Managing a brand can be challenging. There’s so much competition today and the stakes are high. Brands invest considerable dollars to create and launch a brand, build a marketing and sales organization to support it, and then grind to get the word out. Your efforts must be strategic and effective.
The brand management tips in this blog will help you maximize your marketing efforts, no matter where your company is on the growth scale. We’ll talk about two key considerations for brand management in this two-part blog: consistency and growth. First, consistency.
Brand Consistency Equals Recognition
The power of consistency is evident in a few ways. First, your brand is perceived as more respected and well established. That builds trust. Secondly, consistency builds recognition.
Ever heard of the marketing rule of 7? Simply put, a prospect must have a least 7 interactions with a brand before it becomes memorable. Seven consistent touches and you’ve built brand recognition (or so the theory goes). Now imagine you spend your marketing dollars on multiple (say 7) prongs of an integrated promotional campaign, but there is little or no consistency in the branding. No consistency means no recognition. No brand-building. Your audience is not likely to make the connection between the ad components and the brand. You’ve essentially squandered your marketing spend.
Lesson learned: Having a great logo and strong branding elements is of no use if you don’t implement them consistently.
Now, let’s talk about ways to maintain consistency by first understanding what goes into a brand.
BRAND VISION & VOICE
Some people think of the logo as the brand, but I’m sure you know more is involved. There is type and color. Images (like photography and illustration), icons and other graphic elements like patterns or textures, combine to create a style library that is collectively and uniquely your brand. But it doesn’t stop there.
What does your brand stand for? What’s the mission and the unique positioning of your brand? Maybe your brand is unique to the industry itself and those whom you serve. This messaging and how you communicate it is an integral part of your brand and becomes the foundation for your brand voice. The personality of your brand is expressed by the combination of visuals and words that represent your company. If your brand were a person, what would they look and sound like?
DOCUMENTING YOUR STYLE
The essential tool for managing any brand is the Brand Style Guide. This guide catalogs all the various parts and pieces of your brand as described above. It’s a working document that helps professionals from inside and outside of your company create various assets that correctly and consistently represent your brand. If you don’t have one, start one. Even a simple word document can help capture what you have and know so far about your brand. But most companies have at least a cursory brand style guide. Distribute this document to employees and vendors who are tasked to become brand ambassadors, by either communicating about your brand or creating materials that do so.
BUNDLE FOR EFFICIENCY
Brand consistency allows you to scale your marketing efforts efficiently by reusing assets and bundling creation resources. Integrated campaign efforts can be produced more effectively by a team who has access to all your brand elements. Images and brand components can be duplicated and repurposed with ease. The overall effect is the ability to spread your creative across multiple touch points in a consistent and memorable way – saving time and resources.
TEMPLATES MAKE IT EASY
Customized brand templates are your best friend for maintaining brand consistency across distributed teams or departments. Templates might include those for social media posts, sales tools, collateral, print or digital advertisements, trade show displays and signage, or recruiting and onboarding materials. If content changes frequently and you want to distribute control to non-designers, customized brand templates can be created in PowerPoint, Canva, Figma or even Word (while Adobe CC programs like Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign are great for your design-astute colleagues). Templates enable various brand representatives to communicate department- and audience-specific messaging while successfully maintaining brand integrity.
A savvy brand management team will take the initiative to create brand templates and assets that work for all of your internal and external brand ambassadors.
CONSISTENT CHANNEL COMMUNICATION
Don’t forget to address all the various channels by which your brand messaging is distributed. And I don’t just mean methods like print versus video versus in-person. Communication channels (both internal and external) include the work of customer-service representatives, sales distributors, partners, and other employees. Consider how the brand is communicated via all of these channels and look for ways to streamline those brand touch points. By providing clear brand direction and making logos, templates, boilerplate content and other brand elements accessible to those who need them, you can maintain better consistency throughout your organization.
Find Brand Consistency Challenging?
Brand consistency doesn’t have to be challenging. Even if your in-house team is limited (or non-existent) Altima Creative is here to become an extension of your team – however and whenever you need us.
Our designers, copywriters, videographers, and media creatives can extend your creative capacity to manage and evolve your brand with consistency, efficiency, and creativity. (For more on, why you should hire an agency? Read this past blog post: 5 Benefits to Hiring a Creative Agency)
In our next blog, we’ll continue the brand discussion with how the growth of your company impacts your brand management efforts.
Brand Management Tips: Consistency