Working on a number of different channels at once can be difficult, especially when your company reaches a global scale. How can you stay compliant with all regional policies, laws, and regulations, while also staying true to your brand? How is it possible to stay consistent with your branding efforts across all platforms?
The challenges that marketing departments face is an increasingly apparent one, especially considering how swiftly market trends shift. What makes it even more difficult is navigating these challenges while also making sure that each internal operation can still perform their job duties successfully.
As an example, Smart Insights talks about the importance of maintaining strong communication between different marketing departments to reduce the risk of a digital traffic jam. One department is focused on market research and strategy development, coming up with the perfect kind of content that will really drive the message home to your audience. Another may be at the receiving end of the assets, and it’s their job to distribute this content between all types of media in the right way, without wasting too much time doing it. Staying on time, on budget, and on track to increasing ROI can be difficult to balance alone.
It’s important to follow the strict standards laid out by a brand that unifies different functions and serves many purposes. When you focus on brand compliance, the values of an organization can remain intact despite the use of multiple channels.
The proper attention to brand compliance also increases the odds of obtaining higher sales, improving communication, and preventing branding errors.
What Does Compliance Mean for a Brand?
Compliance is defined differently for each brand. Sometimes the process is as easy as making a few small examinations. Other times, in the case of global brands, there may be several more steps involved in the process to keep the values of the brand intact.
These are just a few of the ways to ensure compliance:
- Maintaining visual elements such as logos and branding colors
- Displaying a uniform message across all channels
- Uphold all values through any form of communication that might take place
It’s important to note that there is a difference between brand consistency and brand compliance. Although the two are similar, there are a few notable differences.
Brand compliance actually serves as one of the vital functions of brand consistency. The benefits of maintaining brand compliance can reward an owner tenfold, but failure to do so may result in devastating results.
Before we get into the exact strategies used to remain compliant, let’s examine first the importance of accomplishing this goal.
Benefits and Consequences
It’s important to understand the benefits of brand compliance, so you understand what the results will yield when this happens. However, it’s just as important to have a clear picture of what the consequences are if this challenge is failed.
Benefits of Brand Compliance
Remember, maintaining brand compliance requires more than just placing the logo in creatives and keeping the colors uniform. These are some of the most significant benefits of properly adhering to brand compliance.
Improving the Success of Your Brand
Studies have shown that customers tend to maintain a stronger relationship with companies that uphold their image and place emphasis on brand compliance. It’s been estimated that 40% of consumers are willing to pay higher prices for brands that they are used to seeing.
A whopping 60% of these customers end up telling other people about these brands and end up creating free word-of-mouth advertising. When brands are seen as successful, normally, it’s because they hold themselves accountable for staying true to their values and ethics.
Setting rules for brand compliance ensures that the best efforts are always focused on remaining compliant. The right messages should always reach the appropriate targets during any campaign.
Brand consistency improves the relationship between an organization and its customers, and compliance remains a large part of developing and maintaining consistency.
Brand compliance doesn’t seem like it plays a large role in the consistency of sales within an organization. This is especially true considering the fact that it’s a part of marketing.
However, have you considered what could happen if there is a disconnect from the target audience in terms of brand consistency? The marketing department creates a product that the audience ends up seeing. Then the audience ends up talking with another department that represents the brand.
If the audience receives an inconsistent message, there will be a noticeable change in the atmosphere for customers. This can lead to a great deal of mistrust.
In the same way that bad brand compliance can potentially waste millions of dollars of a marketing department’s money, good brand compliance may pay huge dividends. It definitely ends up resulting in a better and stronger bottom line after all the dust settles.
It’s been estimated that having good brand compliance can increase revenue by up to 30%. Most customers expect brands to offer similar values and ethics regardless of the channel they’re viewing them on.
What about the negative results from failure to adhere to brand compliance?
Negative Results from Not Maintaining Brand Compliance
Failure to uphold brand compliance can bring unsavory results.
Erases the Efforts of Marketers and Financial Investments
There’s nothing worse in business than investing money in something that doesn’t deliver results. What’s even worse is investing money in something that should have brought results but ended up being ruined by other parties.
This is exactly what happens when brand compliance isn’t met. Without structured compliance, there is a real risk of misuse and a ton of room for error. These mistakes can end up costing an organization a lot of money.
It’s important to note that marketing usually takes up around 15% of an organization’s budget. This is a large amount, especially when there exists a chance that compliance may be ignored.
What’s even more alarming is the fact that the overall percentage is increasing over time.
When it comes to communication in the corporate world, the type of contact that takes place is important. Normally, when customers contact brands, 80% of the time it’s to ask for help.
When communication takes place from one department to another or across various channels, it’s easy to get the message misconstrued. However, when there is someone designated to manage this communication, it’s very easy to get the message correct.
Brand compliance can provide a solution for inconsistent messaging or misinformation that can be spread by not being compliant. When different departments share documents or other information, inconsistent messaging ends up being the result.
In terms of customers, having the right conversations helps brand compliance and consistency. The first three or four seconds of a message are the most important parts of any communication between a customer and a company.
When you examine these benefits and consequences, it’s easy to recognize the need for brand consistency and compliance. With the right organizational structure and attention to detail, a strategy can be implemented to ensure compliance is met.
FuseBox One utilizes 8 top strategies that are used by big multi-channel companies to keep consistent with both branding and compliance. Here’s how it’s done:
1. Develop an Official Resource
Everybody in every department should be referring back to a single guide or resource to determine what to do with branding in different situations. This is a must-utilize technique especially if you are a global company. Spanning marketing and advertising strategies across different countries can certainly be tricky, especially with so many different compliance laws at play. You need a one-stop portal that holds all of your branding information, so no stone is left unturned and no employee is left asking, “What do we do in this specific situation?”
Custom platform branding is part of our FuseBox One Enterprise package. When you get set up with your marketing asset management system, you can designate all of your brand’s resources into one handy area. Worried about security? You can customize that too. If you want some members of your department to access the resource but not others, you can pick and choose who receives a key to the portal. Utilize this automated tool to ensure that your official brand guidelines are not only accessible by all who need them, but are in compliance with whatever policies are in place.
2. Customize Locally, Not Broadly
Leave the asset recycling to the marketing asset management tool and only focus on content customization when you need to make changes locally. Your MAM can handle everything on a broad scale, ensuring that your branding stays consistent no matter where in the world your marketing team is working from. Plus, it’s difficult for marketing teams to create so much custom content for regions all over the world. There may not be enough time in the day, or enough manpower, to produce that much.
Instead, local teams should be dedicated to curating content that works specifically for that region. A better way to use your employees’ time and your company’s resources is to keep branding the same on the global level, while focusing smaller projects on custom content if a certain region or localized marketing strategy demands it. At least 90% of multi-channel organizations use custom content as part of their global advertising process.
3. Get in Front of Compliance Standards
Whether you are a B2B operation navigating compliance standards set by a partner’s brand, or you are establishing your own compliance guide, you need to keep consistency as a top priority. Those who have been operating in multiple different countries for some time have gotten into the habit of focusing their marketing efforts on the compliance of each individual country, losing sight of what makes their brand unique. What they end up with is a number of different campaigns that hardly look like each other, as if they are for different brands altogether.
You can avoid this problem down the road by defining your compliance standards up front, keeping your brand’s vision at the forefront of every strategy. That way, you can make extra certain that your company’s voice is being heard the right way, the same way, across all channels. Individual campaigns can still have unique, custom-made content that caters to the specific country, but they will still require the brand cohesion that will make your business appear strong across all borders.
4. Create a Department Dedicated to Branding
Every department within an organization should be familiar with compliance and what it entails. However, adding an extra layer of security to ensure this compliance is a surefire way to make sure the rules are enforced.
It should be clearly outlined what the brand compliance department’s job is and what they need to accomplish. Each member of this department should be clear on job tasks, as well as scheduling.
The team should have a firm understanding of what brand compliance looks like for your organization and work to manage and maintain these elements throughout the company. There is no preset mark of how big this team should be. This depends on the overall size of your organization and how many departments will be overseen.
It should also be noted that a manager or leader should check in with the brand compliance team periodically to make sure things are running smooth and the job is understood. Otherwise, you have the chance of a department leading the way that doesn’t know what the process entails.
Without proper leadership, this doesn’t accomplish anything positive in the way of brand compliance. It can actually make the situation worse.
5. Check and Re-Check Your Branding
The products and services of a company can change from time to time. When this happens, there exists a chance for disconnect or failed brand compliance and consistency. Sometimes these mistakes aren’t noticed and may have no effect, but it’s important to be aware of them, nonetheless.
This is when it becomes important to have a system in place that’s dedicated to monitoring and correcting these changes. New and upcoming products should always be evaluated for consistency and compliance.
The only way this works correctly is by turning it into a routine. Regardless of how big or small the products or changes are, there should always be a system in place that examines compliance with said products.
Scheduling evaluations on a regular basis will ensure things don’t slip through without being detected. What types of things should be evaluated exactly?
- Does the product or service maintain company ideals?
- Are the values present across all variations of the product or service?
- Is the mission statement of the organization still present?
It may seem like it’s time-consuming, but this process shouldn’t be ignored. This is especially true considering these evaluations will help products sell more, and they’ll be consistent with what customers love about your brand, to begin with.
6. Encourage Employees to Get Involved
Not every department is on board with branding efforts. In a perfect world, this would be true; however, it just can’t always be counted on. How do you go about making sure they jump on board?
One of the most important things is making sure that the right people are discussing compliance and consistency. There could be occasional tests regarding brand mission, logos, colors, and other important characteristics of the brand. The more informed everyone is, the higher the chances for the overall success of the entire organization.
7. Use Software to Make the Process Easier
A lack of version control presents the biggest problem during project and marketing campaigns. Nearly 10,000 files get lost on company systems, and crucial branding documents end up being unorganized and difficult to find.
Teams end up sharing materials through departments, and somehow things get lost in the translation. It’s nearly impossible without an automated system to make sure that employees get the latest versions of all the documents they’re supposed to have.
Brands run into the following issues without having the proper types of software:
- Misplaced, lost, and unorganized files
- Version problems during campaigns and projects
This is only a portion of the problems that exist, though. Having a system that stores assets in a central location for easy access is one of the most important elements of the right software. Marketing asset management is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this task.
The right MAM software will manage all brand assets, ensuring that any project or campaign launch uses the correct branding elements. Assets may also be centralized to enable fast and easy retrieval of updated creatives and other elements.
When you have this software available, this can be an efficient way to ensure proper compliance across all channels.
8. Examine Guidelines and Communication Materials
If the previous strategies have all been followed, such as implementing MAM software, most likely there’s no longer a need for guidelines. At the minimum, it means a new set of guidelines probably won’t need to be created.
However, this doesn’t mean that the previous guidelines and communication materials have to be permanent or unchangeable. Examining your existing guidelines periodically can increase brand compliance, which is important considering this will increase revenue by up to 25%.
It’s important to evaluate what is working and what’s not. Stick with the material that seems to be promoting stronger brand compliance, and either disregard or redevelop the material that isn’t sticking.
You should also consider the communication material that your audience has access to. Are they different at various locations? Are they similar? How could they be changed to improve overall compliance?
If one location has an option for customers to communicate via live chat, this should be something that’s implemented company-wide. This is becoming a standard in customer service and something customers consider a valuable commodity.
When these things are available at only certain locations, and customers find out, it could cause a negative image of the way you’re approaching customer service. There’s no reason for a customer to ever feel they have less of a chance to be heard and have their concerns addressed throughout the buying experience.
Usually, it doesn’t take long to address and fix these types of concerns. Having regular meetings and checking up on each location, and noting what’s being implemented can ensure better compliance and consistency.
Get Ahead of the Game with Asset Creation
Eager to implement the above strategies, but worried you don’t have enough assets to keep the ball rolling? Custom asset engineering works as part of your overall marketing asset management system to push new content that can be shared across a multitude of channels – without breaking brand compliance. Consistency and customization work together to power up your business resources so you can execute effective marketing campaigns.
FuseBox One Marketing Management Platform Is Your Answer to Compliance Issues
The FuseBox One Marketing Management Platform is your toolbox for all things marketing. Whether you have too many country-specific assets that don’t match global brand consistency, or you are faced with a shortage of custom materials that will directly impact your target audience, you can use the marketing resource center in a way that works best for you. This is the most comprehensive method of creating brand-loyal assets while taking the labor of busywork away from your intelligent marketing staff.
When you spend less time fixing brand compliance and more time researching market trends, this creates higher amounts of revenue for your company. Additionally, paying more attention to customer service needs will do wonders for the image of your company.
Significant amounts of time are already put into developing compliance and painting a picture of what that is. If only one round of work is put forth to develop these rules with less frequency of revisiting and ensuring compliance, more resources and time can be freed to actually launch new campaigns and focus on new ideas.