The importance of getting your brand right – in your company

Many marketers focus on how to manage the company brand inside out. So, how to create a coherent consistent branded message throughout all channels and media items. We’ve seen major mergers, acquisitions and splits in the recent years, each and one having it’s big impact on rebranding. For example Sony Ericsson turned into Sony, Google acquires Motorola, BNP Paribas split off partly from Fortis, TNT Post split off into TNT and Postnl, just to name a few.

Millions of Euros and Dollars are spent on getting the rebranding right to the customers, clients and generally speaking in the media. Little effort and budget is spent on making sure the new brand is well understood and executed within the organization. Sure, the communications department sends newsletters to the workforce, the intranet has got all internal information regarding the new brand, so more or less employees are somewhat informed. But the true effectiveness of rebranding lays within the organization, within your departments, in the mindset of your employees. And most important: creating support for executing your new corporate brand or identity in day to day business.

A new brand

The moment your board of directors decide to go for a new brand, logo and mission statement is the moment your work – as a marketer – gets rather intense. You need to schedule meetings with all agencies, with your communication department, setting up campaigns, make the right messages throughout the channels you use and so on. It’s eating up your marketing budget very fast. And after a couple of months you sit down, stare at your marketing dashboard, reading some press announcements and evaluate with your team how you did it. You’ve managed it quite well. It seems that most of your clients and prospects are aware of the new brand, logo and mission statement. Perfect. Time to move on with the usual business.

Backdraw

After six months you notice that there are some hiccup’s. Some clients still receive letters with the wrong logo. Some clients still receive e-mails with the old signatures. Your partners use old templates for creating marketing materials. Invoices are sent with the wrong templates.

You start wondering what went wrong? You created a perfect spot on the companies intranet where all information was being published regarding the new brand and logo. Why are they using still the old ones? How come that your employees aren’t aware of the new ones?

The answer is simple: you focused entirely on getting your things done for the outside world, with all accompanying materials, but didn’t manage adequately the internal embedding in your organization.

Corporate Identity Portal

The idea of a corporate identity portal is simple. Provide one single online spot within your organization where everyone can find all relevant information about your new brand and logo’s. Enhance that platform with features like template downloading, online creation of letters, mass mailings and POS materials for your local co-workers and partners.

The advantages are evident: no one needs to think about what to use and if it’s the correct version, because you approved it and you know it’s the latest version. Everyone can focus on the content of the material being used, be it a letter, a marketing collateral or an invoice. You’ll have the guarantee that it is fully compliant with the new corporate identity.

Such a platform is called a Corporate Identity Portal. Major organizations are using it and are since then assured that their local offices use the actual branded materials, provided by the headquarters. You’re sure that everything being used for your customers and prospects is fully compliant to your CI.

Corporate Identity Portals are created with intranet platforms like Microsoft SharePoint or are fully served from Marketing Resource Management suites like BrandMaker. The latter enables your organization to create online marketing materials, based on Adobe Indesign templates, that are outstanding and print ready. Or you can use combinations of both.

Important aspects with CI Portals

To make proper use of CI Portals and thus ensure that your new brand is used consistent throughout your organization, pay attention to the following must haves:

  1. Guided click-through: help your co-workers finding easily the content they need. Might sound easy, isn’t though. You need to think about how they do their job, what they need for information and materials and set the guidance according to it. Make it visual.
  2. Usage stats: you sure want to know if your colleagues actually use the platform and all templates and materials you’ve created for them.
  3. Online publishing: the best would be to enable casual users to create all kinds of materials online, without the knowledge of how the new templates and logo’s should be used. A simple example is the business card: create an online template for editing names and functions, without the possibility to edit anything of the layout. Or create templates that enable your partners to make appealing POS material without the need to check whether it’s the correct branded template.
  4. Workflow: activate some kind of workflow, enabling your colleagues to send automatically questions and requests to the right department when there’s something missing in and on your platform. Hence: make sure they’re not solving it themselves since your CI is in danger then.
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