Creating effective and consistent marketing with technology has been a trend for a while now – but what do you do when the majority of your business is still in the ‘real world’.
Much is said about production efficiencies, just-in-time delivery, virtual offices and so forth. They save money. They make the world a better and more efficient place. But the question we ask ourselves as marketers is – “How do I make sure my brand and message is delivered consistently, everywhere it’s delivered?”
The answer typically lies in several different places, including;
The People – Are your staff and communicators educated and trained properly and frequently enough
The Tools – Are assets and templates easily accessible and customizable via a brand center or portal?
The Checks and Balances – Do you have visibility into actions, usage and choices made at all levels – and does the visibility translate into corrective measures when necessary?
Paying extra attention to the tools can often be crucial. They can never replace the people or the control, but if used wisely, they will go a long way to automating both processes and controls making life easier for everyone and the end product much more consistent and ‘on message’.
Specifically, tools have emerged over the past year making life easier for marketers and the people reliant on marketing’s product.
Five Key Tools for Ensuring Brand Consistency
Permission Based Access – When your head of sales logs on to get his latest presentation, he should not have to remember where to look. When your product team is needing the latest approved packaging specs, don’t make them worry about, nor have access to, third quarter board presentations.With permission-based access, the individual person sees what’s relevant to her and no longer has to navigate irrelevant directories or content that at best slows them down, at worst compromises critical information or leads to incorrect decisions. Permission-based access adds the benefit of allowing external stakeholders, be it designers, license-holders, agencies or suppliers to participate dynamically in the process they are already involved in – but now, all from one system with access defined by a need-to-know, not a system limitation.
Dynamic Templating – Often times one of the most costly and frustrating experiences as a brand champion involves ensuring different departments and offices communicate consistently and on-brand, while enabling each marketing manager to communicate her specific message elegantly and without corrupting the over-all brand message. Dynamic templating lets you standardize anything from brochures to business cards. From banners to powerpoint presentations – and once standardized you and your designers can decide what aspects of the asset should be modifiable – and within what parameters. The marketing, sales and communications team are now much happier knowing they are operating within the confines of the brand vision, yet can customize their message to be uniquely positioned for a specific purpose.
Logical Asset Finders – Another time-waster on a grand scale is the continued request/remind dance between designers, marketing decision makers and marketing application personnel. The endless email-threads requesting and commenting on assets, logos, videos and designs waste thousands of man-hours every year! In the words of the wise; a little logic goes a long way: By implementing simple tools like a logo finder to empower your stakeholders to access the assets in the digital asset management system they need simply by asking a few key questions to an automated system, you’ve instantly reduced email correspondence and the inherent delays and errors associated therewith by 75%-95%. Now, that makes sense!
Socially Networked Stakeholders – Visibility has and always will be key; especially as it pertains to us and our human relations. If you’re a seeker of effective, consistent and controlled marketing and brand management look no further than how your staff and stakeholders view each other. Literally! Imagine teams could see and search profiles, responsibilities and contact details, whether it be internal or external like an agency or supplier and connect as needed to discuss marketing initiatives, best practices and joint challenges. Imagine a ‘facebook lite for’ your teams to ensure everyone knows who everyone is. Does that visibility increase communication, consistency and efficiency? You bet!
Best Practices – The vaunted pursuit of the best practice is nowhere as important as in less standardized initiatives like events and other one-off activities where your brand gets exposed in a ‘live setting’ and control is hard to come by. With a Best Practices module you not only empower your marketers to vote on activities and specific applications and track which are more popular, you actually replay the results in a Best Practices section. Decisions easy for your local teams when discussions turn to ‘What should we do for the event next month? I heard the Des Moines event went really well!’
At the end, tools are only as good as the folks using them. With a brand portal incorporating some of the above tools, you are well under way to empowering your team and brand for a brighter and cleaner brand world!