Building a loyal customer base is essential for any business’s success. Loyal customers are often advocates for your brand, referring you to friends and family and helping to grow your customer base even more. But in order to build and maintain a following of loyal customers, you need to ensure you’re delivering a positive customer experience.
Every interaction a customer has with your brand needs to be a positive one. To help you achieve that, you should focus on consistent branding throughout the entire customer journey. Strong branding helps customers feel confident in what your business has to offer and solidifies that trust and loyalty you work so hard to build.
To make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, consider how your brand appears at each stage of the customer journey.
What is a customer journey?
While every business is slightly different, most customers follow a basic framework when they’re deciding whether to make a purchase or do business with a company. The roadmap of experiences that leads them to their purchase decision is called the customer journey.
In other words, the customer journey includes all the experiences someone has with your brand—from first becoming aware of your company to purchasing from you regularly.
The main stages of the customer journey are:
Awareness: The potential customer has a need and becomes aware of your brand.
Discovery: The potential customer researches your brand to see if you can fill that need. They might compare you to other companies and their offerings.
Purchasing decision: The customer decides whether or not to purchase your product.
Retention: Your brand continues to engage the customer so that they return to purchase again and again.
Advocacy: The customer is loyal to your brand and encourages other customers to shop with you.
Why is consistent branding important?
In general, it takes 6-8 interactions for a customer to even consider purchasing from your brand. Keeping your branding consistent through every touchpoint bolsters your marketing efforts in multiple ways.
Most importantly, it creates an overall positive experience. It ensures that customers aren’t confused by inconsistent branding or messaging in the early stages of their journey, so they build more recognition and trust for your business. This helps you move them closer to a purchasing decision. After the customer has made a purchase, consistent branding will keep them coming back, because you’re a brand they know and trust.
How to build consistent branding
Follow these steps to ensure your branding is consistent across every step of the customer journey.
A customer might initially hear about your brand through an advertisement online, on TV, or in print. At every advertising touchpoint you use, make sure your branding is clear. Establish who you are and what you have to offer.
Include your business name and logo prominently on these ads, and display a clear brand promise. To entice the buyer, use customer-centric messaging that aligns with your brand’s voice and style.
Potential customers will likely research your company online to learn more once they’ve heard about you. You’ll want to maintain a consistent design—including color palette, set of fonts, imagery, and logos—across all digital channels, including your website, blog, and social media.
These channels should also include a clear value proposition and deliver on the brand promises you made in your ads. Demonstrate how you fulfill that promise using imagery and storytelling.
Don’t forget about your customer service channels, either! Your customer service team should be answering questions in a way that’s on brand. You should be responding to both positive and negative customer reviews in your standard voice, as well.
Once a customer decides to purchase from you, it’s your job to make them feel confident in that decision.
Carry your branding through to your in-store experience to minimize confusion when customers transition from digital to physical channels. You want customers to recognize that your store delivers on the same brand promise you have on your website. The overall design of your signage and décor should match your digital channels’, as should your messages and value proposition. Outside, use sidewalk signs, banners, flags, and window graphics to share those messages. Inside, make sure your wall and floor graphics, product displays, point-of-sale signage, business cards, and brochures match, too.
Packaging should also become part of your brand experience. Pay attention to the colors and designs of shipping boxes, product boxes, printed materials, bags, and even tape or ribbons to ensure they match your branding.
Additionally, ensure your sales team is using fresh, up-to-date, and consistently branded collateral. Your brochures, postcards, catalogues, look books, and stationery should feature similar elements to your digital channels and advertisements.
You’ve won the customer, but their journey is not over! If a customer has a negative or inconsistent experience with your brand during or after the purchasing process, they’re less likely to return.
Pay close attention to any follow-up communications you send customers and ensure you maintain that consistent logo, color palette, and design. All your marketing emails, direct mailers, social media posts, and retargeting ads should use those same elements to reinforce the customer’s understanding of your brand.
Great customer experiences start with strong branding
The importance of branding cannot be understated when it comes to building and reinforcing positive customer experiences. The more your customers come to understand and trust your brand, the more likely they will be to advocate for you. Don’t neglect any part of the customer journey—even after they purchase—to ensure you build a loyal customer base for the foreseeable future.