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Consistent brand image not just about logos

Any junior brand manager can tell you that it is absolutely essential to maintain a consistent brand image, but sometimes even major brands can get out of synch.
Take Vodacom, for instance. I'm not sure exactly why there is a Vodashop and a Vodacom4U shop at my nearest shopping centre. They both seem to provide identical services, so why do they need two different names? Clearly Vodacom4U targets the youth market, while the original Vodashop aims for a more established target, but then why are the two shops selling exactly the same product range?

I suspect that Vodacom4U was initially a promotional concept with airtime packages designed specifically for teenagers, and that somehow it morphed into a retail chain without any real retail strategy. But Vodacom is an immensely strong brand, so this is hardly likely to impact on its shares.

But have a look at Ferrero Rocher chocolates. On one hand, it tries to present an exclusive, top-of-the-range image, and on the other, it is forever on promotion in Clicks. And while Clicks is a great retail chain, and no doubt gives Ferrero Rocher wide distribution across South Africa, it isn't exactly exclusive. In fact, surely the appeal of Clicks is quite the opposite; an accessibility and value proposition.

So I, for one, never see Ferrero Rocher chocolates as a luxury. In fact, because the chocolates are always “on special”, I harbour the suspicion that they couldn't possibly live up to the “Food for the Gods” message of their TV commercial. And I'd certainly be loath to buy a gift for a friend that looks as if it might only have been chosen because it was at a discounted price!

Kulula.com, on the other hand, is very consistent. Next time you fly Kulula, make a particular point of listening to the on-board safety messages - even these are wacky and irreverent. Who'd have thought that aviation regulations would provide an opportunity to entrench an impudent and innovative brand image?

Maintaining a consistent image is not just about making sure that the integrity of your corporate ID is in place; it is also critical to ensure that every touch point with your consumer is consistent.

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About Ann Druce

Ann Druce spent 15 years on the client side of the business, marketing major FMCG brands for big name companies, including Unilever and Adcock Ingram, before moving to the other side of the desk and joining an ad agency. Today she heads up Octarine Communications www.octarine.co.za, an advertising and design agency based in Durban, with national clients in the industrial, professional and consumer sectors. Contact Ann on tel (0)31 564 6921 or email . Read the Octarine blog at http://octarineopinions.blogspot.com.
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