What is Brand Consistency? Here's how to Maintain it
If you're a B2B company that's far along the digital transformation path, you're probably aware of the role brand consistency plays in guaranteeing world-class digital experiences. If you're just starting out on that digital journey, we're here to help, from defining the concept to discussing how it benefits your business and detailing how you can maintain brand consistency.
What is brand consistency?
First things first, what is brand consistency? Brand consistency is your ability to communicate, interact and create customer experiences in a way that aligns with your brand values and identity. It involves speaking in a well-defined and replicable brand voice, using identifiable graphic and design elements, and guiding your customers through their journey in a consistent manner that's replicated across multiple channels.
Your brand is the set of attributes customers associate with your business. Hopefully, these align with the attributes you’re trying to communicate. However, as Jeff Bezos once noted, “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Though you may talk the talk, your brand has to walk the walk. In other words, you have to back up your brand’s marketing promises with consistently excellent customer experiences.
What does brand consistency achieve?
Brand consistency performs several functions. These include:
Differentiating businesses in the same industry or marketplace - brand consistency helps your business establish a distinct and recognizable identity with which customers can begin to build a relationship
Conveying authority and product leadership - some businesses have perfected their branding to such a degree that their name is now synonymous with the product they sell. For instance, Xerox is a trade name that refers to photocopying, Kleenex to tissues, and Tarmac to road surfaces.
However, the most obvious example of this in contemporary society is the widespread adoption of google as a term for using a search engine. This degree of brand-building is only possible if you’re consistent in your messaging, actions, and customer experiences.
Encouraging greater loyalty - customer loyalty is built on the personal relationship they build with your business and the values they attach to your brand. Loyalty implies that the customer will stick with your business even when competitors challenge you on pricing, convenience, and product quality.
Loyalty is far easier to guarantee in the B2C sector, where impulse and emotional attachment play a much more significant role in purchasing. In B2B, purchasing decisions are more strategic. As more decision-makers are involved in the process, emotional attachment and impulse are removed from the equation.
Instead, B2B customer loyalty puts a much greater emphasis on the experience. Is interacting with your company convenient, intuitive, streamlined, and seamless? Is it consistent across all channels? Do you offer relevant content to the different stakeholders involved in the purchasing process?
How can you maintain brand consistency?
Having looked at what brand consistency is and why it’s important, let’s turn to the different ways in which your business can maintain brand consistency. We’ve split our analysis into three broad groups - content, customer experience, and digital commerce - to demonstrate how brand consistency is necessary across the entire organization.
Content is usually the primary way to attract new customers and build relationships with existing ones. According to research conducted by the Boston Group, 70% of B2B customers read three or more pieces of content from or about an organization before they even reach out to a salesperson. Of those, nearly 20% are consuming more than seven pieces of content. This stat highlights the significant role content plays in communicating your brand values and qualities, as well as its contribution to lead generation.
Maintaining brand consistency in your content is far more challenging in the modern digital landscape than you would expect. B2B businesses regularly operate in multiple markets, operate several different sites, and need to publish across a range of channels. This can result in a disjointed and inconsistent approach to content creation, management, and publication.
One of the most effective ways of ensuring brand consistency in content is to adopt a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) that utilizes headless architecture. Headless architecture makes publishing content across multiple channels quick, convenient, and efficient. It enables you to keep the message consistent while improving organizational agility and reducing the time and resources it takes to distribute content.
Content is also where one of the main contradictions in modern marketing is most clearly apparent. While brand consistency is essential, customers also demand personalized experiences. It is a tricky balance to strike. The tension between the two is clear but can be resolved. DXPs achieve this by facilitating segmentation, content management, and personalization. User groups can be targeted with relevant content managed via the main content repository and remain consistent with the brand's values, tone of voice, and approach.
DQS - a quick case study
The certification, accreditation, and assessment specialists, DQS, utilizes Ibexa DXP to manage its content and offer customers a consistent digital experience. The business recently went from operating 80 individual sites and several different Content Management Systems (CMSs) to a single primary site that houses the necessary localized pages.
Working across 60 locations and 32 languages, the company needed a more consistent customer experience and wanted to ensure that the separate sites weren’t competing against each other for business. Ibexa DXP enabled it to achieve this by consolidating all content into a single, centralized CMS and unifying the disparate sites.
- Customer Experience
Compared to B2C, the B2B customer journey is complex, difficult to manage, and changing at a rapid pace. While B2C recognized the importance and value of seamless digital experiences long before the B2B sector, a relatively simple sales process made its transition considerably easier.
The biggest challenge of maintaining consistency across multiple channels and markets in B2B is complexity. B2B organizations must appeal to and attract a broader range of customers. When they interact with a customer, they're not dealing with a single individual but a whole team of decision-makers, each of whom has their own responsibilities and needs to be catered to in different ways.Product information, variety, and pricing (more on this later) are more detailed and subject to change. Logistics has a bigger impact on the ability to fulfill customer needs.
Bringing these diverse elements together and shaping them into coherent, intuitive, and consistent customer experiences is more than a challenge. Fortunately, it's exactly what we designed Ibexa DXP to do.
Our DXP facilitates segmentation, enabling you to target different customers and decision-makers within the sales process. It empowers you to create customer portals for easy interaction with stakeholders and to design workflows that include access permissions. It integrates with your PIM and gives you the tools you need to create and display complex product information and variants. It connects every aspect of your business operations. It gives you greater control, so you can shape the customer experience and guarantee consistency no matter what market your customers are in or what channels they prefer.
Swissport - a quick case study
Swissport is one of the world’s largest providers of airport services. It operates across six continents, in 45 countries, and at 285 airports. It employs roughly 43,000 people worldwide. Understandably, the sheer scale and geographical diversity of the Swissport organization mean that it was stuck with a fragmented digital footprint and a weakened brand message.
Many regional Swissport departments operated their own sites across multiple platforms, and media information was poorly integrated with the main site and often outdated. As a result, the customer experience varied from market to market, accurate information was difficult to locate and occasionally contradictory, and the brand was not represented consistently.
Ibexa DXP enabled Swissport to bring all its sites under the control of a single platform and create a more consistent customer experience. Regional pages now show detailed information and contact details, standardizing and enhancing the user experience. Navigation was improved via a mega menu that expands like a cinema canvas and retracts into the familiar burger menu icon. Ibexa DXP also makes the media center and newsroom much easier to use and guarantees the brand is represented consistently. The overall result is a dramatically improved and consistent customer experience for a B2B business that spans the globe.
You can read more about Ibexa DXP and Swissport in our success story.
- Digital Commerce
The final aspect of brand consistency we will examine here is digital commerce or e-Commerce. Digital commerce refers to the actual process of buying and selling online. As such, it's different from e-Business, which encompasses all business operations conducted online.
In B2B, pricing and purchasing are much more complex than in B2C. Almost always, pricing is customized and tailored to specific customers or types of customers. For instance, a reseller may have a different pricing structure than a customer that buys directly and is the end (B2B) consumer. As we've already mentioned, the B2B purchasing process can also involve several decision-makers.
Typically, there are around 11 individuals involved in any purchasing decision in B2B, but this can rise to 20 or more in some organizations. Coordinating 20 stakeholders and providing each with a satisfying and consistent sales and purchasing experience is no mean feat.
Again, DXPs are an elegant solution to the problems B2B businesses face. Ibexa DXP integrates with your other systems, including your ERP, PIM, or CRM, enabling easier management of product information, multiple inventories, your warehouse, and supply chains. It also facilitates customer segmentation and targeting for personalized pricing. This segmentation empowers you to price dynamically and according to region or audience.
Brand consistency cannot be reduced to e-Commerce. As we’ve explained, content and customer experience also play an enormous role. However, a poorly designed purchasing process will turn customers off and force them into the arms of the competition.
Essilor - a quick case study
Essilor is the largest manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses in the world and conducts business in a diverse array of markets around the world. However, it has historically suffered from fragmented product messaging and inconsistencies across regions. Ibexa DXP helped the company bring together its 75 multilingual sites and 22 markets and enabled Essilor to publish consistent content on all sites.
Ibexa DXP also provided Essilor with better access to its end-users. With Essilor, the customer journey is the perfect example of a complex B2B organization. Essilor works with and sells their lenses to opticians around Europe, who then retail them to consumers. In this respect, Essilor is a B2C2B company. Ibexa DXP enables Essilor to inform consumers about their products and drive them via a online locator to their closest retail locations and to book appointments directly via its site.
You can read more about Ibexa DXP and Essilor in our success story.
If you’re interested in how Ibexa DXP can help your business guarantee consistent branding across its content, customer experience, and digital commerce operations, we would love to hear from you. Alternatively, check out our Ibexa DXP product page or dig into our collection of illuminating success stories.