Brand Integrity 101

By Frank Emanuele Consistency is perhaps the most overlooked marketing principle. So much lip service is paid to the idea that marketing messages and materials need to be consistent. That's why we all know the slogans of brands like McDonald's and Nike: their messaging has been consistent for years. We all learned this (seemingly) basic concept in Marketing 101, so why do so many marketers completely miss the boat? The essential part that is often missing is a cohesive brand attitude demonstrated in every level of an organization's public presence. Be it the CEO, the community manager, or a call center rep, all members of an organization must dedicate themselves to a consistent theme and tone when interacting with their audience. Walk The Talk

It's easy for ads, press releases, and social media messaging to line up in terms of tone, but how much does your messaging line up with your company's practices? In other words, does your brand have integrity? The Ford Motor Company offers a great example of brand integrity. Scott Monty, Ford's global head of social media, often speaks of the transformative effects of consistency on the auto giant's corporate culture. "Ford’s leadership team ensures that our One Ford message is consistent and constant, and that we’re staying on plan, which in turn ensures our employees that we’re innovating and succeeding. That in turn inspires confidence and morale," said Monty in a 2011 interview.

Look Within

Consistency starts with taking a look at your priorities. What are your brand's core values? How can you demonstrate those values not only through ads and marketing, but by having your company's internal and external practices reflect that messaging? If your brand claims to be dedicated to customer service and satisfaction above all, what are some steps you can take to "walk the talk"? For starters, you can have a well-informed and polite call center and community management staff ready and waiting to help your customers with whatever issues they may be experiencing. You can enforce a social media policy that stresses the brand promise of customer satisfaction. Key executives should exemplify the attitude that customers come first, as an example to the rest of the staff.

Consistency doesn't only mean having uniform messaging on all platforms; it also means having your brand's internal and external practices mirror your corporate communications. Promising brand integrity from the top of your organization has a trickle-down effect that can permeate every layer. From C-level to custodian, every member of the team needs to be on the same side so your can keep moving forward.

Does your brand have a unified brand promise? Do you demonstrate consistency in your daily operations? Comment below!