Brand governance is about ensuring your brand is understood, perceived, and recognised properly. How to achieve such a crucial yet ambitious goal? Let’s find out in this article.
The first thing you should know is that every brand governance model needs to be built from the ground up. There’s no room for copy-paste here because every brand is different. Besides the crucial part – the way your brand is showcased – your brand governance model should also entail the roles of different people and entities involved in the brand management process. Therefore, there should be room for:
- Marketing managers and specialists
- Brand managers
- Marketing and branding agencies
Sometimes, we even speak of something more extensive – brand advisory (we encourage you to read the interview with our expert, Jędrzej Chojnacki, or watch the webinar conducted by Oskar Drobczyk on Brand Advisory). In short, it’s all about combining and connecting all factors for internal and external brand awareness. Also about educating people about the brand, guiding them to the right resources, and supporting them in creating brand-related materials.
With such an approach, you can create a comprehensive and effective brand governance model. And in this article, we’re going to talk specifics. We will also recommend you read other blog posts related to this subject to fully understand what brand governance is all about. Let’s get right to it!
Without brand governance, there’s no brand consistency. Consistency is a vital trait of every mature company. By maintaining consistency, you show others that your brand is reliable and sticks to specific brand principles and brand values. In other words, brand consistency enables you to establish a company’s voice within the market. It communicates its capabilities and belief system so that stakeholders, employees, and consumers want to be a part of it.
And yes, brand consistency can seem like something vague, but the truth is, people value this way of thinking about the brand. According to research from 2019, maintaining a consistent brand strategy can increase revenues by up to 33%. Moreover, 41% of consumers rate the brand’s consistency as the most essential factor in being loyal to a brand. So yes, brand consistency is important not just from a PR perspective but also from a business perspective.
Steps to achieve brand consistency
The way to achieving brand consistency comprises four steps:
- Firstly, you need to create a set of principles (frequently referred to as a brand book) that clearly communicate how a brand can be used. Here, we focus especially on the visual materials, but not only. Everything related to a particular brand should be included in such a set of principles.
- Secondly, you turn these principles into an online form that’s readily available for every interested party. This way, you make sure everyone can access them anytime and any place. For many of our clients, we prepared such a version, called a brand portal.
- Once that’s done, you have to develop and maintain a database of brand assets. It’s a collection of ready-to-use resources. All templates are included in such a database. This way, when there’s a need to create something new, you know where to start and what to keep in mind.
- Finally, you need to ensure that every creator and marketer can easily find, download and use these principles and resources. When that part’s ready, you need to educate every involved employee and company about the importance of these materials and how to use them.
Read the interview with Justyna Dorman, our Brand Governance Specialist & Team Manager, to learn more about brand consistency. We also have an entire article devoted to brand consistency.
Once all that is done, we can continue to the next stage and work on the brand governance model.
Brand governance: where to start
As we mentioned earlier, there are no ready-made models that will work for every company. The first step is always to understand the brand and the company behind it better. To achieve that goal, we conduct a series of workshops and in-depth interviews. Sometimes we also use customer surveys.
By doing so, we can map the areas that need support and develop solutions tailored to the clients’ needs. This way, we can determine how the brand governance model should work in this particular situation. We always put employees in the very centre of what we do. Brand managers and management should always understand that each employee is also a company ambassador. That’s why our brand governance team stays in touch with the client’s employees to guide them, explain how to use the brand identity, translate their needs into projects, and educate them about the brand identity. At the end of that process, employees should feel 100% comfortable using the company’s identity in everything they do.
Do you want to know more? Or maybe you’re interested in building the brand governance team? If so, read this article: Exploring brand governance: where to start?
How to work with brand assets
As you already know, a set of brand guidelines plays a huge role in brand consistency and governance. Such a brand book (or style guide) should show how your company acts, sounds and looks. Let’s talk a bit more about that.
Every brand book consists of so-called brand assets. These are ready-made elements such as a logotype, typography, colour palette, slogan, etc. However, the brand book not only features these elements; it also provides additional data and explanation on why a given element looks this way. The reader needs to understand what it represents and what are possible compositions, sizes and positions. More often than not, you also get information on incorrect usages, especially for print and digital purposes.
Make them available
What’s crucial here is that your brand assets need to be available in a digital form. If all you have is a big dusty binder that lies somewhere in the CMO’s office, it’s all in vain. Brand assets should be available to anyone who needs to work with them. That’s why they have to be available on brand guidelines platform, digital asset management platform, or brand portal.
Remember, you need to ensure all brand guidelines are available and easy to access for the whole community globally. Additionally, keeping these brand assets in a digital form means they can be easily updated and shared between employees, freelancers and agencies around the world. This way, you maintain a smooth communication flow when it comes to visual brand identity.
In fact, many brand books are available to anyone who’s interested in viewing them! Here are a few examples:
Find out more on how to work with brand assets.
The role of agility in brand governance
Here, we also need to mention one more thing – agility. Today, we live in a very dynamic world where things can suddenly change overnight. Your brand and its identity need to adapt to these changes in order to stay relevant in the market. That’s why a well-designed brand management strategy supports testing, gathers feedback, and implements improvements as it adjusts to changing requirements. Furthermore, brand guidelines should include non-designers. Everyone who has anything to do with the brand should be engaged in the process. This is what agility is all about. It makes your brand stronger, more flexible, and resilient over time. Brand governance supports the natural evolution of your brand and its development on a long-term basis.
At Admind, we believe brand identity should be based on empowerment built on collaboration, not compromise.
Read more about bringing agility to branding.
The last element in brand governance that needs to be discussed is so-called branded content. What do you need to know about it?
Use branded content to engage the audience
The history of branded content dates back to the 1930s. Procter and Gamble first launched a series of scripted radio programs that weaved the company’s soap products into the dialogue of the characters. Their popularity grew, and the programs eventually became known as “soap operas”.
Today, branded content is everything that is designed to build your brand’s awareness by associating it with content that emphasises its values. In other words, branded content revolves around your brand, not its products or services. A great example of branded content is Michelin Guide. It started as a small guide filled with handy information for travellers in France. It became so popular that today, this guide is a world-famous source of the best restaurants in the world. The acquisition or loss of a star (Michelin Guide can give up to three stars to a restaurant) can have truly dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant.
Do it wisely
The goal is to create user engagement while keeping the brand all the time in the background. Branded content can truly impact your target audience and spark conversation around your company. There is just one condition – it has to be done wisely.
If you want to create branded content, think about your customers and their needs. Don’t focus on promoting your products! The added value is a key element in branded content. If it lacks this value, you defeat the purpose and end up with plain advertising. Many companies using branded content also make the most of storytelling and even cooperate with other companies and individuals to create something creative and useful to your target audience.
Without a doubt, branded content plays an important role in brand governance and helps you take your brand to a whole new level. Do you want to know more? Read how to engage the audience with branded content.
How to maintain brand governance
Sometimes, it’s easier to climb to the top than stay there. The same thing is with brand governance. We often see that companies spend a lot of time creating the principles for brand use. Unfortunately, they find it much harder to follow them long term. Therefore, we organise training sessions for our clients about using their brand. We want as many people as possible to use brand identity consistently in their everyday projects. Having it done is an excellent opportunity to show the world that a brand speaks with a single, consistent voice.
What’s more, our experts act as a centre of excellence to maintain clients’ brand governance. We advise on the compliance of resources with the principles, provide project approval assistance, and ensure that the base of assets is constantly updated and structured. As a result, the brand image is consistent across all channels, no matter how many people use the resources.
As you can see, brand governance is a complex, time-consuming and multi-faceted endeavour. First, you have to take care of your brand’s consistency. The next step is to create and properly organise your brand assets (agility in branding will come in handy at this stage). Lastly, you can switch to creating properly designed and well-thought-out branded content.
And yes, we realise that’s a lot to consider. If you feel overwhelmed, read everything once again after a few days. And if you need help with improving your brand management strategy – the Admind team is at your service! Go to our contact us section and drop us a line. We’ll take it from there!