Overcoming Brand Management Challenges to Unlock Revenue

SketchDeck teamed up with the digital asset management experts at Canto to host a webinar about the revenue-driving power of brand management at ON24’s Checkpoint Summit. This webinar explores the current state of brand management, the building blocks of branding and brand management strategy, and how to leverage brand management to unlock revenue. Watch the webinar or read the transcript below to learn how your brand can maximize it’s revenue-earning potential with the right brand management practices.

Mike: Hi everybody, and welcome to overcoming brand management challenges to unlock revenue. We’re very excited to be here as a part of the on 24 Checkpoint Summit. I’m Mike Lacey. I’m the Head of Brand and Content at Canto.

Ivy: And I’m Ivy Croteau, the Marketing Manager at SketchDeck. To start, we wanted to discuss the state of brand management in the marketing industry today, and I thought it would be nice to kick off with one of my favorite quotes from Marty Neumeier. “Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity”. Today we’re going to be focusing on how you can build that good strategy to let all that great creative work thrive, grow your brand and eventually grow the revenue that we all want.

So first off, I wanted to do a quick refresher on key branding terminology. As we all know, there are brands that you recognize from their iconic logos like the Nike swoosh, the Apply apple, the McDonald’s golden arches. But as marketers, we know that brands are much more than their most recognizable components. They’re actually these complex ecosystems where the tangible elements like your brand visual identity and your brand voice combine with ongoing processes that we like to call the work of brand management. 

What this does is it makes your brand recognizable, something that consumers know and trust. And that’s what we would call building your brand consistency. Today, we’re going to be focusing on brand management and brand consistency with brand consistency being the goal that’s going to help you unlock that potential revenue and brand management being the solution, the way that you get to brand consistency.

Now in a perfect world, we would all be able to build these beautiful brands and then manage them. And that would be easy and simple. But if you talk to any marketer today, they will tell you that they have a lot on their plate. And those responsibilities are only growing. To keep it short and sweet. Marketers are dealing with more content, more tech and more data.

More content, meaning that there’s a growing demand for content and that content is coming from everywhere. Our competitors are investing in growing their content marketing initiatives as quickly if not faster than we are. Customers and consumers are interacting with more and more content and content is being distributed across channels. That’s a lot to keep up with.

In addition to that we have more marketing technology that is helping us do our jobs better. But it’s also leaving us with more data to process and analyze so that we can produce even more targeted, personalized content for our audiences. All of that puts us at risk for brand management falling through the cracks really easily, which means that you’re going to lose out on the potential revenue gains of having great brand management practices, and getting to that crucial level of brand consistency. Mike is going to tell us a bit more about why brand management is so important nowadays.

Mike: Yeah, to follow up on what Ivy was saying, you and your team have spent so much time and money and creative energy to create this brand identity, your brand identity essentially your brand personality, it’s what you’re going out into the marketplace with. And in order to make sure that brand identity, that message, that look and feel is consistent across all digital touchpoints is why you need a brand management strategy. 

Brand management strategy is the process and the technology by which you can maintain that brand identity across every touchpoint. As you can see here, we’ve listed the marketing rule of seven which says a potential customer must see a message at least seven times before they’ll be provoked to take an action. The takeaway from this is, if you’re not putting out a consistent message and a consistent identity across every touchpoint, customers may potentially not recognize you. They may not know who you are, what you stand for or what you look like. And as a result, some problems could occur. I’m gonna get to that in just a minute.

But basically what I’m trying to say is modern marketers recognize that a strong brand management practice and brand consistency are essential. Essentially, brand consistency equals brand trust with your customers and prospects, which equals increased revenue. The benefits of brand management are that every piece of content is brand consistent, that you have boosted brand awareness across the entire marketplace. It lets you optimize creative workflows for your content teams, increase sales, and achieve an improved and strong brand reputation. And customers and prospects have a positive impression of your company. These are the many benefits of brand management that you will see as you’re starting that process all the way to managing it throughout the marketplace. 

So why should marketers care? I’ve mentioned earlier that having it is important because it’s good for your team to be aligned on what that creative should be, what that brand should look like that you want a consistent presence at every digital touch point. And the reason is, because it is great for the bottom line. And that’s why marketers in general should care.

I have four stats here, I’m actually going to do the second one last because I think it brings home a valuable point. 77% of marketing leaders say a strong brand is critical to their growth plans. 46% of customers will pay more for trusted brands, and companies see 23% increased revenue from achieving brand consistency.

Going back to number 2, 70% of companies report distributing some form of off-brand content, which means that we’re saying there’s a yin and a yang here. We’re acknowledging that brand consistency and a strong brand management strategy is important to maintaining your brand consistency, but also driving revenue. But two thirds of companies are saying that they’re not doing it correctly.

Ivy: So again, just to distill these statistics into two key problems that marketers face, why we see over 2/3 of companies still distributing off-brand content.

Number one, marketers find it difficult to keep up with increasing content demands, we touched on that more content, more tech, more data. It’s incredibly hard to make sure that everything is on brand. When you’re struggling with bandwidth. creating more content means more time in the day dedicated to it. There are only so many hours in the day. And sometimes you don’t have the bandwidth to make sure all that content is on brand.

The second problem is that marketers struggle to ensure brand consistency across projects and teams. Similar to the first but slightly different. When you have that crunch on bandwidth, it makes it even harder to make sure that you’re touching on every project that every separate team is working on and that you have the time to approve and be involved in that content creation process, which again, just leads you to the risk of off-brand content getting distributed.

So now that we’ve talked about the challenges, we’ve set the stage, we’re going to talk about how we solve for this problem. And first, we’re going to talk about the building blocks of brand integrity. These are going to be the tools that you need in your arsenal to be able to achieve brand consistency.

First things first, you can’t build brand integrity without brand guidelines. So, what are your brand guidelines? Your brand guidelines are basically the instruction manual for your brand that you should use whenever you’re creating content. And what it does is it makes sure that your brand always looks and sounds the same, so it is recognizable for your customers. Your brand guidelines tend to include your logos, your fonts, your colors. And the key with brand guidelines is making sure that they’re designed by professionals, that will ensure that they include everything that you need. And then you also need to make sure that you’re using them consistently, if there’s ever a question of whether a piece of content is on brand or off, your brand guidelines will be able to answer that to you, for you.

Mike: So you’ve created these guidelines. Your brand guidelines are saying this is who we are as a brand. This is our brand tone, or voice, our iconography, how we’re going to market. Now what you need, though, is to build the right tech stack around those brand guidelines, you need a single source of truth to maintain brand integrity. 

So I’m gonna introduce the idea here of a digital asset management platform. And what I would propose is that all those brand guidelines and brand assets live in one single platform. A digital asset management platform is very different than the cloud services that some people might use, like Google Drive and Dropbox. And the reason for that is those are meant for individuals or small groups, whereas a digital asset management platform is built for an entire organization. 

That’s why this is really important for brand consistency. Because if your entire organization is working off of one platform, where content and branded assets have been created, and the brand guidelines that dictate how that content should be created, are all in one place. And every part of the organization can access it whenever they need to. Now you’re in a situation where the instructions on how to create great content and where that content lives is all in one place. Therefore, as a result, you’re able to make sure that everything that’s going to market matches your brand in a consistent way each and every single time.

Ivy: So now that we’ve talked about the tools that you need to build brand consistency, we’re going to talk about the process that needs to be layered on top of those tools, so that you can make sure your brand stays consistent.

We’re gonna go back to those brand guidelines because you can build these beautiful guidelines, but if they’re not getting used correctly and consistently, you’re going to lose out on brand consistency. So how do we do that? How do we use our brand guidelines? 

First and foremost, you need to define who is responsible for your brand and for policing your brand. We would consider these people brand guardians, and you’ll commonly see them in roles such as brand managers, CMOs, marketing directors, and designers and design directors. Pretty much anybody who has had a hand in defining your brand, or is touching the majority of the content that you produce. 

Secondly, it’s still essential to train all of your team members. Even though you have these brand guardians in place, everyone on your team and in your organization should have a basic understanding of your brand and your brand guidelines. And at the very least they need to understand who your brand guardians are. So that if they ever have a question about something that they’re creating, they know who to escalate those questions to.

And finally, piggybacking off of that point, it’s very important to establish an approval process. So that involves not just all of your team members, knowing who gets the final say as to whether something is good to distribute, but also making sure that those brand guardians are incorporated as early on in the content creation process as possible. And this is going to help eliminate feedback rounds, eliminate the amount of drafts that you have to go through to create content and materials, and help streamline everything.

And Mike’s gonna tell you a bit more about approval processes and workflows coming up.

Mike: The approval workflows. How would these work in an actionable sort of way? You’ve got these brand guidelines, you know exactly how you should be creating content. Now, there should be a workflow where once content is uploaded to your single source of truth or digital asset management platform, there’s a customized workflow process and approval process where your brand guardian is able to see that piece of content and decide is this good? Is this brand approved? If so, it makes its way onto the platform, if not, it goes back to the creator for some refining to make sure it’s on brand and on message.

Again, everything is going into one place. So regardless of if it’s your team or a team across the world. You’re in California, and you know the brand backwards and forwards, and your entire team knows the brand backwards and forwards. But there’s a satellite office in London, they may not know what the brand is and how it’s evolving month to month. This approval workflow really comes in handy because suddenly these satellite teams know that, no matter what, if they go to the single source of truth, the digital asset management platform, that they’re going to be able to find the content they need, and that it’s brand approved each and every single time.

Also in a single source of truth across every digital touchpoint, you’re able to find the content that you need. In a digital asset management platform, it’s organized, it’s managed, it’s tagged with metadata, facial recognition. It’s able to be filtered by campaign use case. And you can implement content controls, such as how that piece of content should be used in the marketplace, on which channels, and you’re able to control who has access to which pieces of content or which collections can be accessed by whom. So, you’ve got one centralized place that is essentially your brand hub going forward for every part of your organization.

Ivy: Now, that we’ve understood what you need, and what you need to do to have the best brand management practices to achieve brand consistency, we’re going to talk about how you can scale all of these processes, because our brands, we don’t want them to just stay static, we want them to grow.

First and foremost, you need to ensure that you’re building a scalable design and content creation process to overcome content bottlenecks. This is a key issue because 32% of content requests take more than a week to fulfill. And what this leads to is the creation of off-brand content. We’ve all been there. We have a deadline that we need to meet. We know that this project needs to go to design or creative or our content team. We also know that if we send our project to these teams, we’re likely going to miss that deadline. So, well-meaning employees wind up doing it on their own, putting it out into the world, and that’s when off-brand content happens.

But how do you build a scalable design process that can grow with your business? First, what you need to do is define the specific creative and content needs of your team or your business or organization. What this is going to allow you to do is understand where your company is at and what needs are going to best serve your company and it’s current position.

So, say that you’re in the early stages of building your brand, or you’re going through a rebrand, you’re gonna want to look for professionals that have web design experience that are in a position to build out your foundational materials like presentation templates. As opposed to if you’re a brand that’s in a growth stage, you would be looking for people that have more ad campaign experience that can work with you on establishing downloadable content, on growing your brand with specific design needs. All of this is going to let you tailor your design team to where your organization is at right now.

Third, it’s helpful to templatize any repetitive projects. Repetitive projects would include social media posts, sales materials, any pitch decks and presentations, emails, anything that’s going to always have the same structure and look and feel. Templatized projects help with separate teams creating their own materials, it’s going to not only speed up the process, but help them stay on brand more consistently.

And fourth, supplementing your current design resource with an external design solution is something that more and more marketers are recognizing as a powerful tool while they look to scale their brands. What’s great about it is that our design needs our content needs, they fluctuate throughout the year, we’re not always in that mad rush for a holiday campaign. And an external design solution is something that you can scale up when you need additional bandwidth, and then scale back when those needs reduce. So it’s really flexible, it helps you stay on budget, and it makes sure that you’re never running out of that crucial bandwidth, you’re never slowing down your content production process.

Mike: And Ivy just hit on an important concept, the idea of scaling your brand. You’ve built this amazing foundation with your guidelines. You’ve built the right team to create content from those guidelines. You’ve got your single source of truth where all of your brand assets live. But the main goal for all of us is to grow our brands. It’s to grow as an organization where we create more amazing content, get it out there to market and make sure that every single time we’re putting it out there on all these channels, we’re speaking with a consistent voice, and with an increased speed to market.

Coming back to this single source of truth, you’re able to collaborate with these internal and external teams within one platform. Content is coming in from all kinds of channels. but with these approval workflows that we talked about, you’re able to make sure that regardless of which internal team, new vendor, or trusted agency you’ve worked with, it’s always going to be consistent at every touchpoint. There’s also powerful search tools to make sure they are able to find that content within this single platform.

Why this is exciting is that now you’re able to not only create new pieces of content over here, but you’re able to see what existing content you have. And you can reuse and repurpose that content for new use cases, verticals and industries. And that’s where it gets really exciting is it’s no longer just a situation where you have a campaign, and you need to create net-new content, and make sure it’s on brand. 

Every single time now you’re able to say “Okay, Let’s reuse the content used for a previous campaign, tweak it slightly in terms of messaging or target audience”. And now you’re able to leverage that content and the net new content to make sure you’re really having a robust content strategy that doesn’t necessarily break your budget or break the wheel.

So, key takeaways from this presentation, if there’s a few things that Ivy and I would like everybody to take away from this, these are the four main pillars that we came up with.

First off, strong brand management leads to brand consistency. And these are the keys to success for modern brands. And by successful we mean increasing your revenue, increasing your bottom line.

Ivy: The second one is implementing brand guidelines and storing brand assets in a single platform is the best practice to make sure you’re achieving brand consistency across every digital touchpoint.

And third, taking your brand to the next level requires both consistency and scalability. So once you build that consistency, your brand is not going to stay in one place, your brand is going to continue to grow. And you need to make sure that your brand management practices are scalable so that as your brand grows, you’re not going to miss out on maintaining brand consistency, and you’re not going to miss out on that additional revenue.

Mike: And to follow up on that there’s really a people component, you’ve got your your guidelines, the technology, but at the end of the day, you also need to make sure there’s workflows, sustainable content workflows, to overcome content bottlenecks to make sure that everybody in your organization knows this process, as a result of creating the content, how to keep it brand consistent, to make sure that every time you’re going out into market, it’s with that same brand voice and that brand identity.

That is the end of our presentation. I want to say thank you very much to everybody who’s attended. Make sure to check the Resources section of this console. We’ve provided a lot of

great additional content for you. And please make sure to join us in the mark tech marketplace. There is one booth for SketchDeck and one for Canto. I’ll just say if you’re interested in learning more about digital asset management platforms and that single source of truth technology that I’ve been talking about, please check out the Canto booth.

Ivy: And if you are looking for an external design resource, you’re looking to either supplement your current design team or you are looking for a dedicated design team. For any creative needs that you need help with, please check out sketch deck.

Thank you very much, everybody enjoy the rest of the summit. Thanks, everyone.



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