By Jody Scheldt, 1/20/2016
To oversimplify the answer to this question, let’s review the two must have strategies in your marketing department.
- Get the best, correctly branded marketing materials in the hands of the outbound brand promoters (sales, field marketing, field reps, channel partners, and/or distributors).
- Train your corporate marketing team on brand guidelines and start an internal campaign to ensure the brand promoters understand and adopt the guidelines.
And that’s it. If these two are done successfully, you’ve made tremendous strides to ensure the brand integrity will be intact as the company grows. Okay, maybe it’s not as simple as it sounds; there are challenges to both 1 and 2 so let’s discuss them.
- Technology! In order to get the brand promoters the right marketing materials they need when they need them, you’ll want a system in place that houses all the branded materials and allows access to the materials from anywhere at any time. A cloud based solution is an ideal form for a dispersed workforce. Current practices for sharing files with brand promoters like FTPs, email, public cloud sharing accounts, and legacy intranets can be tremendously challenging, especially within a large company. FTPs often fail for remote access users and aren’t always secure, creative files can be too large for email which results in a failed send or a full inbox, public cloud sharing doesn’t have the functionality enterprises require, and intranets are slow and more often than not the material on them is outdated.
When a brand promoter has tried for the third time to download a brochure from the FTP and it fails, they will develop their own brochure with their own images and writing. This is the precise moment when the brand integrity breaks. The logo is stretched and the graphics were pulled straight from Google Images making your company look like amateurs.
The existing technology is struggling to support an organization that has hundreds or thousands of brand promoters with marketing needs. The good news is that there are many technology platforms available on the market today under marketing asset management, digital asset management and marketing resource management that solve this problem. These platforms offer varying levels of functionality based on your needs, but all deliver a quick, easy, and secure way to get your properly branded marketing materials into the hands of your brand promoters.
- The second strategy may not take a monetary investment but does require time and dedication: the creation of brand guidelines and training. Creating brand guidelines is a worthwhile effort as it will become your team’s bible and you’ll begin to see consistent messaging, tone, voice and graphics across your projects and channels. Take a look at this outstanding example from MailChimp, an email marketing service. Their document is easy to navigate, clear, not too wordy, filled with examples and even fun. It’s posted on the website for easy access and share-ability.
Once your marketing team is on board, develop an internal campaign to educate your brand promoters on the style guidelines and what technology is available to them (especially if you implement a new asset management solution). The campaign can include: interactive trainings, examples of best practices, encouragement on collaboration, and even a contest- get creative!
It’s not so much as introducing rules, but a mutual agreement on how you can both be the most successful in your roles.
By implementing these two strategies you’re setting yourself up for success. If the company hits a growth spurt or takes on 100 new partners, your marketing team is already prepared to support their marketing asset needs.