We talked a lot about brand management and guidelines. The last thing that needs addressing is a Brand Governance Team. Such a team should be responsible for implementing the strategy developed by your in-house Head of Brand or Global Brand Manager. Being a point of contact for employees and stakeholders, and ensuring that all the guidelines are used properly and accurately. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Suppose you work in a company that recently finished working on brand guidelines and brand principles. Perhaps you’re shortly after rebranding. Now, it’s time to make sure that your hard work wasn’t in vain. You need a process that will ensure brand compliance, appropriate application of various brand touch-points as well as a way of identifying areas to improve and adjust. Such a process is time-consuming and requires multiple coordinated actions to succeed. In the following paragraphs, we will try to explain how such a process would be implemented by a dedicated team.
You can also watch a webinar on Brand Advisory.
The Brand Governance Team
It all depends on the structure of your organisation. Large companies usually have some sort of body responsible for the brand. This responsibility could be in the domain of the Head/Director of Communications, Corporate Strategy, or Marketing. In the end, every company has a Head of Brand or Global Brand Manager – a person responsible for the overall brand strategy.
Definitely, the Brand Manager is the decision-maker, they develop the brand in alignment with the sales and marketing strategy. They do not have the capacity of implementing it all, across the entire organization. They need a support of a team that can share the vision with the wider community, and ensure its implementation.
The Brand Governance Team can include various roles such as:
- Graphic Designers
- Communication Specialists
- Web Content Specialists
- Web Designers
- Content Writers/Publishers
- Marketing Specialists
- Social Media Specialists
- Presentation Designers
Clearly, the team could include those roles but is not limited to them. Of course, in the case of smaller organisations, the brand governance team can consist of three, two or even just one person (e.g., a standalone manager). As a rule of thumb, the larger company, the larger the Brand Governance Team should be. To some extent, every person working in the marketing and sales department should be involved in the work of the Brand Governance Team.
Now, the vital question to ask is, what should be the role of the Brand Governance Team?
The role and benefits of designating the Brand Governance Team
First off, the Brand Governance Team protects the brand’s consistency. The team performs reviews of branded materials, takes part in direct consultations, answers questions, and educates about the standards. It does it during workshops and by the brand portal, evoking trust and engagement. It shows that you are 100% serious about your work and its results.
Secondly, a Brand Governance Team should provide insights for future principles, guidelines and exceptions. Bear in mind, brands evolve. They adjust to new markets and business circumstances. The team is involved in various projects across the entire organization. Able to sense the arising needs for brand adjustments and improvements. The Brand Governance Team makes sure any new approach is comprehensive and seamless. Additionally integrated with the wider corporate strategy.
Thirdly, a Brand Governance Team generates a lot of time savings. How is that possible? Every project entails tens of questions how and where apply branding. The range of touchpoints is very wide. Might include print, digital, physical products, POS, tradeshows, company offices, marketing campaigns, fleet, workwear etc. Each of the touchpoints has it’s unique challenges. For instance application of logo, colour palette, layout, typography, materials, textures, language and messaging, music, video plot and narrative, and many, many others.
Save the day
That’s when your Brand Governance Team saves the day. They take over everyday communication related to ongoing projects, collect feedback and provide exhausting answers to every involved party (employees, consultants, vendors, subcontractors, agencies etc.). This is especially valuable in situations that are not clear or directly referenced in the brand principles. The team is able to use their understanding of the brand. They provide guidance and support in scenarios with tight deadlines or challenging circumstances. And be in no doubt, in case of a large, international business, there are hundreds of such requests and queries every month.
Moreover, the team weeds out all the low and mid-complicated issues, leaving just the high-profile cases to be decided by the Head of Brand/Brand Manager. The Brand Governance Team is responsible for consulting all the brand-related questions. So that the management can focus on the most strategic cases and issues that would have wide-range implications and might require a strategic approach.
Cooperation with external entities
International companies that work with many external entities are interested in how the brand is presented to the world. These entities are, i.a.:
- Marketing agencies
- Creative agencies
- Merchandise providers
Your Brand Governance Team will provide all these entities with support and information on how the brand should be showcased, both in a verbal, visual and written form. Moreover, such a team often conducts brand workshops and webinars to educate every involved party and expand the brand knowledge.
Roles within the team
Moreover, the next element that you should take care of is related to assigning roles within the Brand Governance Team. Different members of your team have different experiences and areas of specialisation. This should be taken into consideration. For instance, copywriters should verify how they present the brand in written materials including printed and web-based communication, video scripts and marketing slogans (whether the image is positive and accurate). While web designers could focus on the brand’s online presence. This concerns the company website, various landing pages, e-commerce platforms, and other web-based touchpoints. That’s why you need a wide range of specialisations – to cover every possible scenario and project in greater detail.
Meetings are important
The meetings are the last thing we should consider. It’s vital to establish a regular meeting schedule between the Brand Manager/Head of Brand and the rest of the team. They make sure that everyone is up to speed with the most recent strategy, that they understand the high-level perspective of the management on specific cases and can consult any doubts if needed. Additionally, the team should be aligned internally on the cases each individual member is managing, this way they can establish a common voice. The scrum-inspired daily standup meetings are perfect for this purpose. The team can also organize “open door” or “Q&A” meetings, where every employee can join and consult any brand-related questions they might have. This really helps with establishing a healthy relationship between the brand support team and the employees. They improve the general understanding of the brand principles.
Finally, if you tick all the boxes we mentioned in this piece, you’re on a straight course to creating an effective and useful Brand Governance Team. You will maintain brand consistency and ensure it will be presented in the best way possible. Lastly, we want to answer one question that sometimes companies ask:
Can you outsource the Brand Governance Team?
The short answer is yes. Often the best solution is to embed the Brand Governance Team into the client’s organization. In a way that creates a seamless connection between the team and the Client’s wider community. There are several approaches that could be explored in order to achieve this. They are: designating a POC, creating a dedicated email address for requests, automated contact form, various chat solutions or open-door meetings.
At Admind, we call that brand support and governance. We support our clients particularly in:
- Asset management
- Content management
- Workshops and training
- Brand governance across different countries and channels
If you don’t have the resources to assign and maintain the Brand Governance Team in your company, you can use ours! Our experts have been working with international companies from various sectors and industries for years. We know what to do to ensure brand consistency and proper presentation. We can help you craft brand guidelines from the ground up and then monitor them continually.
If you want to find out more – drop us a line. We will happily show you how brand management can work in your company.