When businesses deliver inconsistent marketing messages, this can lead to confusion and lack of trust among clients. A recent study by McKinsey & Company showed that customers had 30% more trust in banks in the top quartile of delivering a consistent experience, compared to banks in the bottom quartile.
Some examples of inconsistent marketing include advertising a low price when the price is actually higher than that of your competitors, promoting your product as being durable when it is easily damaged, or advertising next-day delivery when customers need to wait several days for their order. Such inconsistencies impact your brand by reducing initial sales, as well as repeat sales from dissatisfied customers.
The secret to building loyalty with your target audience is to develop consistent and unambiguous marketing messages. Regardless of the message you wish to convey, you need to deliver it in a coherent manner across all your marketing channels. Consistency helps to ensure that your philosophy is clear to everyone inside and outside your organisation.
Staying ‘on message’ is especially important when dealing with challenging or potentially damaging situations. Ensuring that there are no conflicting messages coming from your representatives is essential to engender trust and portray a professional image. There are few things more likely to tarnish your reputation than key members contradicting each other.
How to keep the message consistent
Strong internal communication is the key to avoiding inconsistent messages. If your organisation appoints a single spokesperson responsible for all public communication, then this makes things easier. However it’s important that other members of your team don’t speak out of turn or contradict your official position.
Internal departments need to collaborate closely with each other to ensure all relevant parties are fully aware of your marketing strategy. This includes your company leaders, your sales and marketing departments, and your social media teams.
But there’s no point in trying to stay on-message if the message hasn’t been clearly defined. A group brainstorming session can be an effective way to define the message and gain input and agreement from your teams.
Once you’ve identified your message and your target audience, you should ensure that everyone in your team understands exactly how your business adds value to your audience, and what tactics should be employed to best deliver your message to that audience. Emphasising consistently used words, phrases and themes will help to convey important information in a memorable and persuasive way.
Furthermore, everyone on the team should be kept up to date regarding any forthcoming announcements, events, or changes to the key message. You might consider appointing a ‘message monitor’ – someone who is in charge of communications and ensuring that all messages are consistent at all times.
Many organisations find it useful to have a specific focus area each month. This helps to ensure that the entire team knows where to concentrate their efforts, and what message they’re trying to convey that month. For example, you may have a special offer on a particular product or service that you would like to push out through all marketing channels, including your website, social media, email and traditional channels. A dedicated focus on this goal will lead to better recognition for your brand, which should increase sales and boost your bottom line.
When you deliver a consistent brand message to your customers, this strengthens your unique selling proposition in their minds. It demonstrates that you take your brand seriously, which reinforces their trust in your organisation.
Take Apple. They’re generally considered to be one of the strongest-branded organisations in the world. Their slick, cutting-edge products convey a sleek and sophisticated image that their target market craves. From the aesthetics of their website to the clean and crisp user experience, it’s almost impossible to misidentify an Apple product because their brand image remains so consistent across all marketing channels.
Written by Angela Smith.