The Myth of
Let's talk consistency!
If you've ever worked with a designer for your business you've probably heard this term used and maybe even you've used this term with your team.
When first starting off as a designer I used to preach consistency to my clients ALL the time. While developing their brand to handing over their brand assets I would use consistency as a way to communicate best practices of staying within their brand guidelines.
Now, this topic of consistency doesn't only apply to design. It also flows into your message and internal purpose as a brand.
"Don't stray from your color palette (EVER). Never use a different font than the two we've laid out in your brand guidelines. DO NOT put your logo on an orange background!, and never stray from your brand message"
If you've ever been told these things about your brand or something similar, then listen up!
The truth is, consistency is a myth...at least this rule-abiding culture, brands have created around the term.
I recently read the book "Obsessed" by Emily Heyward where one of her chapters is named (spoiler alert!) "The Myth of Consistency"
I BINGED this chapter and love Emily's take on this topic of consistency so much I named this post after it. If you haven't read her book I would highly recommend it to learn more about creating a successful brand.
Consistency DOES have its place...
I'm not saying consistency doesn't have its place because it absolutely does and it should be considered when making decisions for your brand, but we've begun to put our brands in a box and use this idea of staying consistent as a rule rather than an exception
Consistency is important but by falling into this cycle of using it as a rule your brand may be missing out on opportunities to connect with your audience
The truth is branding is not black and white and sometimes branching out and creating with flexibility can serve your audience and help in the process of creating a winning brand!
Why this idea of consistency can be harming your business rather than helping it.
When it comes to design, messaging, and overall marketing our businesses it's easy to fall into this harmful mindset around consistency where we create rules around what is and is not consistent. My expertise is in the design realm where I think this shows up most literally.
Brands sometimes fall into this cycle where showing up the exact same everywhere is an important part of their marketing and strategy.
You look and sound the same on Instagram as you do on LinkedIn, or scream the same message on tv as you do on a social media ad.
As time has gone on and the world evolves so do our strategies and in today's world each platform we show up on functions differently. Each with its own audience and expectations of behavior on that specific platform.
By showing up "consistent" with the same message and same look it can be viewed as in-authentic, stale, spammy, etc.
Think about how users and brands connect on Twitter vs. how they connect on LinkedIn or even IG Reels vs. Pinterest Idea Pins. There's a different expectation there and by showing up the same on both your brand is missing out on that genuine connection to the audience on that platform.
Be consistently flexible within your brand...
One of my favorite takeaways from "Obsessed" by Emily Heyward is this quote.
"The most beloved brands understand how to adjust their message to the medium from the beginning. That doesn't mean the brand stands for many different things. In fact, having a clear single-minded strategy is what enables a brand to adapt its behavior depending on where it appears. The brand can take multiple paths all in the direction of the same North Star."
Brands who miss this end up missing out on so much of their potential. Having a brand that embraces flexibility and shows up with authentic behavior that is consistent with the culture of the platform creates connection and genuine relationships with its audience.
Consistency is not key...
Developing a clear understanding of your brand's mission and values gives you the ability to step into your brand's purpose and showcase its layered personality based on the platform, place, and occasion without altering or changing its core identity.
Embrace flexibility and your brand's personality. When we think of someone's personality it's safe to say it's something that is layered, adaptable based on its atmosphere, unique, and easily recognizable.
When creating and showing up think about how your brand is coming across how to maintain consistency while being flexible.