Brand consistency, or brand congruency…which do you have?

In the world of marketing folks, the phrase “brand consistency” is tossed around. A lot. And as you likely know, it’s usually used to describe things like making sure the PMS colors are the same on all materials. Telling people not to reshape the logo file, and to use the right type faces on certain documents. Making sure people don’t create rogue materials at their branches, that don’t match with what the corporate marketing department churned out.

That’s all well and good. But I’d like to see the conversation shift to a more important and meaningful focus: brand congruency.

Here’s my definition of “brand congruency“: when all the elements and touch points of your brand feel like they were cut from the same cloth.

So how are brand consistency and brand congruency related?

Brand consistency can assist in brand congruency…but cannot achieve brand congruency alone. Brand congruency happens when everything–EVERYTHING–is “on-brand.” When every touch point has been crafted lovingly from a strong, committed bank or credit union brand strategy. When everything you experience from the brand, whether it was created at a branch, by corporate, or an agency, shares the same voice.

Brand consistency is overly simplistic; it’s cosmetic. It says “as long as you followed the graphic standards manual, that’s all that matters,” rather than saying “what’s most important is making sure everything we do feels like it came from the same family.”

Congruency builds strong, experiential financial brands that people can connect with. Consistency alone creates uniform-but-shallow brand marketings.

2 comments on “Brand consistency, or brand congruency…which do you have?

  1. I always stress the distinction between “consistency” — maintaining continuity from one day to the next — and “cohesion” — maintaining continuity from one channel to the next. But your terms (“consistency” vs. “congruency”) make the same distinction. Good post.

    1. Thanks for chiming in on this. Yeah, I think it’s really easy for a bank or credit union to get too focused solely on the issue of cosmetic consistency, and accidentally forget to focus on overall experiential cohesion and congruency.

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