Back to Alea | There’s Comfort in Consistency

Rob Wilson . News . 14 June 2021 Read Time3 min

There’s Comfort in Consistency

How long does a brand last before it needs refreshing? Probably longer than you think.

Rob Wilson

Rob Wilson

Creative Director

Some of the most successful brands in the world have hardly changed over the years. Sure, there may have been the odd tweak here and there, but fundamentally their original values still hold strong.

If you’re thinking of making some changes, remember it takes an average of five to seven brand impressions for a customer to remember your brand, so consistency should be at the forefront of any decision.

Brands that have made fundamental changes

Coca Cola changed their recipe in 1985 to chase after Pepsi sales at the detriment of their loyal customer base. However, it wasn’t long before they reverted back to their core principles and traditional recipe.

It’s not easy staying relevant when it feels like your brand is aging, but there are many ways to do this through campaigns and tweaking your branding. As long as you are focused on retaining your original values, you’ll protect your most loyal fan base and perhaps even grow it.

Consistency doesn’t have to mean boring or restrictive. It means getting the basics right and knowing your market. Take Audi, for example. The company has had its classic ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ line for years, but that hasn’t prevented it having a constant stream of creatively different ads over the past few years, such as the futuristic ‘Landing’ (search ‘Audi TT Landing’ on YouTube). Its never-changing strapline underpins all their ads and has become synonymous with the brand across the world.

How important is your logo?

Some might say your logo is one of your greatest assets and your customers should always be familiar with it. Play with this at your peril. However, by refining some of the existing assets along with an injection of strong creativity, it can take a refreshing twist whilst not losing consistency. 

Creative agency JKR tweaked the classic Heinz sans-serif logo and surrounding elements to unify the brand worldwide. The theme of ‘Simple Greatness’ relies on existing visual marks like the label outline and builds on the simple original logomark; a clever approach to refreshing your brand. Heinz avoided the mistake of losing sight of their tradition and history by playing on it instead.

Steve Jobs’ mission statement for Apple in 1980 was “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” Not only is that statement relevant today, but some might say Apple has stuck to the same principles in their brand strategy from day one. You may recall Ridley Scott’s ‘1984’ Macintosh commercial, which concludes with the Apple logo front and centre.

Roll on 40 years and recent Apple ads are still extremely creative, but still end with the logo centre screen without clutter. Sure the logo colours are gone, but the Apple image is still consistent with the brand. Apple’s products are simple and elegant, and so is their branding. It feels like there’s no wasted communication; it’s slick and beautiful, and because of their consistent use of imagery, tone and typeface, you feel safe in their hands and understand you are purchasing quality and support.

Consistency in pharma

Taking these lessons into the world of pharmaceuticals, we can all strive to be more consistent. It really does matter, even down to the smallest details. Is our industry too quick to refresh campaigns and messages just because they have budget to use, or a new team feels like they need to put their stamp on proceedings? 

Campaigns take time to bed in and be exposed. I’m sure it must be reassuring for HCPs to identify their favoured product through an easily identifiable image or message – not so if this changes too regularly.

People recognise familiarity; it encourages feelings of safety and security. In other words, consistency makes consumers trust your brand.