Marketing teams work incredibly hard to create a strong brand, digital assets, templates and brand guidelines, to not only maintain a consistent image in the market and grow the top line, but also help their colleagues be more efficient when creating business documents. However, getting employees to work the way you want them to from a brand and compliance perspective is always a challenge.
Without using automated brand monitoring tools, there is no way of knowing how employees are using or MISUSING the brand you worked so hard to build. Tight deadlines, employee turnover, and. the tendency to revert to ones “own way” of doing things can quickly diminish a brand’s consistency in the market. This is especially true for lean marketing teams.
The facts are undeniable:
- Only 25% of companies have brand guidelines that are consistently enforced
- 77% of companies report having issues with brand consistency
- 70% of businesses docs are started from blank documents or previously created documents – not corporate templates
So what can be done to keep everyone on track with branding company-wide? How can marketers encourage the use of branding resources remotely? Make your colleagues’ lives easier.
Here are a few practical tips for lean marketing teams looking to maintain or improve brand consistency via productivity gains for you colleagues.
1. Make Digital Assets Readily Available and Easily Accessible Through IT
One incredibly important measure to take toward ensuring a consistent brand identity involves creating a centralized repository of digital assets. Maintaining easily accessible content files can help to ensure that everyone can effortlessly access branding materials, content, and other essential resources, quickly and easily.
This is probably obvious to most and tables stakes for any marketing organization in our opinion. Where marketing teams fall short is on accessibility. If a template or image takes 15-20 clicks to access, employees are not going to use the resources you set up for them.
One solution is to have IT create shortcuts on user desktops for easy access or set up Microsoft Office to default to templates increases accessibility and overall compliance.
Most people don’t want to click through multiple screens, tabs, and file folders, to find what they need. For this reason, many employees (close to 70%) resort to opening similar templates that they’ve used in the past. The problem comes in when these months-old files are dated or no longer contain accurate brand information. Having neatly organized, easily accessible, up-to-date guidelines and files can mitigate this issue.
If using a SharePoint or other folder storage system, it can be helpful to ask your IT team to push a shortcut to employee desktops. That way, everyone can access everything in real time, on demand.
For those who need even more streamlined access directly into Microsoft Office, Astute Review offers excellent access points and file-sharing systems. Through digital access management and Asset Libraries, employees and colleagues can readily use available tools and brand content with just the click of one button.
2. Avoid Having Oversized Files that are Difficult to Navigate
Many companies have Business Development or commonly used go-to-market materials consolidated into one gigantic file. Some companies have even been known to use massive 200+ slide PowerPoint presentations with market examples and go-to-market slides. While it’s good that these materials exist and are available, if it takes 15 minutes to sift through PowerPoint slides to locate a specific resource, you have a problem.
In situations like this, employees had difficulty accessing the materials they needed, resulting in them not using the valuable, on-brand resources created for them.
Put yourself in their shoes for a second. To access a completed slide, each employee would have to:
- Find the PowerPoint example file and open it
- scroll through an entire PowerPoint deck to find what they are looking for.
- Then, they had to copy and paste that slide into their file and do minor editing because the copy/paste process in PowerPoint is never smooth
- Finally use the content.
This system incurred a fifteen-minute chore that few people are willing to do. Outside of marketing teams, we’ve found that below 25% of employees actually use these large marketing files with marketing content they can pick and choose from.
So what should be done instead? It is recommended that you break all go-to-market materials into individual slides. Make sure that they are each saved and labeled so people can easily find them using search functions on their computers. This saves time and prevents employee aggravation, encouraging better marketing material use across the board.
Once again, adopting an Asset Library (like the one offered by Astute Review) or DAM (which is a more expensive option) can also help to solve this issue. However, if you don’t have a budget to spend solving this issue, at the very least, label all marketing files and break out slides.
4. Schedule Lunch and Learns to Get Feedback.
Lunch and Learns are a great place for honest feedback and informative conversations! And not so shockingly, people are motivated by free food. It is important to try and understand how the people within your organization are functioning. What works for them? What works against them? Are any marketing resources inconvenient for practical day-to-day use?
It can be difficult to change an individual’s behavior. However, when people have a say in matters like new systems and updates, they are more likely to implement them regularly. After all, if someone’s ideas are heard, they inherently become more involved in the growth and improvement process.
Remember, while you care deeply about your brand and its growth, most employees are more likely to care about efficiency and getting home at a reasonable hour. The question then becomes, how can you help your team get what they want while also ensuring that the company obtains the consistent branding it deserves?
5. Ensure that Microsoft Office or Microsoft Word are Set up and Available for Brand Standards
We are constantly astonished at how many organizations forget to ensure that everyone can access branding materials. What happens when someone opens a PowerPoint or Word Document? Are they able to see the content inside, or do they just get a blank screen?
You would be amazed to find out the percentage of companies that ask employees to begin with a completely blank file. It’s no wonder that only 30% of office documents comply with corporate design guidelines!
Imagine if every time a colleague opened an Excel, Word, or PowerPoint file, your corporate brand standards, and, all up-to-date marketing approved fonts, color palates, margins etc. were already presented within the tool. Brand compliance would instantly improve if everyone started from the right place quickly and easily!
On the bright side, with about an hour of work and a little bit of assistance from your IT Department, marketing teams can set default fonts, color palettes, and templates/files, across your organization. You can read more about this process here.
6. Think Practically
Keeping your brand simple, using limited colors and font types, and ensuring that the brand use process makes sense to all coworkers are key. Companies that have different fonts for headers, subtitles, titles, and body text, are bound to have compliance issues. Unless you’re using an automated observation mechanism, (Like Astute Review’s Brand Monitoring Tool) understanding the details behind brand content misuse is difficult.
Brand guidelines are great to have, but if the vast majority of employees have never seen them, they don’t do you much good. So, be practical and think about how your branding compliance standards will be applied.
You’ve worked hard to build and refine your brand identity, now, the challenge is ensuring that your branding measures are perpetrated correctly. Your marketing team works hard to create great brand content and aids for everyone to take advantage of. They’re a shepherd for your brand, guiding the “herd” in a journey of correct brand and resource implementation. Colleagues and the rest of the organization are then responsible for executing proper brand use and adhering to company guidelines.
To ensure brand consistency across an organization, marketers should make content easily accessible, avoid bulky or difficult-to-navigate file piles, be open to feedback, and implement straightforward branding standards, with practicality in mind. From there, it all comes down to brand monitoring. Astute Review can help you there!
Contact the Skilled Brand Building Experts at Astute Review Now
Your branding identity matters! Astute Review is here to help you protect it at every stage. Our real-time brand monitoring for marketing professionals can be used to understand where your brand is being misused, wherever files are stored. Ggauge the health of a brand so you can take action toward solving issues or preventing brand misuse.
At Astute Review, our comprehensive tools and ample brand adherence resources can essentially eliminate the disconnect between marketers and coworkers. When you can see where off-brand content is being created in real-time, you’ll be able to take action to solve problems promptly and effectively, thus ensuring better brand consistency all the way around.
You can learn more about real-time brand compliance observation by contacting us! We’re here to help your team stay on track, so you can focus on what matters most, your customers.