There is no wrong time to make sure your marketing activities are working as intended. At mid-year, though, this may be the last, best time to have a meaningful impact on this year’s performance.

There is a lot to assess. From a thorough audit of your communications, marketing, social media and messaging to ensuring strict adherence to your brand guidelines for brand consistency. It all matters.

We’ve recently published our, “Guide: Mid-Year Marketing and Communications Assessment.” Please check it out when you can, but I want to spend just a few words clarifying some commonly misunderstood words used by us marketers.

To ensure brand consistency, it first requires clarification of two other commonly used terms: brand and brand guidelines. Let’s start with brand.

What is a brand? I won’t go through the evolution of this term. And, it is true that the word “brand” can mean different things to different people. Generally, though, as reported from The Brand Dictionary, “brand” is often defined as “a person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organization.”

In other words, “brand” is experiential and not simply nomenclature or imagery. It may have started as a mark or a product name, but it has evolved into much more.

What are brand guidelines?  This is, perhaps, a little easer to wrap your head around. Brand guidelines are the set of rules that govern all brand communications. A comprehensive brand guidelines document includes the brand positioning (the basis upon which all the guidelines should be derived), as well as the rules for how to talk about, write about and design for the brand. Voice, grammar, logos, color palettes, fonts and photography style are all typically detailed within the guidelines. At this link you can explore multiple examples of brand guidelines.

So, now, what is brand consistency? According to the creative aggregation website called Medium, brand consistency refers to how “on-brand” all of your company’s marketing content is, with respect to your brand identity and brand guidelines. Being “on-brand” is brand consistency. It means there is adequate operational and creative discipline to ensure adherence to the brand guidelines when presenting, discussing and experiencing your brand.

If now is a good time to ensure brand consistency, it assumes that you have a helpful set of brand guidelines that adequately capture the essence of your brand that, in turn, ensures a consistent customer or consumer experience with your product or service.

Take advantage of this mid-year pause and give yourself a good brand check-up.