Brand Activation Management

How to leave no stone unturned in your brand audit

Scratch beneath the surface of any global brand, and you will find that the logo really is only the tip of a vast, ever-deepening iceberg.

When a brand’s elements span online, offline and they have been around for several years, it can be difficult to get on top of all the assets and marketing collateral that has been created globally. Whether it’s Janet in accounts sending invoices on outdated letterheads, or a branch across the pond sending out marketing emails without the latest footer revision, there are many overlooked elements of brand consistency that can start to compromise your wider brand image when they’re not nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.

It can be overwhelming to think of the sheer volume of assets being created every day, particularly if you are a Brand Manager. 

We’ve put together a comprehensive checklist that will give your team a base to take stock of what they have, what’s missing and identify any assistance they may need to be brought in line with your brand. 

There is a lot to cover, but every brand needs to start somewhere. 

It doesn’t matter whether you tackle the necessities straight away or look at a staggered plan of attack. Keep your focus on those that are critical to the brand and the business.

Get each team to evaluate the pros and cons of all applications and align yourselves on what the priorities are. 

Let’s start right at the beginning… 

Strategy fundamentals 

Make strategy insights available globally

Does each of your teams have access to the marketing insight relevant to their locations and verticals? Workshop write-ups and reports, audits, audience segmentation and other areas of insight could prove invaluable to teams.

And though many of them are likely to have it somewhere, is it documented in a unified way? And is it easily accessible to be updated on an ongoing basis?

Ensure communication strategies are documented

This extends beyond just core marketing activity. Every layer of interaction with your brand will have some sort of strategy in place, whether or not it’s documented consistently will be another story altogether. There’s internal communications, employer brand marketing, customer engagement and sales strategies, content marketing, brand ambassadors and more. Even down to your sustainability and purpose strategies which may run alongside other core campaigns.

All these strategies need to be documented in an accessible folder for everyone to view, edit and read. Without this, employees will lose sight of your employer brand, internal communications, sales strategies and more. 

Building a bigger brand picture  

Do employees and customers understand your brand hierarchy? While internally this is of more importance, if you are part of a wider umbrella brand, it’s important this is recognised within your external branding (where required). Each team should understand the structure of the business and how the brand they represent and associated product sub-brands fit in.

This will give them greater clarity on the position of the brand globally and help them speak confidently should a client question it in the future. 

Know who you are as a brand 

If you asked an employee from each office to explain your brand’s mission statement, would they all be aligned? Likewise, ensuring your brand positioning, values and vision is consistently communicated to your target audience can’t be understated. This is the very crux of your brand story and if this isn’t embedded into your teams, it’s highly unlikely the marketing that’s being produced is in line with what you want to communicate. 

Understand your brand voice 

It’s not just what you communicate, it’s how you communicate. While cultural nuance will dictate differences in key messaging and products/services, the top-line tone and voice style should mostly be reflective of the type of brand you are. Quirky, corporate, technical, friendly – languages are no barrier to helping this shine through. 

Visual identity fundamentals 

Back to basics 

Your visual language isn’t just the way you present your brand, products and service from a design point of view, but also the words and formatting you use to do so. If your offerings are supposed to be distinct then you may have wildly different product names, sub-brands, URLs and social handles, but if they all fit under one category or are part of the same product or service family, then having some kind of unification will help strengthen your brand further. 

Think about the formatting, but also the way these are presented visually through logos and icons. Is there any opportunity to make things more integrated? 

Creating extensive guidelines 

From photography, video, logos and iconography through to colour palettes, fonts and their usage, having strict guidelines in place for each marketing team across the globe should help restrict brand inconsistencies and errors. Ideally, you would have a centrally managed digital space for this (like with Papirfly’s ‘educate’ section of the portal), so teams always have access to the latest information, a single source of truth for their particular country or region.  

Likewise, the way that teams give briefs, deliver print or digital work, use certain elements in certain applications should all be part of a uniform set of processes. 

Brand experience fundamentals  

The importance of stationery 

Every touchpoint a user or customer has with your brand will influence their perception and serve to either strengthen or shatter. Consider the business cards your sales team hand out, the header on their LinkedIn profile or the email footers they use at the end of a communication. A small, seemingly insignificant nod to your brand on the surface, but incredibly important for a positive, joined-up brand experience.

Are the letterheads that clients receive invoices on correct? Are all pitches and reports produced using the same templates? There’s a plethora of documentation to consider, and once you have the basic templates and elements down, it will be much easier to execute everything else.  

Digital and print application

Brands need a common thread between their digital and marketing assets, and ensuring visuals are well-thought-out and planned respective of their applications is paramount. The website is the cornerstone piece of collateral and both this and your brand guidelines should dictate the way your email templates, social media posts, videos and more should look. Likewise, translating digital-first design into a way that works for print is also vital. 

Wider employee brand adoption 

Outside of your marketing, there will be many other strands of the business that interact with and act as advocates for the brand. Whether this is an end-of-year report produced by the CFO, the scripts used by the sales team on email, social media and over the phone, right through to internal newsletters. There are many people that will have some sort of brand influence with both internal and external stakeholders. Ensure the message gets carried across correctly and in line with both your TOV and visual style guidelines.  

Company-wide environments 

Even if your office is one that clients and customers never visit, if you want your employees to buy into your brand you should make sure signage and interior design is reflective of the values you are trying to instil. From the imagery you use on your windows to the wrapping of company vehicles – if it’s part of your business, it needs to look the part. 

Asset management fundamentals 

Having a central repository of imagery, assets guidelines and more will enable your teams to keep up-to-date with the latest marketing materials and rules. Having a system such as BAM by Papirfly™ will keep all of your brand guidelines, campaign assets and more categorised and prioritised for each region. You can also specify who can make edits to what. They can then edit on-brand templates to create new digital and print assets without any design skills needed.    

Likewise, all photography, illustrations, brand guides and dedicated templates will only be visible to the teams they are relevant to.

Where to start with your brand audit…

Though we covered much more than the tip of the iceberg, we have only scratched partway through the surface. Depending on your brand’s industry, budgets and demand for marketing materials, will ultimately depend on which areas of the above list you tackle first. 

Embracing a BAM portal will not only give you the freedom to create and the governance to control brand consistency, you will also go through a process that helps you get the finer details of your brand set in stone once and for all.

Learn how much wasted time, money and resources your brand could be saving, discover BAM or book a demo with one of our team today.