document a comprehensive standard operation procedure for all asset creation and management aspects. Include project briefs, style guides, and step-by-step procedures in this SOP and make them easily accessible to all employees. Most importantly, regularly update these SOPs to ensure they align with the latest brand standards.

❌Siloed communication among teams

Most creative processes involve collaboration among diverse teams such as creative, brand, marketing, and external agencies. When your communication processes break down, stakeholders automatically lose visibility of campaigns and projects, which increases the risk of deviations from brand guidelines. Siloed communication can also hamper the feedback and approval processes, further increasing the chances of using incorrect digital assets that fail to meet brand specifications.

💡How to fix:

Build open communication channels among teams and encourage transparency. Utilize messaging platforms and organize regular cross-functional meetings to achieve this. Ensure that everyone knows where and how to share information related to brand assets and projects. Lastly, develop and document collaborative workflows that outline how different departments should work together on projects.

❌Obstructed access to digital media assets

Obstruction of access to digital assets often stems from the absence of a robust storage and retrieval system. A lack of a centralized repository makes it difficult for teams to locate and utilize brand assets effectively.

In other words, your team members will constantly struggle to access the latest versions of logos, brand guidelines, or other essential media when it is time to use them. And when they fail to locate these right media assets on time, they will automatically resort to using outdated materials, inadvertently introducing inconsistencies in branding efforts.

💡How to fix:

Build a centralized repository for all your digital media assets. This central hub should offer unobstructed access to all relevant team members and be structured in a way that facilitates quick retrieval of assets. If you are worried about unauthorized usage and modifications of assets, you can always implement robust access controls to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to specific digital media assets.

Now, what if there was a single solution to fix all these 4 root causes? A solution so effective that you can start reaping the benefits from day one.

Yes, there is one.

It is called a Digital Asset Management system (DAM).

How can DAM help you combat inconsistent branding?

DAM is a  software solution that helps in managing your digital assets more effectively and efficiently. Let us now understand what role this robust solution has to play in avoiding brand inconsistencies:

✅Act as a single source of truth for digital assets

DAM software successfully consolidates images, videos, documents, and other brand materials in one accessible location. This way, it ensures that all your team members have access to the most up-to-date and approved assets. This minimizes the risk of using outdated or unauthorized content, promoting brand consistency across various channels.

✅Improves collaboration among teams

DAM systems come with advanced capabilities like real-time feedback, version control, and collaborative workflows. They even integrate the approval process with standard workflows. For instance, before any asset is published or shared, it can be made to go through an approval workflow where approvers can review it for compliance with brand guidelines. This helps in maintaining brand consistency before assets are used in campaigns.

This drastically reduces the chances of miscommunication and creates a uniform approach to brand representation. Ultimately, your teams will be on the same page when it comes to the usage of brand assets, and they will have 24/7 access to the latest information related to a campaign or project.

ImageKit offers several collaboration features to help your team members seamlessly communicate on projects. Your team members can add comments on digital assets right inside the media library, which eliminates the need to go back and forth on email or phone calls. This means no more miscommunication or confusion related to assets, leading to better brand consistency.

✅Offer easy storage, retrieval, and distribution

Since DAM systems are centralized repositories for digital assets, the challenges associated with scattered files and disorganized folders are a thing of the past. Thanks to a structured taxonomy and powerful metadata system, DAM systems allow efficient categorization and quick retrieval of assets. This ease of storage, retrieval, and distribution ensures that team members can quickly upload, find, and share approved assets with other members, reducing the likelihood of the usage of unauthorized or inconsistent materials.

ImageKit comes with a browser-based UI that makes it an effortless task to upload media assets. Teams can easily find the right asset using ImageKit’s advanced search functionality that uses parameters like name, tags, and metadata to quickly retrieve assets. You can also create virtual collections to collate and share assets without reorganizing and duplicating files.

✅Controlled access to brand assets

DAM systems offer strong access control features. This means you can decide who gets to access, edit, and distribute specific brand assets. This controlled access ensures that only authorized team members can work with important or brand-critical materials.

You are also essentially preventing unauthorized alterations to assets, another plaguing issue among brands. It helps in maintaining the integrity of your brand and minimizing the risk of inconsistencies caused by unapproved modifications.

ImageKit offers granular access controls to its users. It enables you to share files, folders, and media collections with internal and external stakeholders. You can even define the specific actions a stakeholder can perform on an asset. With ImageKit, there is a perfect balance between collaboration and security.

Digital asset management solution:  Your key to addressing brand inconsistencies

In this highly competitive business ecosystem, it has become a necessity to maintain a consistent visual identity so that users keep your brand in mind whenever a need arises. As you have seen in this blog, a DAM system is the ultimate key to unlocking brand consistency and stay on top of your users’ minds.

DAM solutions like ImageKit offer powerful features like version control, metadata management, granular access controls, etc., to help you uphold brand integrity and deliver a consistent and compelling brand experience.

To begin your journey with ImageKit and never worry about brand inconsistencies again, sign up today!