Every local marketer knows that consistent marketing execution (brand compliance) is key to leveraging the equity of the brand.
But when you’re trying to get a campaign executed, it’s easy to forget that even the smallest gradation of design adds to or subtracts from brand value.
When there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of end users, dealers or franchisees producing marketing materials all around the globe, how can brand stewards ensure those promotions are consistent and compliant? The best way to achieve brand compliance is with the process they create for their local marketers. For these marketing leaders, the devil really is in the details.
The Brand Compliance Disconnect
When local marketing uses hear that they've broken the brand's design rules, they're usually unaware of what they’ve done. They think they’ve tried to be good “brand citizens” all along the way and think the marketing they've produced really looks and feels like a professional piece. But all too often, local marketers' best intentions don't translate into the consistent branded executions that corporate brands depend on to build brand trust with customers.
Localized coupons are a great example: Looked at from the local marketer’s perspective, the local coupon is a faithful, well-intentioned effort to produce a brand-compliant promotion. But seen through the eyes of the brand, the coupon may be judged as non-compliant. In some areas, like the non-standard mixing of colors or fonts, the differences are minor. In other areas, though, these off-brand elements create problems that could have serious consequences. For instance, the missing legal disclaimers in a local promotion could open up the brand to lawsuits.
What’s worse, the non-standard elements might not do anything to add to the selling power of the coupon. The standards are broken, really, for no good reason at all. More likely than not, the local marketer, lacking a brand designer’s eye, just didn’t see the differences as important — or perhaps, didn’t really see the differences at all. It’s a common problem for localized point of sale marketing materials.
Don’t Just Enforce Brand Guidelines — Make them Actionable
By providing users with marketing templates that automatically activate brand guidelines, a modern brand management system can address all of the problems just reviewed, without (A) forcing brand designers to produce each and every local execution (which is unsustainable), or (B) handcuffing local marketers to brand-approved promotions only (which is infuriating).
Here are just a few of the common issues that a brand asset management system can address.
Prevent the use of non-standard typefaces and colors. A well-designed local marketing template will confine users to a brand-defined palette of colors and a brand-approved (and properly licensed) set of brand fonts. If well-designed, the system will allow for the automatic scaling of type within parameters set by the brand, so local marketers can balance their need for content with the over-arching requirement for brand consistency.
Require the use of brand-approved legal disclaimers and disclosure. Today’s local marketing systems can be configured to apply legal disclaimers and disclosures automatically, based on the type of offer a local marketer wishes to include.
Prevent non-compliant executions of brand logos and elements. Most local marketers don’t understand why critical brand elements require very specific design constraints. But with a modern local marketing automation system, they don’t need to understand the design logic behind these critical rules — because the system ensures compliance automatically for them.
Require the use of pre-approved (grammatically correct) content. In our experience, local marketers initially believe they want the freedom to write their own advertising and marketing copy from scratch. But more often than not (far more often, actually), they want to start with a brand suggestion and then to make modest adjustments from there. For brand-marketers, that creates a great opportunity to provide suggested copy for everything from product descriptions to location listings — and thereby attain a higher degree of quality in local executions, while actually requiring less effort from the local marketer.
In short, a modern, well-designed brand management system can help you to make true brand compliance the fastest, easiest way for local marketers to get their promotions out the door. It makes marketing safe, reliable, and even fun—and it saves brand designers hundreds, even thousands, of hours per year.