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How to Maintain Creative Consistency: In Store, Social, Digital & Beyond

How to Maintain Creative Consistency: In Store, Social, Digital & Beyond

It’s a multi-channel world, and whether you’re executing an omnichannel strategy or not, it’s likely you’re all too aware of the increasing need for creative consistency. You only need to look at the latest trends to understand why—marketing is all about the customer experience both before and after conversion, and they’ll only accept a brand message when they receive it the way they want it (thus the rise in ad blockers). What does that mean for your brand?

Cross-integrating Media Content

In the process of determining how to maintain creative consistency, you should also remember that each channel isn’t a silo. Gone are the days when TV advertisements air in ignorance of social media, or when social media operated separately from video sharing. Since the path to purchase is highly fragmented, integrating media elements across channels can help capture future moments from your customer. For instance, TV ads using hashtags: the “Like a Girl” Super Bowl spot carried over from the huge screen viewership to more than 330,000 mentions on Twitter as a continued conversation. Similarly, think of how many car commercials you’ve seen on TV that tell you to find out how the story ends by visiting their website; being invested in the storytelling means giving you the chance to raise awareness and win new customers or new sales.

Execution of Creative Consistency

Begin by tapping into the channels your customers use and targeting them at various touch points across the disjointed path to purchase—but execution is vital. It isn’t just about integrating your marketing but integrating your marketing creative. This offers your brand savings in project development while strengthening your brand’s personality with your audience. If you can maintain creative consistency, you’ll also maintain brand consistency in a way that draws your customers toward conversion. In today’s post, we’ll discuss how to integrate your marketing creative across channels.

Message

This is perhaps the most imperative point for consistency. To be sure, you don’t want your message to be stale or repetitive, that undermines your purpose. A consistent call-to-action improves the odds of a customer following through, and conversely, inconsistent messages could do worse, i.e., not only confusing customers or increasing the odds of disinterest, but engendering brand distrust.

Consistent brand messaging helps your customers understand what your brand stands for and what you have to offer them. Consider the slogan—they are still instantly recognizable where they’re established, and they can be extremely powerful. “Don’t leave home without it,” by American Express, is fundamental both in call-to-action and in what they offer customers. Similarly, “Let’s go places,” by Toyota, encapsulates everything people want about a car.

Visually

The visual element is probably the most straightforward aspect of marketing and branding. Just as there ought to be consistency in how you present your brand logo, the visuals you use in your advertising should be consistent throughout a campaign and across channels.

  • Colors

Color alone can increase brand recognition by 80%, so maintaining consistent coloring across channels can be important. Even if you vary color by channel, they should always be reminiscent of your campaign colors and colors throughout a campaign should be complementary. Simply using the same or similar colors and patterns is an easy way to tie the disparate aspects of your campaign together into something more cohesive.

  • Typeface

This particular design aspect needs to be 100% consistent across the entire campaign and should be on brand because it can influence subconscious elements of how your audience perceives the campaign as well as brand persona. Is it traditional? Modern? Retro? Headers should always be large, and while there is a certain amount of room to change formatting between headings and subtext, subtext should always be simple and clear. All text should be legible, otherwise the message is muddled and the call-to-action is ultimately in-actionable.

A Final Note on Formatting

In a multi-channel setting, it’s important to remember that you can’t simply reuse the same exact content across outlets. That is to say, while the creative ought to be the same, you need to format the way you express that content to best suit each channel. The most obvious example is using Flash codec for video intended for a mobile campaign—mobile devices can’t play Flash content. You can tap into the IAB for best practices on topics like this, but most of the time it’s a matter of sitting down and looking at your content logically. For example, the image resolution that you use for a poster size display in-store is too large to maintain speedy load times on your website. You’ll note it’s also important to watch the evolving way media can be utilized; the video you use online can be interactive, and that video can’t be interactive on other types of devices.

Now that you understand why you need to maintain creative consistency and how to integrate your marketing creative across channels, you can take a fresh look at how your marketing team is approaching those channels. Integrating your marketing creative is something you can apply now or at the beginning of your next campaign, and the sooner that integration occurs, the easier it will be and the sooner you’ll see the results on your bottom line.