Brand Consistency – Nothing Is Too Small
All organizations have a need for employees to create communications. They can range from proposals and PowerPoint presentations to everyday memos. No matter how small or inconsequential you may think it is, everything that bears your logo makes an impression about your brand – either negatively or positively. Realistically, one instance will not cost you a new or existing customer, but negative brand impressions over time will eat away at the integrity of your brand and undermine your organization’s investment.
It’s true that you earn your reputation doing hard things well, but it is the small things, over time that matter as well. When communications are clear and look consistent it reinforces all the positive things about your brand. Don’t let messy or unprofessional executions cause prospects or customers to subconsciously question your validity and competency. Here are some guidelines you can follow to keep your brand on track.
Take inventory of all of the communications your company routinely creates and make sure there is a template or guideline for each. This process is similar to what we outlined in our post on brand rollouts. Some common items include:
- PowerPoint presentations
- Event invitations
- Electronic letterhead
- Fact sheets
- Email templates
If you want your organization to use branded templates, you need to make them easily accessible. Basic brand styles like fonts, colors and logo usage, similar to what is described in this style guide post, are essential to brand consistency. Companies with established intranets should create a space where employees can download templates and assets and companies that don’t may find a cloud solution like Google Drive or Dropbox can work well.
The more editable elements you include in a template the more chances an employee has of going off brand. The design shouldn’t be boring, but remember, your ultimate goal is for people use them correctly. Apple, a company worth over $800 billion, understands this better than anyone.
Consider creating video or PDF tutorials on how to properly use your templates or build it into your onboarding program.
If you see something, say something
Consider incentivizing employees for upholding your brands standards. $5 Starbucks gift cards always work well. Create an email address where inconsistencies can be reported (e.g. [email protected]).
You can’t account for every possible usage scenario, but you can garner feedback and input to continually improve. Create a simple survey to send out every 12 months to learn if new templates are needed or what improvements can be made to existing templates. Google Forms is a great tool for creating simple, instant polling.
Managing branded templates is an ongoing project, but with the right planning and system in place, you can stay on top of it. Stay vigilant because every brand touchpoint matters.
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