Brand consistency: Why it matters and how to maintain it

Brand consistency: Why it matters and how to maintain it

A big factor in having a strong charity brand is consistency. In this week’s blog post we’ll be exploring why brand consistency is important and how your charity can go about maintaining it.

Why does brand consistency matter?

Consistency is one of the most important factors in brand because it makes it clear to your supporters who you are and what your charity does. Your brand, especially as a charity, must help demonstrate that you are a trustworthy and reliable organisation. It’s crucial for charities to gain the trust of their supporters and you can’t do that if they aren’t 100% sure of who you are and what you represent.

“Consistency helps to clarify your positioning and the message you want to get across.”

Be instantly recognisable

Branding for charities and not for profits is often seen as being controversial because supporters complain that their money is being spent on marketing rather than directly to the cause. However, supporters are in fact more likely to give to charities that stand out from the crowd i.e. to charities that have invested in their brand. After Macmillan rebranded they increased supporter numbers by 27% and raise £5million in fundraising. The same was true of Parkinson’s UK who saw an increase of 15% to their income after they rebranded.

People might not engage with your charity the first time they encounter you so it’s important your brand is easy to recognise and consistent across all mediums. For example a potential supporter might receive a direct mail campaign through their door and then a month later access your Facebook page. All of the different platforms you use to communicate, from your social media to people collecting money for you on the street, should be visually recognisable and help to boost your prominence. A great example of this can be seen with Parkinson’s UK. Before the rebrand their marketing material didn’t stand out:

After the rebrand one of the key things that stands out is how instantly recognisable their brand is visually through the use of colour and style.

It’s not just visual

Consistency isn’t just about visual recognition though. A crucial part of consistency in branding is messaging. Your supporters, stakeholders and potential beneficiaries all need to be clear on what your charity does otherwise they are unlikely to donate or help support your cause.

When Macmillan rebranded in 2006, messaging was a key part of this. They wanted to move away from being seen as ‘angels of death’ – that they were only nurses who helped people at the end of their lives. The charity was doing much more than that and needed to reflect this change in their messaging. By using language they were able to convey the message that they were there to support people whose lives were affected by cancer:

How to maintain brand consistency

There are 3 main areas to ensuring your branding is consistent:

Visual – As we’ve already seen from the examples in this post, visual consistency has a huge impact. Whether that be colour, imagery, font or typography, these elements need to remain constant across all of your marketing so no matter where people see you they’ll instantly know who it is they are looking at. It doesn’t stop at marketing materials either – your brand should be a part of everything your charity does from letter headers to internal communications. It should run through every stream in your organisation.

Messaging – Do your supporters know what you do? Do they know what your vision is? Do they know what you are trying to achieve as a charity? The key messages you deliver to your audience should be clear and constant across the board. They need to demonstrate the ethos of the charity and clearly communicate the personality of your organisation.

Experience – Your brand isn’t just something on paper, it should become a way of life for your charity and the people running it. This means that each and every member of the team, whether paid or voluntary, should know what your key values are and be living them each and every day. Why is this important? Because the experience your team delivers should also be communicating the personality of your brand.

Next week:

In next week’s post we’ll be exploring practical ways your charity can easily implement brand consistency. We’ll be looking specifically at Brand Stencil, our online tool that allows charities to quickly and easily create personalised branded literature. If you can’t wait until next week to find out more, then head over to theBrand Stencil website now!

More on branding:

This blog post is part of a series all about branding, please follow the below links to read the previous posts.

What it branding?

Why is branding so important for charities and non for profits?

What makes a strong brand for a charity or not for profit?