Creating a Consistent Brand Experience
If the concept of “design” causes some confusion or mild distress, have no fear. It’s true that the term can be linked with highbrow, artistic navel-gazing, but here at Markon, we’re in the mindset of generating solutions for your brand. Good design should work for you as a beautiful, functional facet of your business. Good design isn’t cumbersome or complicated: it applies itself to your brand with the conscientiousness of a rock-star employee. You just have to make the first step towards commitment.
We can put it this way: people don’t necessarily notice good design. You don’t look at a beautiful, functional website and say, “All the content is organized instinctively so I can find what I need with ease! And the fonts are so clean and work together so seamlessly!” But without a doubt, poor design never goes unnoticed. A customer might not have the words to formulate why their experience with a badly-branded business felt unappealing, but that doesn’t mean they won’t walk away feeling put-off. I’ve heard it described as a sneaking feeling of discomfort.
To be sure, you might have heard the advice that there is minimal need to align your digital brand with your brick and mortar identity. And at first, the notion that your business’s narrative should be modified to better suit the web could make sense. But let’s face it—long gone are the days when our physical and online worlds (and identities) existed in separate spheres. You’re as much yourself when standing in line at the grocery store, as you are when posting from twitter. You can’t afford to modify your business identity to suit different platforms: from a booth at the local farmer’s market to an About page, your branded image needs to remain consistent.
Here’s an example highlighting this importance: the other day, a client recommended a fine-dining restaurant. We visited it online and were greeted by subtle, earthy hues and sweeping photos of glass walls overlooking a local river. A fireplace, Tuscan floors, and chandelier connoted cozy elegance. The downloadable menu was relatively plain, the fonts classic and traditional. The price per plate appeared on-par with the luxe atmosphere, and we were satisfied to try it out. When we arrived for dinner, we were greeted with fake, over-sized tropical plants in every corner. The Tuscan-floored lobby gave way to aging cement in the dining area, and the table-tops were uneven and heavily scratched. The menus were alive with clipart banana leaves and papyrus fronds; the chunky fonts were still grooving from back in the 70s. We were horrified and overdressed, caught in that uncomfortable net cast by a business that failed to dedicate itself to a consistent visual identity.
But what’s the result? Is this lapse in adherence actually bad for business? Bluntly, if what you’re putting out in the world isn’t consistent, customers won’t piece together that it’s you behind the content. If your signs/website/menus/ads/business cards/etc differ in aesthetic, you risk being glossed over in favor of your competitors— or worse, generate confusion or distrust. To us, the lack of even a simple amount of consistency revealed a massive gap in concern for the overall business. We definitely wouldn’t recommend it after the experience, and after searching online reviews, we noted that a robust majority mentioned that the food was overpriced. A few specifically pinned the “atmosphere” as not on par with the price-per-plate, which again leads to that sneaking feeling of discomfort clients are going to walk away with when the branding is careless and inconsistent.
A clean, cohesive, and consistent aesthetic for your brand is more than a necessary investment. It’s an asset that, given a little forethought and commitment, will turn around and actually generate trust, recognition, and revenue for your business.