Your brand is everything. With that being said, there are so many ways for your brand to fail and so little room for error. Maybe your process for managing your brand is too convoluted, too ambiguous, or just plain too inconsistent. We like to call these brand management challenges — and unfortunately, there only seem to be more popping up all over the place.
The digital transformation of EVERYTHING has opened up a whole other host of challenges and barriers to effective brand management. Before mobile phones became an extension of our anatomy, companies didn’t have to think about configuring ads for different devices, or making sure their tone of voice was consistent in push notifications, for example. It’s a struggle.
It’s not all doom and gloom — you can put the tissues away. Nearly every brand management challenge can be resolved with one thing — brand management tools.
Unsurprisingly, the answer to technical brand challenges is more technology. This article is going to be your saving grace in figuring out what exactly that all involves. So, let’s take a look at exactly what the challenges are and how you can overcome them…
Suggested reading: We have gone one step further and created a Brand Consistency Toolkit that provides practical guidance on everything you need to do to manage your brand effectively.
Challenge 1: Brand consistency
A consistent brand is a successful one — but it’s easier said than done. With standard marketing practices spanning a diverse portfolio of channels and being managed across different platforms, maintaining any kind of consistency can be a challenge.
It’s a problem well worth solving though. Research has shown that companies can expect revenue to grow by 10-20% just by keeping their branding consistent.1 That’s a lot of potential growth you risk missing out on — but, worry not, we have plenty of ways for you to stay ahead in your brand consistency.
Strategies to help
- Gain a picture of the channels you have: Here comes the fun bit — make a list. Okay, it may not be the most exciting task in the world, but getting together a list of your channels is key to keeping your marketing content consistent. Be sure to pay attention to certain details across your channels (company website, social media accounts, print media, etc… basically anything that has your brand name on it) to ensure that all materials are in tune, easily done through a brand management tool. After all, the best way to ensure consistency is to be consistent yourself (stay tuned for more catchy insights.)
- Have comprehensive brand guidelines: The more detail the better. Your brand guidelines should cover everything from tone of voice (TOV) to colour schemes, ideally within a series of templates and examples so that everyone has an idea of what the final product should look like. By being as specific with your guidelines as possible you not only ensure that all of your branding is kept consistent, but that your partners and employees will always have a guide to fall back on when they need help.
Pro tip: Check out our article How to Create Brand Consistency for even more detail and guidance on the above strategies.
Challenge 2: Seamless access to your brand assets
As you’re probably aware, there are a lot of materials that go into making and managing a brand (see above.) These assets (images, text, any and all the content that makes up your brand) are the entire foundation of what makes your brand your brand, and none is necessarily more or less crucial than the other.
The challenge that can arise when attempting to manage these multiple, all very important, assets is a lack of seamless interaction between them. Perhaps the messaging of your brand becomes inconsistent due to the sheer volume of features you have to focus on or communication between your employees on how to manage them all gets convoluted. Those are only a few of the many potential downfalls that could come from a lack of seamless material interaction.
Strategies to help
- Make assets visible and easy to access: Your assets should be accessible for everyone within your team to ensure a smooth workflow between you and your employees. Most brand management tools do this through having a digital login and authentication process of some sort. This not only takes away any potential time wasted by people constantly having to ask for access to content, but also fosters a real sense of collaboration as everyone is included in the process and aids the discovery of new assets.
- Workflow and annotation: The content access capabilities of brand management software also guarantee a standardised and cohesive work environment. All annotations and approvals of your employees’ work on the brand’s assets are stored in a single system, so that you can always cross-reference records of approvals against the final asset.
- Reviewing assets and approving new ones: Instead of having a cluster of materials to have to sort through for review — not even counting the potential new materials you’d want to introduce — brand management tools help by letting you access your materials in a digestible, interactive platform so that you and your team can seamlessly multitask.
Challenge 3: Creating a frictionless MarTech stack
We’re halfway through talking about brand management challenges and, by now, you’ve most likely already tried coming up with your own strategies to help. One of these may be to collate as many digital brand management tools as possible to create a tower of software to incorporate into your marketing strategy — or a MarTech stack, if you will.
At the outset this may seem like a useful strategy. Surely the more helpful tools you use, the better your overall workflow and quality will become. However, having so many moving parts at once can end up overwhelming your marketing strategy altogether, leading to major problems for your brand’s communication and productivity.
Here are some of the challenges that could come up and questions you should ask yourself when it comes to your MarTech stack:
- Inefficiency: It’s easy to get distracted by the shiny capabilities of the different tools in your MarTech stack. Now, are you actually using even half of them? Are you making use of all of the features of every one of the tools you’ve chosen and how many of these features actually overlap with other tools you’ve included?
- Complicated access: Are your tools actually accessible for your employees? Do they have to use multiple log-ins and if so, how many? Is there any way for your teams to access the entire system through a single user base without issue?
- Convoluted processes: Have you and/or your employees been forced to come up with minor processes to accommodate for challenges that have come up due to the tools in your stack?
- Inconsistent branding: Are there gaps in your stack that could lead to branding becoming inconsistent across the board?
- A lack of standardisation: Do your teams all have wildly alternating workflows and processes because of how many different tools are being used? Are there any communication issues that come up between the teams because of how varied the tools are?
- Incompatible systems: Do the different systems in your stack actually work well with one another? Can they communicate and integrate with each other and, if so, are they doing so efficiently?
👉 Once you’ve addressed each bullet point, your business should be ripe to focus on brand consistency.
Let our TOOLKIT assist!👈
Strategies to help
- End-to-end management: Brand management software is all about incorporating multiple features into one easily accessible tool. This generally involves a DAM (Digital Asset Management) platform that allows for access to stored on-brand files, and workflow/annotation software to manage the creation of new assets (e.g. the materials that make up your brand.) To explain that in plain English, these are tools that keep everything together and ensure that different teams are communicating and utilising the resources that exist, instead of unnecessarily investing in new creatives.
- Built-in brand guidelines: Remember those all-so-important brand guidelines we mentioned before? Brand management software helps by integrating your brand guidelines into your DAM and workflow tools, allowing for users (like your employees) to be able to easily access assets. At Brandworkz for example, we have an advanced Logo Finder feature to make accessing variations of your beloved logo that much easier.
- Web-to-publish templates: So not all brand management software offers web-to-publish templates, but it’s common enough to include as a default feature to look out for. This allows for minor edits to be made to on-brand assets without the need for additional approvals — enabling creativity while still ensuring consistency.
- Built-in DAM: Your DAM is really important to so much of how your teams actually operate. You can’t skimp on DAM capabilities in order to get a more integrated solution. To ensure you have the most efficient DAM process possible, include a full range of metadata inputs, searchability, permission setting, customisation features, and preview capabilities that are specific to your most common file types. Make sure that it also has the ability to seamlessly integrate with other systems, such as your CMS.
Suggested reading: Still nervous about your marketing stack getting unmanageable? Follow our handy guide to soothe your worries: Is Your Marketing Stack Getting Out of Control?
Challenge 4: Modern working practices
So that’s the most obvious brand management challenges covered. Now let’s delve deeper by exploring the challenges that are specific to more recent working practices. Workplace culture is one that is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay aware of the potential challenges that can arise from it.
- Cultural differences: Branding across multiple channels brings a lot of benefits in terms of reaching a wider audience — but that could just as easily be a drawback when dealing with potential cultural differences. What may be normal in one culture could be uncommon and even uncomfortable in another.
- Different languages/communication barriers: This kind of ties into the above in terms of being a problem specific to having a diverse audience. Being careful with your word choice as a brand is already sensitive territory when communicating in a shared language but it can become all the more complicated when you’re dealing with multiple languages, especially when trying to maintain consistent brand messaging.
- The ongoing prominence of hybrid/WFH working patterns: Thanks to recent events, office culture as we know it has seen a complete overturn into hybrid/WFH working patterns. It’s highly unlikely that many workplaces will ever go back to entirely working in person. Even though communication tools like Zoom and Slack are more utilised than ever, there is still the risk of things getting lost in translation when you’re dealing with multiple employees and offices spread across different locations.
Strategies to help
- Diversify your input: The best way to prevent any potential misunderstandings in your final messaging is by ensuring you have a variety of voices informing it from the outset. Take advantage of your many talented employees by giving them the chance to contribute, instead of relying on assigned departments to strictly divide the workload. Brand management software takes care of this by allowing multiple users to collaborate on tasks, while web-to-publish templates further enable contribution from all ends.
- Customisable templates: Web-to-publish templates are especially helpful in streamlining communication across different languages. By being modifiable yet fixed in their overall structure, you allow for any communication gaps to be bridged by ensuring that your branding is consistent as well as allowing for them to be slightly altered depending on any regional specificities. Plus, most brand management tools also hold multi-language capabilities so that your communication process runs smoothly on a global scale.
- Modernise your communication: The collaboration and synchronisation capabilities of brand management software really come into their own when utilised in remote working structures. Instant communication that can be done from anywhere with an Internet connection not only saves you from any bumps in your team’s synergy, but potentially makes the whole process even more convenient than it was before.
Now, all those potential problems listed out at once can seem scary. But even though they’re all to do with different issues, they can all be tackled with a single piece of advice…
You need brand management software
If there’s only one lesson you can take away from this article, let it be this: brand management software in some form will improve your brand consistency and improve the speed and efficiency of your day-to-day brand management.
Now, we could have just typed that out over and over again a few hundred times, published it, and called it a day — but by outlining the noteworthy challenges faced by brand managers, you now have many good reasons to incorporate brand management software into your company strategy to optimise and grow your brand.
If you want more insight into how our own Brand Management Software here at Brandworkz can be used to offset your own brand management challenges, you can with us!