For some reason, consistency gets a bad rap from many people. You may have heard some brush it aside with a quote: “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” In other words, consistency is valued only by people who aren’t bright or creative enough to value variety.

Well, not quite. That’s a misquote of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who actually wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Note that the word “foolish” appears before “consistency,” changing the whole meaning.

When it comes to marketing and advertising, consistency is critical. That statement flies in the face of many people within the industry and the clients they serve. Those folks view consistency as boring, and they tend to be easily bored people. So they always want to do something new and different.

But your customers and prospects don’t monitor your ads and marketing as closely as you do. You may be tired of an ad that you’ve run 100 times, but they may have seen it only once or twice. If you keep changing your approach, your look, and your message, they won’t be sure of who you are or what actions you want them to take.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Just look at the companies that have become industry leaders and maintained their positions for many years — names like Apple, Target, Starbucks, Southwest, and many others. You recognize their signage, their advertising, and every other public impression. Yes, they may have changes within the framework, but that framework itself is consistent. You know what those companies stand for, and they fulfill your expectations when you do business with them.

Too many companies lack the patience to be consistent, so their marketing and advertising becomes a hodgepodge of strategies and approaches and designs. By keeping your own efforts consistent over the long term, you’ll outlast theirs, and people will have no doubt as to what you’re all about.