In one hundred nineteen countries, people walk past golden arches and know it is McDonalds. Why do consumers recognize McDonalds and their logo so readily? This widespread identification is not because of sky high Big Macs or boxes of salty greasy potatoes. It is the power of a name, but not only a name–a name which has grown to be a brand. A brand which has swept across one hundred nineteen countries and is not stopping anytime soon. McDonalds will open locations in Tunisia and Nigeria this year to increase their success to one hundred twenty-one countries. (Google)
What can I really learn from McDonald’s?
Their success can be credited to being true to their brand and remaining reliable. When a consumer walks through the door for a Happy Meal, they want to find the food and experience as they expect. This is not to say that changes can never be made. McDonalds has downplayed Ronald McDonald himself, but the company knew that people were not coming to McDonalds for the clown. Also since Ronald was not a part of their logo, he was seen as a less than integral part of the restaurant. Clearly, the restaurant has not been hurt by this change. Additionally, their menu has made changes to include healthier options for the nutrition conscious. These changes were made without giving up the essence of their brand. Your company may be much smaller than McDonalds, but their example can highlight principles which made them the largest fast food chain in the world.
Your brand defines your company.
At the core, branding is “the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company.” (Jay Baer) Creating and maintaining a consistent brand is an art and a science. It takes creativity to establish a well-known brand and it takes the utmost of precision to maintain the balance of consistency.
Brand consistency is appealing and comforting to customers.
Your company having a brand identity is essential for success in a competitive market. Your brand– which encompasses your name, logo, tone, tagline, and typeface–sets your company apart from the competition as well as highlights the essence of who you are. Consumers are more likely to gravitate towards a company with an approachable brand identity. Consumers want to feel like they have a relationship with your company. That connection not only will encourage loyal repeat customers or clients, but also customer referrals. The most inexpensive and effective method of marketing is word of mouth. If your loyal customers are pleased, they will likely tell their family and friends to use your company. If your brand is established, your customers should have no trouble remembering your business.
The importance of having a brand is easily recognized, but why is consistency so powerful?
Consistency is powerful because it is human nature to crave order and routine. When a customer becomes aware of your company, they have comprehended your business and now have expectations in light of how you have highlighted your company. In the same way that when someone walks into McDonalds, they expect their Big Mac. Your consumers are going to expect your organization to still be true to the same advertised values and core. If your company is known for specializing in 24/7 personalized tech support and you suddenly start using automated systems, you have strayed away from your identity.
Be true to your brand.
Even seemingly small changes such as color changes to your logo could be jarring to your consumer base. For a few years, Walmart tried to move away from their bright blue color scheme to something more serene and earthy. Recently, they have begun restoring stores back to the previous blue because they have realized the importance of brand consistency. Although they thought it to be trivial, blue was part of their brand identity. Staying true to your customers’ expectations is vital for your company’s longevity.
Brands help establish relationships.
Relationships are the driving force in the business world. Establishing a brand identity and maintaining that identity are key to keeping a favorable relationship with your customers. If your company is ready for branding, Harbin Designs, based in Peachtree City, is prepared to help your company develop a successful brand which you will actually want to maintain in the years to come.