By: Leila Rayburn, Senior Content Manager, 2/17/17
Brand consistency matters.
A brand is more than the contents of a piece of collateral that represents your company’s identity – it’s the promise your organization makes to the world. Brand consistency, at its core, is about building trust with those served by your company.
From tone of voice, facts and figures, down to colors, fonts, and company logos – your brand is filled with markers along the way that remind your audience they’re experiencing a brand they know. Over multiple brand interactions, consistency builds trust. In regulated environments, brand consistency avoids penalties and legal risks.
Case in point: Boys and Girls Club of America
One organization that embodies brand consistency well is the Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA). With a mission of enabling young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens, this organization’s brand promise is not only inspiring, it’s often life-changing for the communities it serves.
With such a massive undertaking, it’s critical for this brand to be consistent within every interaction its members have with the organization. But with over 150 years of company history, an audience size in excess of 3.7 million youths across the country, and 4,100 local affiliates in a variety of community types, maintaining that consistent brand image does not come easy.
This organization adheres to 3 key brand guidelines that every company should consider to ensure consistency:
- Make it easy for employees to be on-brand
- Empower customization
- Invest in marketing training
Let’s dig in:
1. Make it easy for employees to be on-brand
Your teams are busy enough during the day. Spending time and resources hunting down the right marketing materials keeps them from making an impact in their roles. In these cases, when employees or partners can’t find the right branding piece they need, they will (with great intentions) – often decide to go rogue and create their own.
In these situations, making it easy for brand managers to find what they need, when they need it, is critical.
Consider providing permission-based access online to the latest branded and approved marketing materials, on a portal that is fully designed to match your organization’s brand identity. Make approved branded resources such as photos, templates, videos and more easy-to-find on an intuitive, brand management software.
Even with modest operating budgets, your affiliates can print professional materials, while maintaining full brand compliance – without taking time away from their daily priorities.
2. Empower customization
Many global and distributed organizations need to disseminate marketing resources that supports the company brand, adheres to brand standards while allowing room for customization to meet needs of local consumers.
The Boys and Girls Club of America operates in urban and rural communities, military installations and on native land. With such a vast variety of target audiences, local affiliates need to customize materials to suit the preferences of each of their communities. What’s more, the organization itself is so embedded within these communities, it was important that the materials reflect the target audience.
Below are some examples of inconsistent brand usage BGCA experienced before implementing MarcomCentral’s Marketing Asset Management tool.
(Local affiliate names are covered.)
These examples are off-brand, off-message, and create a confusing brand experience for BGCA’s members.
Instead of dealing with one-off requests to address the specific needs of every club (nearly impossible to manage with 4,100 local affiliates), BGCA gives its employees the ability to customize materials within approved guidelines on their portal.
This not only removes the burden of one-off requests; it also empowers greater efficiency among all team members.
3. Invest in marketing training
Marketers often wish for the ability to clone themselves.
In the real world, however, it’s important to equip anyone who represents a brand to its audience with the proper materials, resources, and skills to support your organization’s initiatives and programs.
Companies with large and distributed teams, franchise models, local affiliate or branch offices often do not have dedicated marketers within each location. Employees are made to wear many hats, one of which is related to promoting the brand message and implementing a consistent brand strategy.
In these situations, support these team members with the collateral, materials, brand assets, and tools they need to represent your organization with confidence – and compliance.
For the Boys and Girls Club of America, less than 15% of their club professionals nationwide have marketing backgrounds, though they are responsible for promotions including volunteer acquisition, implementing resource development campaigns and additional local marketing campaigns. Their centralized portal provides marketing training to these professionals with various skills and backgrounds. It gives them an opportunity to establish those skills and become a better marketer in those areas.
Following these three considerations will help your organization keep its promise to the world, and empower your teams to be their best, and consequently increase brand loyalty and trust.
Read more about the state and impact of brand consistency here.