I had my first cappuccino at The Standard in Miami this morning and all was good, so I ordered a second. This time it came with The Standard logo on it beautifully created in cinnamon. Now I don't like cinnamon so I scraped it all off. No one told me it was going to be different and it irritated me.
This simple little experience reminded of my two favourite words in brand building 'Ruthless Consistency'. For the last 25 years whenever I have used those two words with clients they have always grabbed them. For some reason they have been the two most popular words in my lexicon and they still are by far.
So why is ruthless consistency so important? Well we all hate surprises and we all like to know, as much as we can, what our brand experience is going to be like.
An inconsistent experience no matter how small can really affect the moment and ultimately our brand loyalty. An inconsistent approach to communications can result in noise where important messages cancel each other out. Wasting valuable marketing dollars.
Internally for clients these two words seem to provide a company with a key piece of glue. Helping them align their teams around the importance of a consistent external communications program or a consistent retail or call centre experience. They help them educate their employees and avoid those irritating little differences we hate.
So next time you are creating a new retail format or call center guide or social media campaign remember to ask yourself - how will this help my brand build a consistent customer experience?
After all no one wants two different cappuccinos.