As an ex-brand marketer there are certain tenets of branding that just can’t be played with. I’m a Leo and I’m stubborn. I can’t help it. One of these is consistency. All great brands are built on consistency. Without consistency, people don’t know what they can rely on you for or what to expect from you.

People need to know which box to put you in (in their heads) and if you confuse them, they can’t put you in a box and you’re a floater. Floaters drift off never to be remembered again. It’s a sad story.

So, you can imagine the sort of week I had when not one but TWO instances dared to suggest to me that consistency is not only something NOT to strive for, but that in the context of personal branding, impossible to achieve while being authentic.

WTF?! I know. If you need to take a moment and grab some fresh air, I understand. I’ll still be here.

courtesy @snowbadger

The first chink in my week came when Simon Manchipp @manchipp (he on the left) let me have a sneak preview of his design agency’s new website. Simon’s desgin agency SomeOne are a highly respected agency and are sought after by big brands for big branding projects. One of their current projects includes the Eurostar rebrand. Yeah. This guy knows his stuff.

So, to get a sneak peek of their new website is not something I’m going to pass by. I’m a tad nosey too.

The page headed Manifesto got my attention so that’s where I started. And that’s where I found this

It stopped me dead because somewhere I felt that they were saying that consistency = bad. I stared at the words, lost in thought. But they’re not. They’re focusing on the extreme definition of consistency which helps them to reinforce what they’re about; creating memorable brands.

Memorable is hard with consistency. That’s not the role of consistency. What makes you memorable is the magic and the sparks. Think Seth Godin’s Purple Cow. It’s the little surprises in life that make it delicious and interesting. And if you can harness magic moments into what you do, you’re more likely to be memorable.

One of their blog articles, One big idea isn’t the big idea, refines this further

Consistency is utterly misplaced as a central thought in branding. Coherence is what is important. Join it up everywhere, but don’t make it dull, repetitive and predictable (the very definition of consistent). Surprise, delight, entertain, inform and inspire.”

I realise this all sounds a bit corporate, but the same things can be said of personal brands. If you can surprise, delight, entertain, inform and inspire others, do you think that people will want to spend time with you? Do you think that people will want you on their team? Of course they will! By doing those things, in a coherant manner that makes sense to what you’re about, you’ll create an emotional connection with others that is sure to engage them. Once engaged on an emotional level, you’re on your way to build trust. And this is most defintely the best direction to be heading in.

So, while I’m going to stubbornly cling onto consistency as an an important aspect of branding (personal and business), I’m happy to relax my view and let coherence join the party too. But the soul of the party will most definitely be the magic & sparks!

If you want to read about the other incident that ruffled my feathers, I’m still writing it.. coming very soon!

So, what are your views on consistency in relation to branding? And how relevant is it to personal branding? Would love to know your thoughts! Leave your comment in the comment section below.

Read the follow up post: The Great Debate part 2