Is your brand identity consistently communicated across all channels?
Managing a brand and using it consistently can be a challenge, especially in larger organizations where Marketing/Communications are decentralized and sometimes even spread out across various regions, countries or continents. What are the tell-tale signs that it's time to seriously (re)invest in brand management?
Before we begin, here's a short marketing 101 just to know we're on the same page:
Your brand identity is the way you want your customers to perceive your brand. Your brand image is how people actually perceive it. Inconsistency, errors, and false information can damage your brand such that there's a gap between your desired brand identity and the actual perception of your brand. Or, that you start losing brand value.
Managing a brand and using it consistently can be a challenge, especially in larger organizations where Marketing/Communications are decentralized and sometimes even spread out across various regions, countries or continents.
If one of the following points sounds a little too familiar, you might want to consider investing more time and resources in your brand identity and brand management.
- Does published marketing content comply with your brand guidelines?
An enlarged logo placed where it's not supposed to be; a wrong font; colors that clash and don't match the predefined brand colors. For companies that haven’t made their brand guidelines available for all employees to see, or companies that don't have brand guidelines to begin with, this is a well-known problem which, in turn, can result in the following:
- Are you sharing the right information or the right message in the right tone-of-voice?
Even a little miscommunication can harm your brand’s reputation. Inconsistency can cause a wrong perception of your brand. Which one is worse, publications with errors or false information resulting in a damaged brand image? You choose.
Just as easily as people using the wrong colors, fonts, or wrong versions of logos – they can use the wrong wording – differing from the way you want to describe your company, its mission, what you do, your services and products, etc. And they can use the wrong tone of voice.
A brand style guide does not only involve graphic elements of your brand. Next to a style guide, it would be practical to have one single source of truth when it comes to the latest, approved visual and text-based brand assets.
Lastly, having an approval workflow in place where the marketing team or brand manager always does a last check-up before publication, is almost always a good idea.
- Are you and your coworkers using the right images in the correct way?
You’re being chased by a deadline and you haven't received the right content on time. You think you've found an image that will suffice, but whoops - it's outdated, or even worse, a low-quality photo. If you find out before you print those 10,000 flyers, no problem. However, once the 10,000 flyers have been printed and distributed, you might have to explain this to your boss.
Just imagine how much time, stress, and monotonous work can be saved if all the right images and most recent logos are stored in one central place.
- Are you dealing with various versions of files and various file locations?
A common and time-consuming attribute of decentralized Marketing Communications: Multiple people working with the same files. These files are often stored on multiple PCs, DropBox instances or DMS’s, shared and re-shared, and given different names. Yet, when someone REALLY needs to find that one file, nobody seems to know where it is.
This results in duplicate content, which makes the whole process of collaborating and managing your brand more time-consuming and error prone. This leads to:
- Are your people always sharing the content they're supposed to be sharing?
Employees and partners often work with the same content. Sharing and managing content takes a lot of time. This could pose a risk if your brand identity is not secured. If people start to create and share content they are not authorized to, it poses a danger to your brand identity.
What if a team from country A. uses content designed with the marketing strategy for country B. in mind? What if someone uses an old version of your logo for a large sponsored campaign on social media? What if someone uses an outdated description of your company's mission after your department has just invested a year's worth of time, energy and other resources to guide the company through a re-brand?
It's imperative that you invest in brand identity and brand management. Especially if the points above sound a little too familiar. Creating a centralized, cloud-based brand portal can be a really good way to make the process of managing your brand identity much easier, time-efficient, and controlled.
Digitize your content and manage your assets in one brand portal
If the previous points rose any red flags, it may be wise to start looking at ways to proactively protect your brand identity. For most companies, the answer lies in a central view on how to strategically manage the brand and creating processes and structures that enable them to do so.
A central database such as a brand portal can be a very helpful part of the solution. With a brand portal, you secure your (visual) brand identity by storing all brand assets like photos, logos, and videos, in one place. You and your colleagues can access, download and share the right content with each other, as well as your partners.
A brand portal is often called a Digital Asset Management Platform, or DAM platform for short. Many DAM systems do not only offer a central asset database but also integrate create & publish and workflow features. With an integrated web-based InDesign Server, anyone with an assigned administrator role can create and publish marketing collateral with preset templates.
Last, but not least, many DAM platforms make it possible to manage access rights so you can selectively make different assets available to only the people that need to be able to use them.
A brand portal allows you to secure your brand identity, save time and costs.
The advantages of using a DAM
These are a few of the advantages of using a cloud-based brand portal:
- Brand guidelines are always within reach;
- All files are always up to date (eg. most recent logos);
- On-demand access, anywhere, anytime provided you are connected to the Internet;
- No more duplicates;
- Full control by giving users access to certain folders;
- By giving access to partners or third parties you work with, you enable them to easily obtain the files they need without bothering you;
- You don't have to involve an InDesign expert every time you want to create new marketing content;
- Forget e-mailing for approvals: in a brand portal, you can create an efficient workflow.
Need more info?
Does it seem like a centralized, cloud-based DAM system might be of value to you and your organization, and not sure where to go next? Check out the following resources, or if you have any specific questions, feel free to get in touch. We're happy to help.