This piece originally appeared on AllBusiness.com.
When it comes to developing sustained business success, there’s one word that sticks out: consistency. Whether you’re developing a logo or typing up employee progress reports, consistency typically precedes success.
Are you making it a priority in your organization?
The Value of Consistency in Marketing and Management
Consistency matters at every level of an organization, but if forced to pinpoint the two most critical areas, marketing/branding and management are at the top of the list. When looking at marketing, Coca-Cola (KO) is a leader in consistent brand messaging.
“For Coca-Cola maintaining ‘brand consistency’ is a strategic commitment that is in many ways just as vital to their success as their secret formula,” North Star Marketing explains. “In fact, exporting their messaging is so important to Coke that they spend more on branding annually than Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) combined–all so we, the consumers, will prefer their brand. This consistency extends across every medium, every advertisement, every package, every bottle, every aluminum can.”
As for management, it’s imperative that businesses focus on consistency in terms of hiring practices, training procedures, and company policies. This doesn’t mean you can’t change the way things are done, but it does mean that changes should be rooted in the same consistent message.
Consistency in the workplace creates accountability, enhances your reputation, and gives you an opportunity to measure results and make sure things are moving in a positive direction.
For more on the business advice, watch this Fortune video:
Four Tips for Making Consistency a Reality
Saying you value consistency in marketing and management and actually making consistency a priority are two very different things. Here are some tips for making consistency a reality in your organization:
1. Develop a Plan. Start with a written plan. If consistency is going to be a priority, you need to write down goals, mission statements, and other specifics. This is the only way you’ll be able to hold people and processes accountable when something isn’t done correctly.
2. Use the Right Tools. It’s nearly impossible to establish organizational consistency across the board without the assistance of various tools and technologies. This is especially true in our current age of digital information. As an example, here are three specific tools you could be leveraging:
- CentreStack—In the past, most business operations took place in a single environment: the office. Today, thanks to mobile devices and cloud technology, employees can located all over the world. CentreStack gives you the ability to provide secure access to files in a consistent manner, regardless of the device or browser used.
- Hootsuite—Maintaining a consistent brand image requires you to carefully manage and monitor a variety of social networking platforms. But how can you stay on track when jumping from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest to Snapchat? You can’t…unless you have a social media management tool like Hootsuite. This powerful tool lets you manage all of your profiles in one location.
- TSheets—When it comes to management, you obviously need a way to track every employee’s time in an efficient manner. But what happens when you have some employees in the office and others on the road? Well, you need TSheets. This GPS time tracker allows you to track both the time and location of all employees from the time they clock in until the time they clock out.
There are hundreds of other tools for varying needs, but these three examples show just how useful it can be to have the right tool at your fingertips.
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3. Get Everyone on the Same Page. You can have the right goals and top-of-the-line tools in place, but they don’t mean anything unless employees are on board. Meet with your employees on a group and individual basis to let them know what your company stands for and how important it is for them to consistently uphold the values you’ve developed.
4. Know When to Adapt. Consistency doesn’t mean you have to stick to your guns, no matter what. Sometimes changes in technology or shifts in the marketplace make it necessary to push your brand in a new direction. The key is to know when to adapt–and to do so without compromising your brand’s principles. In other words, it’s fine to change the way you do something or how you say something, but you don’t want to change the “why” behind it.
Consistency Leads to Success
If you study successful brands, it’s clear that they prioritize consistency in their marketing and management efforts. While it certainly takes time and effort, your business will benefit from making consistency a priority.