The importance of brand consistency in multiple locations cannot be overemphasized. When customers or clients enter a brand name in a location that is new to them, they carry with them expectations formed at every previous site of that brand’s operations they have visited. This is true of hotels, restaurants, financial services, medical facilities, and more.
Maintaining consistency in presenting a brand’s logo is the baseline of brand consistency. Customers expect multiple locations of a business operating under the same brand to look and feel nearly identical. Beyond colors and typefaces are things that reflect customer-centric actions that either retain or lose business.
Brand guidelines establish a brand’s promise to its customers. There’s a place that always has a clean parking lot and restroom, that one has a friendly and consistent greeting from drive-through staff, and another meets a set time frame for welcoming a client to the office of a professional advisor. Customers expect these things, and notice their absence.
Social media has revolutionized the way consumers perceive brands, elevating their expectation for consistency. Customers at opposite ends of the country can share experiences based on a set of mutually understood characteristics of the brand they both love (or don’t).
Brand consistency in multiple locations can have a downside, when the consistent thing is poor service or, as in recent news reports about a major franchisor, consistently broken ice cream machines. Brand consistency can guard against negative “meme-ification” if the brand is consistently embodied by high quality and outstanding service.
A consistent online presence backed up with consistent follow-though on the local, brick-and-mortar level is cost effective. A business creates an online brand identity and guidelines once, and can then push them out through all its locations without a lot of additional expense.
The ability to maintain brand consistency should be a factor in site selection for new locations, including deciding whether to open a new office location for a service business, whether it’s a brokerage office, bank branch, or medical facility. Maintaining your brand identity and the promise your brand makes to your clients and customers will set your business on a path to continued growth and profitability.