The Essential Brand Management Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier

May 11, 2021

Successful long-term branding is essential for every company. And the key component for good branding is being consistent. Your company needs to deliver a predictable experience to your stakeholders in order to build trust and loyalty. Given the importance of branding consistency, and the countless points of contact between your brand and the public, it’s essential to have your brand consistency locked down. One way to do this is to have a VP of Brand who oversees everything, but this is time-consuming, expensive, and just not feasible once a company grows beyond a few employees. Thankfully, tech can help out.

What Are Brand Management Tools?

Brand management tools are, in their simplicity, tools that help manage your brand. But what is brand management and is it the same as building your brand? These two terms are often confused with each other.

When we search for content on brand management, we usually see articles on positioning your brand, creating a mission and a vision for your brand, or finding an identity for your brand. These topics are fairly well known and generally tackled at the early stage of starting or branding an initiative or a company. This is what we refer to as ‘brand building’. A very important set of actions and decisions to execute (and reiterate and evaluate every so often) but nailing your brand early on doesn’t make it successful.

Building a brand (things you generally do once): 

Brand name and logo
Brand style (colours, fonts, tone of voice, visuals)
Brand positioning
Mission and vision for your brand

After building a brand comes managing a brand. It’s making sure that your brand is communicated consistently by all your stakeholders; your employees, customers, shareholders, and others. It’s making sure that your brand is clear, that branded content follows your guidelines, and that there are no stretched logos or inappropriate imagery associated with your brand. 

Managing a brand (constant, iterative work):

Brand consistency
Brand strategy
Building trust with your audience
Brand awareness
Brand alignment
Brand recognition

Brand communication 

Who Are These Tools For?

There are many stakeholders internally and externally that benefit from using brand management tools. These tools don't just make your brand better, well-defined, and more recognizable, they also help with issues linked to brand management, like collaboration, communication, coordination, and efficiency.

Brand managers

The brand team should naturally be involved when it comes to tools that can make or break the success of your brand. Brand managers own the thankless task of being the guardians of the brand. They don’t need a brand management tools because they don’t know about branding but because it’s their job to create alignment with the rest of the company who are not brand experts. Brand management tools can solve the branding team's troubles by streamlining brand operations, automating the unnecessary, and connecting everyone to your message.

Marketing team

Marketing teams – the champions of bringing in leads, generating demand, managing the lifecycle of content and keeping target audiences engaged – are struggling to stay consistent through all channels and messages, grow content output, and maximize their efficiency. Brand management tools can erase their troubles by making sharing, creating, controlling and publishing all your brand’s stories easy and efficient.

Sales

Sales teams need ways to quickly get content that will impress leads, build relationships and thought leadership and, most importantly, close more deals. Sales people don’t have time to study brand guidelines in depth, or track down rights for customer quotes and case studies. They are looking to bring new business to the company and would rather automate the time consuming brand management stuff. 

Partners like agencies and resellers or franchisers

If you are working with distributors, agencies, resellers and other external partners to sell or market your products or services, you know they are not necessarily masters of designing promotional content. We often see ads and banners that are stretched, bad quality and in no way consistent in their use of colors, images or fonts. Your partners don't have the time or the skills to create professional materials, and they rely on you to support them. Brand management tools can help provide support for your external partners so they can create the promotional materials they need without breaking brand consistency.

The Essential Brand Management Toolset 

There’s a ton of software that can streamline your brand work, giving you confidence in how your brand is being presented to the world without needing to get your hands into everything. Here are some of our favorite tools for enforcing brand excellence:

digital asset manager
Digital Asset Management System: Would you like to find a photo of a product taken at a specific side angle? Or would you like to use a campaign picture from two years ago and want to be sure that you are allowed to use it? Are you looking for an image that has the exact same shade of red as your company logo? Or would you like to use a picture with the brand logo on it, which is still up to date?

Digital Asset Management systems (DAM) are robust platforms that let you store, organize, manage and distribute all of your digital content, from images to videos and beyond. It goes above file-sharing platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox, and eliminates the need to waste time searching through folders or emailing back and forth to get the right asset. It improves your brand consistency by offering the user content that is never outdated.

03 How does it work

Style Guide Creation Tools: Brand guidelines are not just documents that collect information about your brand. They are a key to brand alignment. Storing brand guidelines on a PDF document and sharing updated versions over and over again will lead to misalignment because so many versions exist. It becomes a hassle for your colleagues to find out which file is the correct one and who's hard drive it's on.

If all your stakeholders know how to find your brand guidelines, know what they are and how they apply to their specific role, you have achieved brand alignment, a critical measure when it comes to customer attraction and satisfaction. 

05 Create and Publish
Locked Content Templates: One of the biggest marketing and branding trends in the recent years is (and will continue to be) content scalability. There are two key reasons for this:

  1. People need more content to be convinced.
  2. They want personalized messages that speak to them directly.

Companies are looking for ways to create more with less resources so they can be visible, relevant, and interesting to their target audience. On-brand content templates allow you and your colleagues to create and publish branded content directly from your asset storage solution without any design skills. No need to upload and download different versions to edit or create material, why not just do everything from one system!

Make sure that you opt for a solution that allows you to work with professional design software. Working with the locked templates needs to be easy for the end-user but the quality should still be at a professional level. Lytho, for example, partners with Adobe through advanced integrations so that all materials created are top quality.

Lytho’s Brand Management Solution

There is no sense in buying several different solutions to maximize your brand’s consistency and connect all stakeholders to it. Especially since all these tools need to work closely together in order to reach your branding goals. Implementing several different pieces of software risks inconsistencies (exactly what you are trying to reduce) and it can be a complex structure to manage and, as we all know, users hate logging in and working from a bunch of different systems to get their work done. That’s why we developed Lytho, the central location and most user-friendly solution for all your brand management activities.09 BMS vs DAM-1We can help you scale content and make your brand guidelines reach and resonate with all your employees and partners so you can focus on building a great brandWith Lytho, you can:

  • Securely store, share, and create all of your digital assets in a central location — no more duplicates, no more missing files.
  • Manage interactive brand guidelines so that content is always consistent.
  • Save time from coordination and build your brand awareness by creating new content.
  • Enable your external stakeholders to stay brand consistent with locked content templates.
  • Break through the designer bottleneck and enable everyone to create their own on-brand materials with a software that is so easy to use it requires no training.
  • Reduce agency costs.
  • Integrate with all your favorite software, including Adobe InDesign. 

How to Choose The Right System

What kind of a solution is the best for managing your brand? Our recommendation is to focus on user experience, in addition to the functionalities your team needs. Otherwise, your tool will not be adopted by your teams and files will continue to live in unauthorized locations. When Lytho’s Brand Management Solution was designed and built, we prioritized intuitiveness and efficiency without sacrificing advanced technical features. These were some of the aspects you should consider when trying to score your DAM partner for user experience:

Taxonomy. Taxonomy is the way your tool organizes your data (digital assets). Most digital asset management systems use the old-fashioned folder structure which is not the most efficient, or intuitive way of storing your content. Think about it, when you go to Google or Pinterest you don’t open a folder and start eyeing different categories hoping to find the content you are looking for. That’s why you should opt for a more modern taxonomy.

Interface. Many brand management tools were built over a decade ago, which is why they have an early 2000s retro look about them. While it can be endearing to hop on down the memory lane to reminisce what using the World Wide Web was like back in the day, you really need a system that has a UI to match the modern workforce.

Translations/language support. If you are a globally operating company, have several official languages or market and sell your product or service in more than one country, you need a solution that supports translations and multiple languages.

AI assistance. AI helps automate and predict tasks that are often mundane and take a lot of time day-by-day. Make sure that your preferred partner has skills in building AI-driven functionalities so your users can get off easier. Lytho, for example, has many AI functionalities. One of them is auto tagging, which ensures that when new assets are uploaded, they are correctly tagged for optimal findability. One thing less for your users to worry about.

Advanced search. How do your users find your brand's content? If you are at a phase where you’re getting demos from different solutions, pay extra attention to the search capabilities of systems. With Lytho, you can look up images or videos by name or size, of course, but also by the exact shade of a certain color, ratio, file format, campaign, and so on.

Open API. An advanced brand management solution is not just a tool on its own, it should also integrate with your way of working and mould into your larger strategy. That’s why you need a tool that works together with other software that is important to you. Lytho's generic API gives developers the opportunity to create integrations with other applications.

In conclusion, while there are many things you should keep in mind when assessing which system is the best fit for your needs, don’t forget the user experience. It may be more important than you realize for the overall success of your project. 

Would you like to learn more about how essential brand management tools can help sharpen up your brand and boost your success? Check out this white paper on Lytho's Brand Management Solution:

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