Do your people understand your brand rules? Are those rules being adhered to?
Mixed, confusing, or wrong messages, or even the wrong logo or font, can be costly to your brand. The more your organization grows, the bigger the challenge to ensure compliance: something that’s equally as true of branding as it is for any other business operation or process.
With the right culture in place, brand compliance becomes second nature to designers, developers, editors, managers, agencies; everyone involved in the marketing content production process at central and branch level. A culture of brand compliance ensures that they stick to the rulebook. It gives your people the freedom to create and adapt content while ensuring a cohesive and compelling global message.
With this in mind, here are our tips for building the culture you need for brand compliance:
1. Communicate what needs to be protected
If your people don’t know what your brand identity is, how can they be expected to protect it?
Be clear on your brand essentials: what you stand for, your tone of voice, differentiation, benefits, and personality. This should be set out in a clear set of brand guidelines, which should ideally be distributed to everyone involved in the content creation process.
2. Build branding into on-boarding
Rather than being buried somewhere in the new employee handbook, make your brand guidelines an integral part of new employee training. When it comes to engaging third parties, such as design consultants and agencies, distribute these guidelines to them as a matter of course, as part of the brief.
You might also want to drill down to provide discipline-specific guidelines for certain roles. This might include on-brand formatting instructions for designers and tone of voice guidelines for employees who are going to be involved in the creation of social media posts and sales email campaigns.
Set up a centrally located but universally accessible hub for all marketing assets, from fonts to photographs, logos to animations.
3. Provide a central hub for accessing the right material
Having established clarity on the rules comes the next step: providing access to the right materials.
Set up a centrally located but universally accessible hub for all marketing assets, from fonts to photographs, logos to animations. Individual creators might be inclined to sideline this by building up their own private folders full of assets. Make it clear that this is a no-go; not least because you can never be sure that they are using the most up-to-date assets. Instead, stipulate that your hub is the one and only place where assets should be accessed and that the most up to date version should be sourced from that location at each use instead of using the one that is already stored locally.
4. Make compliant creation easier through templates
For things like web banners, emails, social media, POS, and retail displays, compliance becomes so much easier if your people have a framework to operate under. This is why templates are so useful: with them, you can lock down what can’t be changed – while giving your people the freedom to create their own materials. Take a banner ad for instance: the logo placement, global strapline, and basic color scheme can be effectively set in stone within the template while giving your people the freedom to tailor the accompanying text or pricing.
With a platform such as Brandgility, you can go one step further. This technology lets you combine a central hub with smart templating – allowing you to choose exactly what users can and can’t edit, and to create beautiful, on-brand content even without a specialist technical skillset.
Clarity on what your brand stands for, education, accessibility, and the right tools: all of these are essential for building a brand-compliant culture. With them, you are much better able to meet that ‘sweet spot’ between creative freedom and cohesive global campaigns.