How to make your brand unforgettable
The use of language is the cornerstone of how a brand positions itself in the mind of the consumer. Telling a story successfully is all about consistency when communicating, together with the logo, and this is what really makes it unforgettable.
Ben Shneiderman, who theorizes about the relationship between man and computers, explains that when designing interfaces there is a golden rule: to be consistent. We humans are very visual and we have to help users to easily spot recognizable patterns. This rule also applies to how a brand communicates, so that it achieves recognition with its audiences, as well as managing to convey trust and familiarity.
Have you ever lost your keys because you left them in a different place from usual? Do you go into a room and forget why you went there? This happens to me frequently but no, I’m not losing my mind, nor do I have early onset Alzheimers. Unfortunately, it is completely normal behaviour for we humans. In psychological terms, this is called context-dependent memory as we remember certain information much better when we relate it to its surroundings. If I forget why I went into my bedroom all I have to do is retrace my steps and, like magic, I remember why I went there.
Similarly, if a brand suddenly changes its way of expressing itself, if it changes its context, it will be almost impossible for the consumer to recognize it. It’s normal to think only of the visual elements of a brand when talking about its style of communication, for example, the range of colours, the typeface, the illustrations, etc. But equally important are the verbal elements: how the brand expresses itself, its tone of voice and language, even the choice of words, for communicating to maximum effect. All these elements together create a unique personality, which makes the brand different and relevant for its audiences.
Many companies play around with the visual narrative of their brand, above all on social media. They think that their audiences are bored with seeing the same thing all the time and come up with new styles of communication; they believe that doing so will enrich the visual style of the feed. They play around with new typefaces, colours, styles of illustration and even use memes to keep up with trends. Is this really necessary? In Ideograma we believe the opposite: if its context changes the brand becomes less visible.
Communication on social media is more relaxed than that used on an official webpage, a LinkedIn company page, or in printed adverts. It is not right to change the language or style of expression at will and certainly not just to keep up with passing trends. We know from Facebook statistics that consumers look at each post for only 1.7 seconds. As a brand, we have to be sufficiently recognizable in the time it takes us to sneeze. This is only achieved if the brand communication is as consistent as it possibly can be. We can publish a meme to generate interaction with consumers but we would recommend only doing that if and when it represents both the personality and the visual style of the brand. That way, we continue being who we are, and trendy at the same time. The brand is far from boring to its followers.
Brand language should not have an expiry date. Creating materials that are uniform makes us consistent and, as a result, all our messages are quickly identifiable and easily remembered. The trick is to take advantage of all the elements of the brand, enriching it and generating an extensive range of easy-to-recognize language.