By: Leslie Pinkerton, Marketing Content Manager, 3/7/17
Larger organizations bring higher risks of brand inconsistency.
Big, distributed teams of employees bring about a greater possibility that someone, somewhere, at some point, will misrepresent the organization through a rogue piece of unapproved collateral, improper logo usage, or non-compliant material.
The threat to brand integrity has far-reaching effects on a company’s image and its promise within its market. To build and protect a brand, brand managers at large organizations should take steps to empower their employees and partners, who act as representatives of a brand, to be consistent. Here’s how:
1. Create clear expectations
Written and visual brand standards matter! They tell your employees (or external vendors) how to make decisions while staying on-brand. Establish your expectations first, regarding the use of images, logos, tone, word choice, colors, and more.
2. Leverage a centralized platform
Make it easy for everyone across your organization to access approved brand materials using the convenience of cloud technology. Rather than relying on version control nightmares through email, host assets in a centralized Marketing Asset Management tool.
Limit access to employees and approved vendors with a secure sign-in, and customize the look and feel of your tool to match your corporate branding. Not only will you cut down the number of questions to your marketing team (“can you send me the latest PowerPoint template?”), but you’ll also maintain 100% brand control.
3. Allow for customization
The idea behind Marketing Asset Management is not to limit your employees with content under full lock and key. This only prevents them from being self-sufficient, and they remain reliant upon the marketing team for one-off material requests when situations arise that require personalization – such as material for a specific geographic region, or needing promotional signage for a particular industry event.
Instead, give your organization’s brand stewards the ability to personalize branded assets using template-based customization. Lock certain areas (such as that under compliance governance or brand control), but allow for flexible updates on fields such as date or location.
Even globally distributed teams will be able to stay on-brand while creating localized pieces, making them more relevant to their prospective customers while giving valuable time back to your marketing team.
4. Promote your platform with internal marketing
Once you’re set up with a comprehensive online marketing portal, it’s important to promote it consistently using the tenets of integrated marketing.
Use multiple channels, such as in-person roadshow training events, companywide communication tools like Slack or your company intranet, and in-person conversations to encourage user adoption.
Continually remind employees who make one-off material requests that they can likely find what they need on your self-service marketing platform, and promote new collateral as soon as it’s available. Soon, you’ll have the whole team marching in lockstep.
5. Measure adoption
Brand managers within large organizations are responsible for ensuring their efforts are working. That can be difficult to measure, as “brand consistency” is hard to pinpoint until there’s an infraction or improper use of brand materials.
Measure, instead, the adoption of your centralized brand management software. By tracking what is downloaded, what is being customized, and what is being requested, brand managers can not only measure their effectiveness by user growth over time and site traffic, but they can also better understand the needs of the internal organization, and do more of what’s working.
Track the number of users who have signed up for your marketing asset portal, how many assets you’ve added and updated, and how many orders have been placed to external (approved) vendors.
One stellar example of an organization who ensured brand consistency even among 13,000 brand users is MarcomCentral customer Modern Woodmen. You can read more in this in-depth case study to learn how they empowered their team to be self-sufficient while protecting their brand.