In praise of brand consistency

The idea for this blog piece came to me while I was having my hair cut last Saturday.

It occurred to me, in amongst the whir of hairdryers and heat of straighteners, that I like my hairdressers because they are consistent. Consistent from the time you first clap eyes on their building sign to the moment you walk out the door – all sharp edges and serum.

Unfortunately many brands – both large and small -  often lose that consistency somewhere along the line; either by providing a fantastic service, but forgetting about their marketing, or by executing wonderful marketing  campaigns (think BT’s answer to the Maxwell House couple – all modern day new-age family angst) and then failing to follow through on the service.

In fact it’s the latter that really makes us mistrust a brand. I don’t hate BT because their service is terrible; I hate BT because their service is terrible and they pretend it’s not.

Good brands don’t scrimp on anything. They do what Complete Hair and Beauty does, and tie it all up. So you don’t end up feeling disappointed, or worse still, fail to make it through the door in the first place.

But what exactly is my hairdresser doing right?

The marketing

Firstly, my hairdressers have made sure that they’re seen. They’ve ignored the 1950s flats and dodgy-looking newsagent next door, stuck their fingers up to ‘location, location, location’ and added a stylish presence in an area where previously there was none.

It’s that simple little thing – getting a decent sign composed from a decent brand - that enticed me to go in.

And unlike a lot of small B2C businesses, they also have a website. Not content to just rely on passing trade, they’ve gone digital and made sure they have a web presence. It’s not the best looking website I’ve ever seen, but it’s functional, it appears on Google and it even works on a mobile.

Plus, they have these nice little loyalty cards that encourage you to go back – very simple, but actually pretty darned effective.

The experience

When you walk into Complete Hair and Beauty they’re always pleased to see you. You get a good head wetting as well as one of those semi-sexual (let’s be honest) head massages, and they actually give you the cut that you asked for. This in itself is a revelation: a hairdresser that doesn’t just deal in this season’s haircut and the Rachel look (seriously people, it was 1995!).

And when all’s said and done, they don’t charge the earth for it.

It’s complete

That’s really all there is to it. My hairdresser has a good, solid, consistent brand. There’s no ‘I wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like that’ or ‘Oh my god, what you have you done to me?’ Everything that happens is as you would expect – no over promising and under delivering; the scourge of any brand.

Because really, when it comes to being successful, you can’t live on a marketing lie and then slap your customers with a wet fish. Nor can you have the most wonderful experience but fail to tell anyone about it.

Get it just about right all the way the way through and you’re onto something.

N.B. if you’d like a more intelligent discussion of some of the principles discussed above, have a read of John Bunyard’s The Honest Persuaders.

The author - Rosie Heptonstall

Rosie is Clever Business Websites' Marketing Manager. She's still in search of her dream haircut and before you ask - yes the CBW brand is consistent; we're awesome at everything.