Who doesn’t like something shiny and new? We queue to buy the latest iteration of our favorite gadget and cram into theaters for a film’s opening night. We scour the globe for the next ‘undiscovered’ vacation spot and rush out each season to keep up with the latest fashion trend.
New is fun for everyone, but entrepreneurs in particular are likely to be susceptible the lure of the fresh and innovative. They gave up work at established enterprises to start something new after all.
But could your love of the surprising and untravelled be getting in the way of building an effective brand for your business? That’s the question M.P. Mueller, founder of Austin-based branding shop Door Number 3, tackled in a thought-provoking Austin Business Journal article. One of the most common challenges her clients face, she explains, is inconsistency.
"More often than not, we find that the right hand isn’t talking to the left hand. The company’s voice and messaging are like a drawer of mismatched socks," she writes. The ultimate cause of this confusion may be lack of communication or vision, but more often than not it’s what she terms "shiny object syndrome," which has its roots in founder restlessness. The cure, ironically, may be pushing through your boredom:
Recently, I visited with the CEO of a local startup and asked him about why his brand appeared differently on brochures, business cards and website. “We get bored,” he said.
Unfortunately, boredom is a poor excuse for inconsistency.
Newly established brands don’t have the luxury of Geico’s media dollars that enables them to feature a caveman in one ad and a gecko in the next. A startup needs to be consistent all the time, at every turn, and has to commit to a singular voice and a consistent message.
If your branding items aren’t conveying what makes your company unique in a way that your target audience will embrace, invest in a look and feel that does and then stick with it. The marketing team at Tiffany & Co. may be bored to tears by its signature robin egg-colored box, having to stare at it every day. But its dedication to brand consistency has made that box one of the most recognizable and valuable icons in luxury goods.
The key to excellent branding, she concludes in the article, is "unwavering consistency," which may involve you ignoring your own urge to experiment and tuning out the siren song of the shiny and new.
Is your branding boring enough?