Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Do Brands Need to Be Consistent?

I have repeatedly said that brands need to be consistent in their identity and predictable in how they interact with their customers. This is based on two facts:

  1. Identity consistency leads to solid memory encoding and decoding/recall. Frequent changes in identity or inconsistent presentation of identity disrupts this memory encoding/decoding process that is central to brand awareness and association.
  2. Predictable brand behavior, product quality and service/experience delivery leads to trust, a very important brand quality. People want to know what to expect with a brand. Variable product quality or service/experience delivery causes them not to trust the brand.
Having said this, I believe there is room for brands to be more complicated and nuanced in their personalities, unexpected in their behaviors (as long as it is in a delightful way) and surprising in educational or entertaining ways. Often complex people are the most interesting people. In the same way, complex brands can be some of the most interesting brands. Despite this complexity, the brand still needs to stand for something, have one clear message and maintain its identity consistency for the reasons I articulated above. 

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