In a world of constant change, you may be tempted to keep changing course. But there’s a lot to be said for ploughing the same furrow. Think about brands you know and like, that are successful year in, year out. They have one thing in common- they keep on doing what they’re doing. That’s not to say that they don’t evolve. But they stick to their core principles, their values, their purpose. They’re consistent with their products and services, and how they sell them.
What are the main benefits of keeping to the same path?
Consistency lets you measure properly.
Until you’ve tried something new for a certain period of time and in a consistent manner, how do you know if it works or not? Your product or service may have benefited from some short-term blip in the market. It could be impacted on by supply issues. It may be the result of some action taken by your competitors.
It’s only by keeping to your strategy over a prolonged period that you’ll know if your new product or service succeeded or not. Don’t be too quick to judge something a success or a failure. If you have faith in your business strategy, let your product or service have its day (or months) in court.
Consistency leads to accountability.
You shouldn’t only talk to your team when things go wrong. You need to be speaking to them on a regular basis, about how the strategy for your products or services is working. By doing this continually, you build trust in your team. It shows that you value them, and that they have a key role to play in building your business.
The reverse is also true. If you’re inconsistent in the way you communicate with your team it can lead to confusion, and uncertainty. People are creatures of habit. Having the right system in place to talk regularly can pay dividends.
Consistency helps build your reputation.
To attract customers, talent, and investors you need a track record of success. You can’t establish a track record if you are constantly changing direction or trying new tactics. If you think of the most successful companies, Apple, Amazon, Dyson, they stick to what they’re best at. People like them because they know what they stand for.
A business that keeps changing may be interesting in the short term, but over a long period they can lose their appeal. The company Tchibo used to change their stock regularly. This made them interesting. For a while. But they eventually ceased trading in the UK. Customers were unsure what they stood for.
Consistency makes your brand more appealing.
Do you talk to your customers, employees, stakeholders with a constant message, in a similar tone, or do you change tack all the time? One of the biggest problems today is that businesses change their advertising campaigns, and their agencies, with ever increasing regularity, when what customers really want is consistency.
When you have a campaign that works, stick with it, until research or falling sales tell you it’s run its course, and it’s time to change direction. The temptation to try something new is often flawed. Your employees and your customers need a predictable flow of information from you. If you changes your messages all the time, people will stop listening to you.
Consistency maintains your status.
Actions speak louder than words. That’s why leaders need to be consistent not just with their business strategy, but in the way they deal with their customers, employees and stakeholders. We can all have good and bad days, but its best to try and keep an even keel. No-one wants to work with someone who is Dr Jekyll one minute, and Mr Hyde the next. What you say and do will have much more impetus if delivered in a consistent way.
Being consistent can be hard. The lure of trying something new, or growing bored with your product or service, can mean you change tack too soon. To grow value in your business it may pay to invest in that most valuable of commodities. Time.