Microsoft Tips, Productivity

Free Tips to Get Your Colleagues to Stay on Brand – Compliance Through Productivity

In the hundreds of conversations with consultants and their marketing colleagues we’ve had over the years noticed a major disconnect between the two groups.

Bottom line, lean marketing teams struggle to maintain a consistent brand in consulting and accounting firms

Why is that?

  1. The majority of files do note have a chance to go through marketing before getting to their end destination. Marketers have no idea where old assets are being used until it is too late.

  2. Consultants and accountants have a million things to do in a given day, making brand consistency a low priority. The supporting stats are staggering

    • Almost 75% of people build deliverables NOT USING company approved templates and images

    • 20% of business development content includes out of date information

    • 70% of employees go to Google for their own company logo

It’s not that your colleagues don’t care, it just that they are doing what is most efficient for them. They want to get their work done quickly and efficiently so they can hopefully shut the laptop down with enough time left in the day to spend time with family, get a workout in, or meet up with friends.
Whether starting a PowerPoint from a last presentation or Googling images online, these marketing “no-nos” are the efficient solution for your colleagues…for now.
So as a marketing professional how do you get your colleagues creating Business Development Pitches and client deliverables to care about the brand you worked so hard to build?
Simple…SAVE. THEM. TIME.
Sure, you can create webinars and send emails explain why a consistent brand is important for the organization. Will that make some headway, maybe. But at 9pm, any consultant’s priority is going to be skewed towards what is immediately in their best interest. AND that’s getting work done as fast as possible so they can get on with their day (or evening).
Brand isn’t the top 10 priorities at the end of a 12-15 hour day.
We’re a firm believer in incentives driving change at Astute Review. Pairing productivity tools that result in consistent brand usage aligns incentives between marketing and everyone else.
  1. Consultants get their work done faster. Anything that can get someone to shut down their computer a few hours sooner a week is helpful.

  2. Marketing gets a more cohesive and consistent usage out of their brand.

There are a number companies who focus on productivity and branding tools (shoutout to us Astute Review!) that provide simple, cost effective solutions for professional service firms.
But hey, we get it, you might not be ready for an external solution yet, sometimes you need to walk before you run.
Here are a few fast, easy and FREE solutions to help increase brand compliance and consistency at your company.

Create a good foundation - Open every program with your company brand

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. What happens when you open PowerPoint? Is your company template, fonts and colors the first thing that comes up or is it a blank document? In talking with clients and friends, we were shocked to hear the percentage of companies who force employees to start with a blank file. No wonder only 30% of Office documents comply with corporate design guidelines.
 What if every time a colleague opened a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file, your corporate brand (and Templates) was already present in the tool? How much more brand compliant would your colleagues be if starting from the right spot was as easy as opening PowerPoint?
Good news is that with about 1 hours of work and a little help from your IT department, marketing teams can set default fonts and color palates and templates across an organization.
How to push color, font and template themes across your organization.

1. Open a blank PowerPoint or Word document and customize your pallette.

2. Click the Save Current Theme to save the theme with custom colors to path C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes.

3. Do this once in Word, the Excel and PowerPoint on the same machine will automatically load this theme.

4. Send files to your IT department and ask them to script on all user computers in the same location for each user. TRUST US, it will not take much time for them to push to the rest of the company. 

Now the default file and theme will be based on your corporate brand and layout EVERY TIME Microsoft Office is Opened.
Side Note: Every template file should have a preset theme to it. If your templates don’t have your color schemes included, get that done ASAP (You’d be surprised what percent of companies don’t have a color palate in their templates. If you’re looking for a short tutorial, you can check out this video from SlidesCarnival.com.

Separate Church and State - Keep your templates and completed Slides separate

75% percent of corporate templates that we see include both template slides and finished firm marketing materials.

Having to open a template scroll and search through dozens of slides to find, copy and paste into your presentation is a hassle, which is why so many consultants fail to even try to access completed marketing approved corporate slides.

So what is the solution? Separate your completed slides from your template and make them easily accessible.

At Astute Review, we believe you have 3 options for doing this (2 free and 1 paid). The choice all comes down to personal preference.

Option 1 Save Completed slides as a separate file and access via Reuse Slides

Pros: Access an entire presentation and view individual slides, light searchability, good for low quantities of content.

Cons: Searchability at presentation level only with no filters, Clunky and not 100% accurate, only connects to OneDrive and SharePoint, No Images

Option 2 Save Completed slides as a separate file and access via Reuse Slides

SharePoint, Teams, OneDrive, Box (and any other cloud based storage system are cheap solutions with good searchability. Saving each completed slide as it’s own file allows users to easily search and access in the cloud to import into a presentation.  Below is an example of what a folder structure can look like, where to search and how to import.

Pros: Easily searchable content

Cons: It takes many clicks to insert a file. Users still need to open the file and paste into their current document.

Option 3: Incorporate 3rd part asset library

Using a 3rd party asset library (like Astute Review’s Asset Library) gives users all the benefits in option 1 and 2, but provides additional functionality. The process to find content is one click away vs. 5-10, which increases adoption and overall efficiency. Trust us, if you willing to spend a few thousand dollars the efficiency gains will pay for the tool in a week.

Pros: Exhaustive access to digital assets. Users can access approved images, icons, logos graphs and videos, on top of templates and slides.

Cons: Costs money