Overseeing brand compliance in communications with customers and prospects can be challenging for any organization, and especially challenging when going to market with a distributed sales force or through third party dealers and distributors, but brand consistency across these channels is critical. Even details that may seem subtle, such as logo size, brand colors and the tone of any messaging communicated with your branding can dramatically impact how your organization is represented by your company’s remote brand ambassadors. With a Marketing Resource Management (MRM) system, you can streamline and automate the process of creating polished, customized brand impressions. Here’s how.
What is brand consistency and why does it matter?
Your brand is the platform that delivers your core product or service differentiation to customers. Brand elements - such as your company’s logo, colors, tagline and messaging - combine to create a powerful impression with your customers. Your brand is valuable. As such, it’s important to provide remote sales forces and third party sales channels, such as dealers and distributors, with selling tools and resources they can customize with their business information while at the same time assuring consistency with your branding guidelines. If you don’t provide easy-to-use tools and streamlined processes for creating approved marketing materials, then your sales force and distributors will create their own materials – which expose your brand equity to erosion from potentially hundreds of variations in messaging and branding. As an example, even minor variations in brand colors can confuse customers, as we recently saw with backlash against Coca-Cola’s white polar bear cans this holiday season.
Setting brand guidelines… some considerations
Especially in industries such as financial services, insurance, and building products, which rely heavily on direct marketing campaigns for customer and prospect communications, we urge you to consider the following brand elements when creating your branding guidelines:
- Precise brand color matching (sophisticated digital printing services ensure your brand colors are exactly matched to the right shades)
- The quality of printed materials (higher quality paper for more affluent brands)
- The tone that your font conveys (old-fashioned and traditional versus modern and clean)
- Delivery medium (will the message be sent by email, memo, letter, or postcard?)
- Formality and tone of the message (specifications should be set for the formality versus informality of all interactions with clients)
Automating brand compliance with Marketing Resource Management (MRM) systems
Once you’ve established branding guidelines, it’s time to implement them. A MRM system empowers your distributed sales and marketing channels to create personalized, customized marketing materials while adhering to your branding guidelines. As a result, multiple, personalized collateral versions can be created, managed and distributed to customers – from a central library of materials maintained by corporate staff – all consistent with your branding.
At the click of a button, printed collateral pieces can be customized and/or co-branded with a third party logo, contact information and market-specific messaging while workflows enable all materials to be approved by a corporate manager (or multiple managers) before the customized pieces are approved for print.
Additionally, when your MRM system is linked to a marketing service provider with advanced digital printing capabilities, printing and fulfillment can be automated, conserving the marketing staff time it would have taken to individually customize sales materials and coordinate printing.
After reading this post, we hope you’ll feel more prepared to manage your brand and get to work on setting some formal guidelines to improve the quality of third party brand impressions with end-customers. What are some of your biggest challenges managing your brand with your distributed sales forces and third party sales and marketing channels?