The importance of coherency
In the process of giving values to the brand platform coherency and constancy are fundamental qualities.
DESIGN - Jan 22, 2019
The months spent researching to determine a meaningful brand essence that communicates who you really are and what your valuable proposal is, are wasted months if the brand platform embodying such outcomes is not consistently and coherently translated into the communication and behaviour of the company.
In short, working on the brand is pointless if you do not then coherently apply the brand identity to and in tandem with all the touchpoints, both inside and outside the company. One single logo is not enough, regardless of how attractive or effective it may be.
What does it mean in practice to coherently apply the brand identity? Above all it means understanding the brand positioning, its values and its tone of voice.
It also means being aware of its main touchpoints; points of contact between the brand and the user. The brand does not only exist in the product and in “regular” advertising, but lives (and continuously communicates) through a broad range of concrete variations.
If we start from the most physical points of contact and then come to the less tangible ones, it is evident that there are different aspects to keep in mind when working on brand consistency. The role of packaging, for example, does not serve only to protect and transport a product, but can actually become a vehicle for messages relevant to the consumer, can make the experience of consuming a product more rewarding and enjoyable, and can give useful information on using it.
The physical stores also serve as important touchpoints and can build the experiential aspect of the brand. Palazzo Fendi, in Rome, is a flagship store that reflects the fashion house’s cultural heritage: “the history, art and beauty of Rome are part of Fendi’s DNA”. This elevated and certain message is delivered in a direct manner and is enriched not only by the collections and architecture of the palazzo, but by consistent experiences. The third floor of Palazzo Fendi has been transformed into the first Fendi hotel and the store is home to numerous unique installations, created by emerging artists.
We will now move on to talk about consistency in less physical terms. That is, the declension of the brand identity on a linguistic level. The brand’s verbal identity sets out its thematic content, which the brand narrative and, above all, the tone of voice, revolve around. The latter must be consistent with its identity and relevant to its target audience, making use of all kinds of communication channels. The Official Ferrari Magazine is Ferrari’s communication channel that coherently expresses its “champion” identity. All of the articles in the home page begin with key terms that leave no room for doubting the excellence of what is before the reader: “The Ferrari 246 Dino Tasmania dominated the 1969 Tasman Cup race series”, “Record triumph: the V8 Ferrari is Engine of the Year 2018”, or “Ferraris reach record prices at auction”… and we could go on to read about heroic, podium and sensational cars.
Virgin Group also insists on very different markets with sub-brands that have distinct visual identities, but maintains strong coherency at their base in terms of having a fresh, energetic and challenging tone of voice. Because of this Virgin is extremely recognisable.
To cultivate consistency between all the touchpoints in the brand identity, it is important to also focus on the company’s inner-workings: the presentation templates, the way of communicating, the register used with both clients and colleagues. Because the more you share and “live” a style, the easier it is to put it across to customers spontaneously.
It goes without saying that not everyone can have a store like Palazzo Fendi, but the concept remains the same. Even the simplest of exhibition stands can be designed to fully embody the brand essence and market positioning. As a matter of fact, there is no cost for coherency. At most it requires effort to truly understand who you are and enough rigour to declare your identity in every manifestation of the brand.
Massimiliano Frangi, Associate Creative Director at CBA