What do people lean into when choosing a brand? Consciously and subconsciously, they look for trustworthiness. And one of the ways you build on trust is by proving to be dependable to clients, customers, and consumers. Time and time again. That’s why, in reliable product design and development, one thing people pay special attention to is brand consistency.
So, yes – spoiler alert – brand consistency is important. But how much is it exactly important in product design?
We took a deep dive to resurface with some interesting facts and tips that can if implemented right, help your product development.
The First Rule of Brand Consistency
One thing you must keep in mind is that there is no magical formula, shortcut or easy way to build brand consistency. Trust is a fragile house built brick by brick. In life and in business. So if you’re ready to do this, bear in mind that it takes time and patience. Don’t let your mind wander immediately to brands that had anecdotal overnight success and instant global recognition.
Apart from time and patience, building a brand takes:
- Strategic research
- Meticulous planning
- Loads of networking and communicating
And lest we forget – trust. Here, we are not referring to the trust that your consumers will have in you. We’re talking about the trust you need to have in your vision. You need to trust and believe in your vision.
That’s what takes the edge off. If you’re motivated by your vision, all that planning and commitment won’t be a burden – it’ll be a toolkit that gets you to your goal.
Once you believe in your brand, others will be able to follow suit. But remember you don’t necessarily have to go for widespread appeal. Instead, target those who are interested in your niche, and develop a product that suits their needs.
Brand Consistency in Product Design
Brand consistency in product design encompassess more than a few elements:
- The product’s usability and UX (user experience)
- The products look and feel
The product’s usability is certifiably great if it offers users a sense of familiarity and if the users know what to expect. That substantially makes it easier for users to further interact with the brand’s other products and with new updates you may release.
Providing consistent experience to users across multiple channels and products means paying attention to uniformed interactions, functionality, and workflow. That can be achieved by using the same icons and buttons, for example. Google is a great example of the consistency of the “Hey Google” interaction. No matter if you’re using Google Nest Hub Max or Sony X800H, you’ll be saying the same two words to activate Google Assistant.
Having the same look and feel across products, channels, and updates is important, as well. Visual and other sensory elements are product branding elements that help users identify you fast. These include materials, colors, audio snippets, and more.
What does Brand Consistency Means for Your Brand?
Brand consistency signals to users:
- Loyalty: People will know what to expect from you and the experience your business offers.
- Trust: Loyalty and trust go hand in hand! If users are loyal to you, that also means that they trust that you will bring them continuous positive interactions that meet their needs.
- Recognizability: Who doesn’t want to appear unique? Having a distinguishable look will make it easier for users to single you out if your competitors.
- Reliability: If it all comes together – great UX design and recognizable visual design, then users will have fewer issues with handing over their money to you in order to receive products and services.
And while the road to brand consistency is a long one, it’s a necessary one, riddled with rewards! Because once the gears are set in motion and you get into the groove, that also means that all of the business departments are working hard and in unison. This further helps your bond with users.
Best Steps for Building Brand Consistency in Product Design and Development
Whether you’re developing a new product or working on an upgrade, you can’t be guided by your hunch. You need to take into consideration the precise input you saw from your existing users.
What functionalities are they liking the most? Which elements are part of your brand’s essence? If you remove certain parts, will that cause your users to cheer or boo?
No matter what kind of functionality you add, you need to ensure there is proper onboarding.
We’ve rounded up some great tips to let you know how to ensure brand consistency in product design and development.
User Testing for Better Brand Consistency
Like we’ve said, you can’t work off of a hunch alone. You need to know what your users appreciate and what they don’t.
One good tip is to consult with both new and longtime loyal users. After all, your product should be accessible to those who’re meeting your product for the first time, and to those who already have some expectations and want them met.
Research what your users know about the product and if they are using something similar to your competition. Also, have users test multiple products from your business. Line them up and have them assess if they see a unified brand image. Can they seamlessly move from one product to another? Are the functionalities similar, or world’s apart? Keep diligent records of this research and use it for further steps.
Weave in All Departments
Branded UX and interactions should include all departments of your company. What’s the value and story of your product if not all employees are familiar with it?
So expand your horizons and have everyone chime in. Let them brainstorm and think about how, from their perspective and area of expertise, you can achieve brand consistency. And yes, that means that mechanical engineers can contribute to the branding process.
All the greatest brands and minds peek around for inspiration. Look at your favorite brands and your competition. What are the trends in your niche? Are you spotting a consistent motive used in UX across channels?
Do you see yourself leaning to a certain brand due to loyalty? Ask yourself why that is. The answer will surely be insightful.
We’ve already mentioned Google. Some other usual suspects for brand consistency include Netflix, Coca-Cola, Apple, and others. Picture their brands and you already have a myriad of their products in front of your ads. That’s brand consistency.
So if others have done it, why can’t you? Research your niche, your target audience, and start building that meticulously brand guideline to start off right today.