Put your hand up if you work in branding and you’re stressed out. OK, maybe you didn’t put your hand up while sitting alone in front of your screen — but we bet that you thought: “yes! That’s me.”
We get it. Being a brand leader is not a walk in the park. Of course, creating a successful brand campaign is incredibly rewarding, your brand vision can often be compromised by factors that seem out of your control. Who hasn’t felt their stomach drop when they realised a regional branch used the wrong assets, or a marketing manager put an outdated logo on a press release, or your social media agency completely ignored your carefully chosen colour palette?
These incidents can quickly compromise your brand’s visual identity, leaving your customers confused and disenchanted. In line with this, research indicates that about 87% of consumers feel that brands need to put more effort into delivering a consistent experience. What’s key to remember here is that brands (including yours) are most definitely putting in the effort! It’s HOW they put in that effort that matters.
We all know that consistency starts with a unified brand identity — but unity can feel like an unattainable goal. Unless, of course, you’ve got a brand asset management system in place.
Curious? Let’s dive in.
Suggested reading: Brand management itself is something that’s constantly changing — get to grips with the tips you should take up this year with our blog 7 Brand Management Tips for 2022.
What is a brand’s visual identity?
Allow us to geek out for a second as we talk about the power of a strong visual identity. When we say Coca-Cola, we bet your mind conjures up a glass bottle, a red and white colour palette, and that classic italicised font.
Another example is Apple, with its sleek, crisp and minimalist design. Nike? Just do it and the swoosh tick. Starbucks? The iconic green logo and its annual Christmas takeaway cups. These are all brand visual identities.
Why is visual identity important?
Visual identity is crucial to winning new customers and retaining old ones. A consistent, recognisable identity helps your audience build an affinity with your brand and distinguish it from other players in the market.
More than that though, your visual identity is a chance to show people what your brand is all about. It’s a platform for storytelling and conveying your company values.
Let’s think of it from the other side of the coin. Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer. If a brand you’ve purchased from can’t seem to make its mind up on what its identity is, much less what it should look like, you might not recognise the brand — and you’re also less likely to trust it.
Your visual identity encompasses everything in your suite of brand assets: your brand colors, logo, design statements, chosen fonts etc. Combined, they have a big impact on your company’s bottom line. Brands with a consistent identity are three to four more times likely to have better brand visibility over those that don’t.
Suggested reading: There are tons of challenges that can come about in brand management but there are a few key ones to look out for — find out what they are (and how to tackle them) with our blog 4 Brand Management Challenges Not to Underestimate.
The role of brand asset management
So, a consistent visual identity is essential for brand credibility. But in our fast-paced, globalised world, delivering a consistent brand image across regions and channels can be challenging, to say the least!
What you need is a solution that acts as a single point of truth for all of your visual assets. Something that can be accessed anywhere, anytime, by anyone in your company, as well as outside of it when needed.
You need more than just a home for your assets though. You also need a creative studio — an all-in-one solution that streamlines content creation, so you and your team can achieve creativity and consistency, and ultimately create a branding strategy that you’re proud of.
This is exactly what a brand asset management (BAM) solution will do for you. Below, we’ll explore how BAM can help you to enhance your brand’s visual identity so you never see a press release with a logo design from 2008 again!
👉Want to improve your brand, check out our Brand Consistency Toolkit👈
Access the right logo when you need it most
Speaking of, if there’s one facet of your visual identity that’s going to have the biggest impact and deserves particular attention, it’s arguably your logo. If it’s inconsistent, even as your brand evolves, that’s a red flag in your customers’ minds. BAM can completely change the logo game for your company.
The best BAM solutions empower your colleagues and agencies to easily access the right logo in the right format, so you can maintain consistency everywhere (and dramatically reduce the number of emails you receive from teams asking about logos!).
The most advanced of these solutions are designed with non-technical employees in mind, translating design jargon into accessible language so that anyone in any department can get the exact logo they need.
You should look for a BAM solution that’s flexible too. As you evolve and adapt your logo, your solution should let you quickly and seamlessly update your files, so everyone has access to the correct versions.
Manage and update brand guidelines
Brand guidelines are another crucial element of establishing and maintaining a consistent brand identity. Too often, though, branding and marketing leaders end up feeling like the brand police.
If you’ve ever lost your cool about an ad that’s gone out in completely the wrong colours and font, you’re not alone. Managing brand guidelines can be, well, a headache. Unless you work in branding, people often don’t get the significance of precise font and colour choices.
As with your logo, BAM can save the day! BAM creates a unified view of your brand guidelines that everyone can access, making it easy for your colleagues to learn about your brand style guidance. Not only does this help to ensure consistency, but it will save you time, money, and resources that can be better spent on further developing your brand.
We recommend looking for a BAM solution that allows you to edit your guidelines within the system itself, so that changes can be made as seamlessly as possible while guaranteeing that team members are only ever accessing up-to-date instructions. Our tool Brandworkz utilises simple CMS pages to allow for brand guidelines to be easily amended AND distributed.
Use templates to create on-brand artwork
Amending brand assets for multiple markets and branding strategies can be a huge drain on time and resources. Attempting a new, creative campaign can be enough to drive most designers and marketing leaders to the point of burnout.
BAM makes the creative process simple and streamlined. Rather than overburdening your designers with low-level artwork changes, a good BAM solution empowers you to create brand templates.
Your colleagues across teams, branches, and markets can then access these preconfigured, approved templates and make edits to them as needed. No design skill should be needed for this! Look for a solution that enables everyone to work on brand assets, so you can spend less time responding to design requests and focus on strategic branding goals.
Plus, templates provide you and your team members with examples of what they should strive for in your branding. Brandworkz does this with the help of Brand Showcase, allowing you to put a spotlight on the best of your brand assets, accompanied by the asset templates needed to keep that great track record going.
Streamline and track all your production processes
We’ve all heard that ‘content is king’ — but no one seems to speak about the fact that content approval is chaos. Multiple workflows, urgent requests, assets in different formats, and department bottlenecks can make the content creation process feel heavy, tiresome, and stressful.
BAM will help you to enjoy the creative side of content creation again. Rather than having to manually approve everything, you and your colleagues will get an intuitive dashboard that makes it possible to track and approve projects quickly — and make any edits — while maintaining consistency.
Leading solutions also incorporate automation, which acts as a monitor for each of your projects, sending alerts to whoever’s turn it is to approve and review, so that projects don’t get caught up in any bottlenecks.
Ideally, your BAM provider will help you to set up the workflow dashboard and map out your processes for you as this can take quite a bit of time otherwise.
Build a home for all your visual assets
Sometimes, finding an asset can feel like searching for gold. Is it in your email? Google Drive? Maybe on the server somewhere? Not only do you lose time trying to find the assets, but it can be a security concern as well. No one wants unreleased assets to get into the wrong hands.
BAM can help you here through what’s known as Digital Asset Management (DAM) software. DAM is an intelligent storage solution for all of your digital files. We use the word intelligent because of DAM’s capabilities. Not only does it securely store your files, but it has searchability functions that makes it really easy for users to find the exact files they need.
How? Through metadata: granular, detailed information about each file that makes it easy for you and your team to tag, organise and access the approved, on-brand content you need.
Leading solutions also help you to control who has access to what, depending on factors like embargo dates and user privileges. With DAM in place, you and your users will never waste time trying to find a piece of content again!
Suggested reading: The cost of taking up a DAM can make most managers uneasy but the ROI it delivers is great enough to warrant any expense. Read our piece How to Make the Business Case for Digital Asset Management to find out more!
Use brand asset management for visual creativity and consistency
By this point, you might already be Googling for brand asset management platforms. Well, look no further. We’ve got you covered.
At Brandworkz, we’ve created a suite of tools to simplify brand asset management, covering everything from workflow automation to easy-to-use templates. With our solution in place, you can rediscover your creativity and love of branding, while ensuring consistency across your company.
Your brand’s visual identity is vital. Don’t let poor communication and outdated processes hold your vision back. Get in touch with Brandworkz today to discover how we can help you reclaim your brand’s visual identity, or book a demo to see why over 100,000 marketers are using our brand management software every day!