The importance of brand cohesion

21st Feb 2018

There is a board game on the market at the moment where the point is to identify brand logos. When you think about that it is an amazing testament to the subject of this article because those brands have developed their presence to such an extent that it is possible for a family to sit round a table and identify them. It really is a remarkable achievement in terms of the marketing when multiple generations can identify your product just by the logo.

The importance of brand cohesion

Of course, it takes years and some clever campaigns to get to the stage of mass recognition, but without one simple principle, it would have been at best a much longer and more onerous process and most likely have never happened. Attention to the consistency of the brand over multiple materials is a must if you want successful marketing. The elements of your brand, the graphics and other assets that are used in your marketing flow must produce a consistent message and reinforce your presence. It is cohesion of the brand that will generate the recognition.

A brand tends, very broadly speaking, to develop from two approaches. The first one is where the brand is launched with a full structure of style and uses guidelines that dictate very clearly where and how the assets of the brand are used. The second, and probably far more common one is where a brand has organically grown over many years via the work of many people. Both present their challenges in terms of maintaining consistency and cohesion.

For the brand that is created from scratch, you need to consider the appropriateness of the assets. Other questions will be raised such as the individuality of the brand in comparison to competitors and other brands that may cause confusion for the consumer. Colour and content of a logo, for example, may seem like a simple enough choice, but will it work on everything from letterheads to trade stand backdrops? What looks good on a website may well be fussy or unclear on another platform such as video. Print, which is very much in the top rank when it comes to getting a market response, has very different mechanical needs to something with perhaps a lower definition such as an email campaign.

Where a brand has grown organically, it can be even more difficult. One creative’s interpretation of a brand may well have differed from another over the period of development. Sometimes we see brands where the approach has been specifically to design for one media form, but this has not been suitable for another, so essentially a second sub-brand has been created to compensate. In the most difficult circumstances, a business can accidentally lose cohesion on brand and have multiple different ones running at the same time.

Consistency is king because it is needed for a unified brand and that creates the cohesion that builds your presence. In some ways, it is fair to say that your brand is your name, and nobody changes their name from one piece of marketing to the next.

Fortunately, it is not too onerous a task to ensure that consistency is there from the start, or that it is instilled later, but you need the experience to know where and how to implement it. For this reason, we often start with cohesion when we discuss marketing with our clients. Cohesion is the reason that the game we mentioned at the beginning works for the players. When they recognise a brand, they are not saying ‘That brand is X’, they are really saying ‘That brand cannot be anything but X because it always looks and feels the same.’

Now let’s just put that thought into the context of a marketing campaign or an exhibition or event. Talking to us first to plan your merchandise, support materials and other assets will not only result in a cohesive approach, but we will gather all your needs into one simple working process that will save you time, money and ensure you meet your campaign or event objectives.

Your brand or brands must be striking, suitable and used correctly to present the right message to your customer. They must have cohesion over all materials to make sure that the message sticks.

By David Nelson, PDS Lead Creative

Our studio ensures you get the right balance for your brand and cohesion across all communications. Call our design team on 01933 672 150.

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