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What is Brand Integrity and Why is it Essential?

Most businesses see the list of things that go into branding as a checklist - they create it and then move on. While it’s certainly a good thing to get those boxes checked, your brand ethos and values will be little more than words in a document if you forget them or fail to hold your business’s actions to them.

When you fail to uphold your business to your brand standards, you lose brand integrity.

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What is Brand Integrity?

Brand integrity is the measure of how your customers perceive you - it encompasses how they view your products and services, reputation, and values. While it’s difficult to ensure every customer has a flawless customer experience, ensuring the majority of your customers have a repeatable experience that aligns with your brand is essential to maintaining high brand integrity.

As soon as you slip up and do something that doesn’t meet the expectations you set for your brand, your brand integrity is damaged.

Why is brand integrity important?

1. Trust

Your brand integrity is a measurement of how much your customers feel able to trust you. Brands with high integrity are honest and know how to create a replicable experience for customers that aligns with their brand values. Their content and language are consistent across all touchpoints, showing customers that they can expect more of the same from them.

When you make mistakes and forget to enforce your brand voice, values, and so on, the relationship between you and your customers will suffer. In the same way that we find it difficult to interact with unpredictable people, we mistrust brands that feel unpredictable.

2. Loyalty

People do not become superfans of brands that are inconsistent - they can’t, because they have nothing to advocate for. They need a message, brand values, and key positive selling points they want to share with anyone who will listen.

For example, think about a brand (it can be a personal brand) that you adore and find yourself returning to again and again. What would you say about them if you were recommending them to a friend? You might say something like “they’re genuine, their customer service is fast and friendly, they care, they advocate for human rights, and they go above and beyond to make sure you have success with their service.”

If you aren’t consistent, they won’t be able to latch onto these things because they don’t exist - if your customer service goes above and beyond one day and is unhelpful the next, people won’t know what to expect and so won’t want to recommend you to others.

3. Stand Out

What makes you different from your competitors? If you have strong brand integrity, no other brand is going to resonate with the same audience as you do. Your competitors will either have a unique brand that resonates with a different audience, or they’ll have so little brand integrity that you’ll immediately stand out. Focusing on maintaining your brand integrity is the only way to ensure your ideal customer only wants to do business with you. After all, if you deliver everything they want and you speak directly to them, why would they choose anyone else?

If you’ve done the hard work of creating your brand identity, don’t drop the ball and forget to maintain it. Creating and maintaining your brand is hard when you’re juggling so many other balls, making sure your business is operating smoothly and delivering on its promises, but the added effort can be easily built into SOPs and will pay dividends over time.

If you need a little more guidance on branding, here are several other resources you need to read:

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