Keeping it consistently constant -? The KICC Principle
I was at home the other night and found myself particularly intrigued by one particular ad. The ad was for Jetstar, and as usual they were advertising their low airfares.
But what struck me about this particular ad was that all the actors advocating travel on the budget airline were particularly ordinary looking.
I’m not saying they were bad looking, far from it, but they were nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly not glamorous. If I was watching an ad for Louis Vuitton or Armani they would have been out of place, but in an ad for Jetstar they were perfectly placed.
This brings me to my point. It is essential to keep your brands message consistent in all communications and all circumstances where you may be communicating direct with an existing or potential customer.
Jetstar is a budget airline, therefore all aspects of their communication with customers must reflect this.
If I am travelling on Jetstar I know not to expect leg room, not to expect any form of meal or in-flight entertainment. Meaning when the flight attendant offers me the obligatory crackers and cheese it actually comes as a pleasant surprise.
Conversely if I travel first class – a long forgotten luxury for me – I expect every aspect of my journey to be first class. From the service, to the comfort, to the ambience everything should be perfect. As I mentioned in a previous post, Singapore Airlines even goes as far as controlling the scent in their cabins to add to the overall experience.
Haynes, Lackman and Guskey introduced the concept of Comprehensive Brand Presentation (CBP) in 1999. In short their principle refers to formalising the alignment of the manufacturing and communication functions of any given business. Put simply this means making sure the end product or service that your business creates matches the communication or marketing function that is utilised to sell it.
According to the research paper the CBP enhances success through synergistic execution of the manufacturing and marketing processes via increased focus on measuring customer response to both manufactured product and promotional efforts supporting that product.
So with all that I mind I have come up with a few key ways to help to increase your brand consistency:
Go and experience your brand from point of sale
One of the most important places where customers get to experience your brand is at the point of sale.
If I went to buy a new Mercedes I would expect a luxury buying experience. I would expect that the sales staff would be immaculately dressed and presented. That is what I am led to believe from their marketing. If they were not it would effect my perception of the brand and effect my brand loyalty.
Put yourself in a customer’s shoes, what level of service have you led your customer to expect at the point of sale.
Dont oversell it, tell it like it is
There is always a temptation to oversell products. Clients will always tell you that their brand is the best. But you need to make sure you don’t oversell it.
The last thing you want is for the customer to be disappointed when they experience your brand.
Back to my Jetstar example. If Jetstar positioned itself as a high luxury, high service airline they would be shooting themselves in the foot, because when the customer experienced the product they would instantly know that is not the case.
I attended an event once where the elaborate invitation came inside a chicken egg. You actually had to break the hollow egg to retrieve the invitation. I was so excited for the event itself, if they had gone to that level of intricacy for the invitation what would the event be like. It turned out the event was awful and I was left disappointed with the brand. Classic case of oversell under deliver.
Make sure your events reflect your brand
Personally coming from an events background I have seen far too many events that miss the mark. They have nothing to do with the actual brand.
Your events need to reflect your brands messages. An event for Louis Vuitton should exude luxury, while an event for Aussie Disposals should reflect their own unique brand values.
Maintain visual consistency
I want you to go and get all your marketing collateral from business cards, to your website, letterhead, advertisements, brochures or signage even you email signature and lay it all out on the table.
You need to make sure it all looks the same. Are your company’s colours reflected consistently across all your material or are their slight changes?
Is your logo always the same shape or does it differ? Does your website have one colour scheme and your business card another? How about fonts? Do you always use the same or do you chop and change?
This will give you a good indication of how consistent your image is. By having a consistent image you will increase brand awareness.
Work closely with outside agencies
If you are in a position to hire an outside agency for any part of your marketing mix you need to make sure that you work very closely with them.
I’ve made the mistake before of hiring an agency and leaving them to their own devices. It is important for the agencies sake and your own that you treat an agency as an extension of your business. They are selling your brands messages and they must understand your brand.
But please don’t expect that an agency will understand the intricacies of your brand instantly it is a collaborative process that must be worked on.
The above are just a couple of the ways to keep your brand consistent. Everywhere that a customer interacts with your brand the experience should be the same.
Whether that be at an event, conference, point of sale, radio/television ad, website, or social networking site.
All of these communications should give the customer the same experience they get from actually consuming or using your product or service.