Like the other day when I was in the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York and I came across an exhibit about Chuck Jones' animated characters the Road Runner and Coyote.

There was a list of rules that those two characters had to abide by every episode, including:

• Coyote can never be harmed by anything other than his own actions.
• There must be no dialogue other than the roadrunner's classic beep-beep.
• The road runner must never leave the road… or else he isn't a road runner.
• Coyote must be more humiliated than harmed by his failures.

There were nearly 10 rules like this.

The rules reminded me of the Don't Be Sick campaign we did in 2009. We developed a character named Melvin who always did the wrong thing—he got germs all over the place. It was very tempting to use the character to show proper behaviour though. He could have been washing his hands or using hand sanitizer—but that would have been out of character.

It's important for characters to be consistent in order to be believable. The blurb on the museum wall stated that in the Road Runner's case, consistency added a depth of "pathos and order to what would otherwise have been mere slapstick." 

It's easy enough to understand that consistency is important in branding, but there are often overlooked corners where this is important. Whether it's a campaign brand or an organization's brand, consistency goes much deeper than colour and font.

How have you created consistency in your company?
Does your phone system and your front desk align with your website experience? Does every staff member know and understand your organization’s brand values? Do the characters of your campaign stay true to their role?

 

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