A brand is the personality a consumer creates for the organizations or products he or she interacts with. Consumers attribute characteristics to organizations to help themselves understand and then engage or avoid them. Brands can be hopeful, helpful, funny, tired, aloof or cold. Consumers create and revise brand personalities every time they come into contact with the organization. These interactions leave impressions on the consumer’s memory. Visualize the impression a branding iron leaves on the backside of a cow and you begin to appreciate the value of each of your interactions with students, parents, alumni, donors and friends. Consistency is essential to building and maintaining a strong brand for two reasons.
First, consumers compare each new interaction to memories of previous interactions. When each successive interaction reinforces previous interactions, brand strength is increased. When interactions conflict with each other, the consumer is left thinking the brand is confused and weak. Second, competition for the consumer’s mind is fierce with organizations competing for milliseconds of their attention through a steady barrage of commercial messages.
Consistency in CBU’s message and presentation improves the viewer’s (or listener’s) comprehension and increases the likelihood he or she will understand our message in the brief moment we have to communicate it to them. This guide has been developed to help every member of the CBU workforce (1) understand that he or she IS the CBU brand, and (2) properly and consistently represent the brand in all visual and verbal communications. These guidelines are not intended to discourage fresh and creative new expressions of the CBU brand but to provide a framework that ensures consistency and continuity across the organization and into the future.