As I was looking for inspiration for this blog I came across a quote about consistency. Now, I like me a good Oscar Wilde quote as much as the next person, but this one just rubbed me the wrong way—“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” While I understand why a creative mind might see consistency in that light, my business mind sees consistency as the difference between success and failure.
I am breaking my ideas around consistency and its maintenance into a three-part blog simply because it allows me to dive deeper into the Why, What and How of this seriously underappreciated aspect of good business.
Consistency in action
Let’s try something out, what is the first thing that comes to mind when I say coffee? Did you think Starbucks, Folgers or Lavazza? Regardless of what came to your mind, that brand has embedded itself in your psyche as your coffee go-to. These purveyors of coffee have invested huge amounts of money and effort over the years to become your brand of coffee. In my case, Starbucks is my go-to, and I know exactly what I am getting because they have focused on consistency:
- Employees have all been provided the training to create my coffee the way I like it every time I walk into a store.
- I get friendly, happy service and not by accident.
- Those same employees have also been provided brand culture training on customer experience.
Ultimately, I can walk into any of the 27,339 Starbucks in the world knowing I will have a similar, if not exactly, the same experience I have in my very own neighborhood. That experience is based on creating and maintaining the consistency of the brand.
Why does consistency matter?
What exactly is consistency? Dictionary.com defines consistency as:
- steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.: Honda’s safety consistency gives parents of teenage drivers peace of mind.
- agreement, harmony, or compatibility, especially correspondence or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing: She has a consistency of messaging throughout the website.
So WHY is it so important to you and your client/consumers? Well, it’s because consistency:
- provides the structure and processes that help control your brand image.
- protects your investment in marketing and branding and builds it as you grow your company’s reach.
- sets the standard regarding your focus, intentionality and whether you follow through.
- builds customer experience expectations.
You can apply these reasons to corporations all the way down to individuals. On the flip side, who hasn’t felt the loss of trust or disappointment when experiencing a lack of consistency?
An example from my own life
I am going to hold myself up as an example of What Not to Do. First, I am a world-class, card-carrying procrastinator. I kid myself that I work best under pressure, but we all know that’s not necessarily the case. Second, I recently promised to have this blog done two weeks ago, instead, I am finishing this up under pressure, stressed out and feeling I am self-sabotaging my brand.
- Clearly, I have created a negative perception of my brand by not delivering on time.
- Any effort I may have expended around my brand may have been negated.
- My procrastination has created an appearance of lack of intentionality.
Need I go further? You and I both know this lack of consistency must be addressed immediately or I will have the upward climb of trying to change the perception of my brand or have to [gulp] start cold calling.
If you agree to the WHY, join me next week for the WHAT. If you don’t agree to the WHY, send me your thoughts, this grasshopper knows when to consult with a master of consistency.
Need help with your consistency? Let’s talk! We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee leadership coaching firm that specializes in business coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development training.