Brian Bloom | January 24, 2022
Throughout my 40-year career in communications, no challenge presents itself more often than making sure clients establish and maintain a consistent message – one that reflects the brand and comes through their voice and resonates with key audiences.
What I mean when I say “consistent message” is the ability to communicate the same story to all audiences in all directions, from the website and literature to public relations and advertising and everything beyond: sales presentations, conferences, trade shows, internal meetings, and so forth. This means all of an organization’s audiences hear and understand the same message. And audiences include employees, agents, reps, distributors, influencers, prospects and customers.
Consistency makes a memorable impression on all audiences and sets expectations about a company and its products. It is a way of distinguishing a company or product from its competitors and clarifying what it offers and why it is the better choice.
As we start our relationship with a client, we often work with them to establish words that reflect the company’s characteristics, not its products. Words that have meaning, like authority, fun, friendly, imaginative, passionate, reflect a company’s mission, soul and personality. We then use those words as a criterion to develop marketing communications strategies and tactics. They also help us determine and exclude activities that contradict the company’s image and brand.
For example, one construction and automotive adhesives company used established messaging to halt development of a product because it would oppose its brand image. However, many years ago, after establishing a high-quality brand image, a premium shirt manufacturer killed that image when it decided to sell through a low-end retail channel. Companies with a desire for instant gratification, lack of clarity and having an “all or nothing” mindset will quickly struggle with consistency and adversely affect its long-term sales goals.
Your employees, sales personnel, prospects and customers will have a better understanding about the organization, its products and what makes it different than the competition.
Consistency shows you are serious. However, when you are inconsistent, the value of your message and your market position relativity is always reduced.
Business growth requires a solid track record of success. You can't establish a track record if you are constantly changing direction or trying new tactics that do not fit the company’s message, personality or products. As a result, many campaigns fail before they get to the finish line. And not because the tactic was flawed or the goals were unclear, but because you didn’t stay the course with your established message.
Small actions carried out repeatedly will amount to big results over time. When you do something for a long period, it differentiates your company and product. This can help you attract new opportunities that may not have been possible before.
Your employees, sales team and customers need a predictable, consistent flow of information. Too often, small and large businesses adopt a campaign or an initiative only to end it before it gains traction, wasting time and money without securing results.
When people notice a consistent company, they tend to be more supportive. And employees and sales personnel will embrace a consistent vision and run with it.
Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities and judgement. The more consistent a company is in both words and deeds, the more its employees, sales personnel, and customers will gain confidence that the company will meet their needs.
Consistency creates momentum, and when momentum is moving in the right direction, success is inevitable.
When a company provides a consistent message and image, people often interrupt that to imply quality. As a result, the company could soon become a force to be reckoned with.
Until you have tried something new in a consistent manner over a period of time, you cannot really determine if it works. How do you measure effectiveness if what you are measuring isn't performed consistently? We had a former client that kept changing its direction every month, which made the program incredibly difficult to truly measure. New initiatives, processes, and campaigns typically take at least six months before you can determine their success or failure. It's often minor tweaking instead of major overhauls that make the difference.
In the end, the results will reveal if your company is consistent. If you know you are not on track, you need to hold yourself accountable. This means you can adjust your actions or behaviors to help your company move toward its goal and achieve both the short- and long-term success.
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Brian Bloom is a senior vice president at Falls & Co. He has spent four decades counseling consumer, business-to-business and industrial clients on a wide range of issues from marketing communications, brand positioning, public relations, corporate communications and special events to crisis communications and environmental affairs. His strategic programs have helped companies turn their commodity products into preferred brands in aggressive markets.