Brand Activation Management

Brand Activation Management and your business - control your brand

October 2019 Written by Papirfly

The power to transform how the world engages with your brand – that’s BAM. It’s having the tools in place to consistently and effectively communicate your brand identity to your audiences across the globe.

Your brand is what sets you apart from the crowd in your industry, the unique components and values that motivate customers to buy from you, employees to work for you and the general public to remember you. In an increasingly competitive landscape, activating that brand in the minds of consumers is more crucial than ever before.

Here, you can discover how brand activation management works to fix your one-of-a-kind identity in the minds of your audiences and eliminate any ambiguity in your messaging. Learn how imperative clear, unwavering brand messaging is in developing a deep bond with your customers, employees and more, and how BAM software gives you complete control over what this messaging looks like now and as you evolve.

What is brand activation management?

In order to effectively define brand activation management, it is important to understand what brand activation is. While the meaning of this term varies from company to company, in essence it is the process of creating a memorable, lasting connection between your brand and your customers by providing a distinct brand experience.

How does this differ from brand marketing? Well, while brand marketing encompasses the many ways you actively promote and communicate your brand across your various channels, brand activation is about how this creates a deep, emotional link to your audience.

Pretend for a moment that your brand is a lump of coal – solid, but not at its full potential – brand activation is the lighter fluid and the spark that helps ignite your brand for everyone to see. This can be achieved by a number of brand activation strategies and techniques, such as:

  • Experiential marketing
  • In-person events
  • Promotional campaigns
  • In-store marketing
  • Sampling/taster events

Brand activation also plays a key role in improving your brand equity. Employing these techniques goes a long way to developing an attachment to your brand identity among your customers and the wider public, and this enhanced familiarity increases the value attached to your brand.

Brand activation management is therefore how you organise and utilise all available assets you need to ensure the consistency, frequency and adaptability required to achieve the recognition and appreciation of consumers, as well as your employees, potential recruits and the public at large.

Brand presentation is often at risk of instability. People involved in your brand management might have their own interpretations of what your messages are meant to say. Imagery gets tweaked, the tone gradually alters… before you know it, your brand has morphed into something you definitely didn’t intend.

introduction to brand activation software

Effective BAM software, like our solutions at Papirfly, presents a single destination for all relevant brand assets for your teams across the globe. This fulfils several important goals:

  • Delivering an infinite amount of quality marketing collateral regardless of the creative expertise of the person producing the assets
  • Storing and organising all brand assets in a central location, so they are straightforward for employees to access to support custom campaigns
  • Empowering employees to play a role in how your brand is presented and projected to your audiences
  • Maintaining complete brand consistency across all markets, with all employees gaining a greater understanding of your brand’s purpose, guidelines and evolution
  • Taking all brand activation work in-house, reducing the cost and lengthy turnaround times associated with using agencies or dedicated design departments

Brand management tools (as well as brand managers) are responsible for improving your visibility and cementing the identity and characteristics of your brand onto your current and prospective customers. They are in place to help your organisation:

Create, educate, manage, store & share definitions

This is as important to maintain for established, celebrated organisations with a worldwide reach to a recently introduced startup - arguably, it’s an even bigger challenge to maintain consistency across multiple international outlets. A trusted brand management system is critical in presenting a unified message about your brand, ensuring all consumers are never ambiguous as to what your missions, visions and characteristics are.

In this deeply competitive landscape, your brand is the primary differentiator in driving customers to choose YOU over the others in your field. Brand activation management is the key to allowing audiences to identify what your brand stands for across all your locations, and in today’s landscape, that is priceless.

What is brand asset management?

Brand asset management is the tools required to preserve, manage and communicate your brand’s DNA to your various audiences by completely organising your available brand assets. Your primary audience is likely your customers, but may also encapsulate:

  • Employees (and the recruitment of potential employees)
  • Investors / Shareholders
  • The General Public

Brand asset management is how you organise the various assets crucial to your organisation’s identity and objectives into one, standardised approach. Keeping all brand assets in a single space is vital to ensuring all marketing uniformly follows your unique values as a company, so your audiences develop familiarity with your brand and can recall it effectively.

Inconsistencies lead to a confusing picture of who you are as a brand, making it less likely people will forge a lasting, meaningful connection with it. Above all else, an effective brand asset management system should go a long way to eliminating discrepancies in your brand identity.

It might take 5-7 impressions of a brand for customers to truly identify and recall it - your brand asset management software is vital to ensuring the same overarching messages and values are projected across all these encounters with your branding.

Where brand asset management differs from brand activation management is based on scope. Brand asset management concentrates on the organisation and storage of your unique assets for your whole team to access.

Brand activation management incorporates this, but takes this further, giving your teams a platform to rapidly create studio-standard marketing materials using your assets, ensuring everything you output is consistent with your values and the culture of the audience it is directed towards.

What is included in your brand assets?

What exactly are brand assets? This covers a broad range of files, designs, graphics and more that help people identify a piece of marketing collateral or communication with your organisation. 

examples of brand assets
Your brand activation management software is essential to keeping all of these critical files in easy reach of employees in your various outlets, ensuring anything they create maintains the same central branding that your organisation is associated with, with no deviations.

What can brand activation management software help your teams do?

The scope of brand activation management software extends further than a typical Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. While retaining the same function of keeping all crucial brand assets in one central location, these brand management tools also give your teams capacity to:

what brand activation software can do for businesses
How does brand activation management relate to digital asset management?

There are tangible differences in the purposes and functionalities of a brand activation management system and a digital asset management system. The uninitiated bystander would be forgiven for thinking it’s just two ways of saying the same thing, but in actuality, the reach of brand activation software is considerably greater.

A top-notch DAM system provides an organisation with an in-depth, boundless repository of marketing materials and branding elements for teams in every location to access at any time. This central library of collateral will likely contain a mix of images, photos, creative files, videos, audio files, presentations and documents, all easy to filter through, locate and retrieve for use across your various marketing platforms.

Sounds fairly similar so far, right? However, where BAM software takes the edge is across the areas of brand activation, brand portals, intelligent templates and more.

Beyond just a repository of assets, this software allows your workforces to create agency-standard materials, educate audiences on what your brand is all about, manage multiple campaigns to achieve consistency across numerous channels, and share brand assets across your teams from one central location.

A BAM system provides the support your employees need to create their own content, without sacrificing on message consistency or brand erosion, something our solutions have been specially created to protect. This is incredibly effective in producing localised content or improving your agility in responding to news and trends.

Why is brand activation management important for businesses?

The importance of a brand activation management service for companies of all sizes and in all industries cannot be overstated.

With the crowded economic landscape making it more and more challenging for organisations to set themselves apart, a clearly defined, powerful and recognisable brand is imperative in informing customers why they should choose you over everyone else.

brand familiarity statThe power of your brand in establishing a true, tangible connection with your audiences is increasingly valuable at a time where many businesses in your industry will provide the same core services and products as you - it’s how you distinguish yourself and create that indispensable emotional tie that keeps them coming back.

Brand activation management helps companies achieve this degree of brand recognition and familiarity in many ways, notably:

Brand consistency

First and foremost, global brand governance is the core benefit of brand activation management software. This will be explored further a little later in this article, but suffice to say that inconsistency is one of the biggest blockers to building brand strength.

Especially for executives in large, global-reaching companies, there is so much opportunity for local outlets to deviate from the overall brand vision without brand activation management, often completely unintentionally. Whether it’s a language barrier issue, an instruction that’s been misinterpreted or new branding guidelines not reaching all your teams, this can result in misaligned marketing collateral. Even worse, is the repercussions:

  • Customers not knowing what your brand stands for, making it appear weak and not worth investing in
  • A disjointed customer journey, with different steps along the way not correlating to the ones that came before it
  • Your employees and partners not having a clear sense of brand objectives, reducing their engagement and capacity as brand advocates

Brand activation management, by keeping all the guidelines, strategic thinking and branded assets in one location, removes the risk of an inconsistent brand damaging your relationship to your audiences.

Brand relevance

Let’s say your market intelligence has revealed a gap in the market, with a very narrow time window to fill it. Or perhaps a new trend has emerged and you need to tweak your marketing focus to reflect it. Traditionally, mobilising your branding and marketing in these situations is a real challenge, particularly when you need to reach multiple outlets at once or there is something going on in a localised area - this often results in plenty of missed opportunities.

When 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a brand that provides a personalised, localised experience, being able to keep your branding and marketing collateral relevant and up-to-date is vital. Brand activation management allows everyone in your organisation to work from a single source of brand assets, and produce high-quality marketing materials to jump on events, with no design expertise required.

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Brand efficiency

Far too often there appears a need for each local outlet in your organisation to ‘reinvent the wheel’ with their own marketing campaigns, which is far from efficient. If they are producing absolutely everything from scratch with little reference to what’s happening elsewhere in the organisation, this increases the risk of brand inconsistency and reduces your ability to churn out materials for your worldwide audience.

By keeping all necessary assets in one place to be accessed and adapted to fit each outlet’s ever-evolving requirements, brand activation management systems make it easier for your organisation’s teams to produce work efficiently. Every image, logo, product description, video, animation or price list can be centrally stored and simply retrieved, to be reutilised or adapted for future use.

This supports your capacity to engage and build a connection with your customers, as well as present better working conditions for your team with straightforward BAM tools.

With need to preserve and propel your brand greater than ever to a worldwide audience spoilt for choices, brand activation management works to maximise your presence and constantly reinforce your identity.

How does brand activation management help you achieve brand consistency?

We have noted how one of the core objectives of brand activation management is achieving total brand consistency. When you’re at the helm of a global organisation with outlets based in numerous countries, this can be a challenge for several reasons:

  • Language barriers
  • Complying with cultural standards
  • The vast array of channels you market through
  • Bad interpretations of brand guidelines (by local teams or agencies)
  • Lack of clearly defined guidelines
  • Human error

How important is brand consistency? Well consider some of the following statistics:Brands consistently presented to consumers are 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility
  • Consistent branding results in 23% more annual revenue for organisations than those that are inconsistent
  • 71% of companies consider customer confusion the biggest negative impact of an inconsistent brand
stats on brand guidelinesA consistent brand is a strong brand supported by comprehensive guidelines - one that understands who they are, what they stand for and where they are going. That is the type of brand that customers identify with if they share similar values and the type of brand that fosters repeat business. Unless you have a consistent approach, messages can quickly become diluted, key information can get lost, and customers can get confused.

Plus, brand consistency doesn’t just apply to your customers, but plays a key role in your employer branding as well. If there is a disconnection between your employees’ view and your external communication with potential new hires about what your brand is, you are sending out confusing messages and will likely fail to effectively engage both external and internal personnel, leading to dips in productivity and motivation.

Achieving this all-important brand consistency isn’t straightforward, but it is essential. The following three tips should go some way to realising the right balance:

1. Set parameters for your employees

Limit the potential for human error or confusion between team members causing brand inconsistency by setting clear boundaries as to who has access to what resources.

BAM software is an effective tool here as you can adjust permission levels for your various members of staff. These smart templates give your team members flexibility within a set framework, meaning they’re enabled to explore their creativity, but can’t veer away from your brand guidelines.

2. Assess your existing channels in line with your brand identity

While most brands will want to spread their message to as wide an audience as possible, determining the best channels for your brand is crucial. If the tone of your brand is especially corporate and strait-laced, your marketing materials might not be fit for Instagram, in the same way that an energetic, kid-friendly company could steer clear of LinkedIn.

There are no clearly-defined rules for this, but if your brand voice and the channels you work on clash too notably, team members could resort to twisting your message to try and fit the audience.

3. Embrace the power of repetition

By repetition, we don’t mean sending out the same exact pieces of content once a week in a bid to stay consistent. No, audiences want to see fresh designs and perspectives. But, brand templates and guidelines found within your brand activation management software ensure that when adjustments are made to your assets, they do not steer away from your overarching messages.

These brand management tools and templates do not just help achieve the consistency you’re looking for across your marketing materials. They will also significantly optimise the process of producing these, making your organisation more agile to events and the ever-evolving needs of your customers in locations worldwide.

While the messaging, tone and language of your marketing will likely be tweaked to speak to your different audiences across your different channels and locations, it should never come at the expense of the core values and characteristics of your organisation. Brand consistency is vital to creating an unblurred, unambiguous presentation of your company to your customers, employees and the wider world, so no one is left in any doubt about what you stand for.

Brand activation management is a valuable asset in realising this goal. It allows you to create an infinite amount of collateral from the same source material. Brochures, videos, emails, social media assets and more can all be crafted from this branding to ensure consistency across the board, ensuring nothing needs to be built from scratch and potentially lose the essence of your one-of-a-kind brand voice.

What benefits does BAM software offer businesses?

Brand activation management software presents several valuable advantages for organisations looking to cement their brand in the hearts and minds of their audiences, be it building a loyal customer base or developing a unified culture within all aspects of your company.

Outside of what we’ve already discussed in this article, here are three more of these systems’ most important benefits below:

Localising your content

For brand’s with a global reach, there is so much to consider in speaking to audiences overseas that do not share the same outlooks as the people in your headquarters. You have to take into account, among other elements, different:

ba_Brand-Activation-08

Did you know that 71% of marketers feel less than half of their content is being consumed effectively because it doesn’t take into account their local and mobile audiences? Now more than ever, it is imperative that global brands speak to their audiences on a local, personal level in order to build that relationship with your audience.

Plus, say for example you’re a worldwide retailer based in America, and one of your stores in Austria has spotted a positive trend for one of their products and wants to run a promotion around it. Traditionally, this would need to be communicated back and forth between HQ and the store, often involving your main marketing team or a local agency.

The time this takes means you miss the window of opportunity, and even if the bespoke materials arrive on time, there is potential for either your brand message to be lost in translation or in the rush you don’t consider the area’s cultural sensitivities.

Brand activation management makes the production of localised marketing significantly faster and more straightforward. With all central assets in one location to be easily accessed by your teams globally, your brand messaging can be effectively adapted to overcome cultural barriers and quickly turnaround content based on local audiences’ behaviours.

Enhanced efficiency across the board

As well as improve an organisations’ ability to turnaround tailored content for their local audiences, brand activation management goes even further in optimising the way companies market themselves across the globe.

Nintex reports that one of the most broken processes employees face is locating documents, with 49% of those surveyed stating this takes too much time in their organisation. When your company is spread across multiple locations, and your key brand assets aren’t stored in one central, easy-to-access space, it can lead to combined hours lost trying to find the assets required to create fresh marketing materials. And you can never get this time back.

BAM software, with its Digital Asset Management functionality, removes this waste of time and helps marketers and companies in general operate in a more streamlined, efficient manner. These systems help you organise, label and store assets in one fundamental location, where anyone can quickly filter through, locate and utilise for the asset they intend to create.

brand activation and digital asset management visual

Furthermore, traditional marketing processes would often require many rounds of proofing before they are released to the public. These processes are important to avoid mistakes, but they take up a lot of time from key individuals, time that might be better served for strategic thinking or other duties.

A brand activation management system’s comprehensive templating tools can have your people, regardless of design expertise, producing on-brand and perfectly-formatted marketing content from this location. With all brand assets in place, this reduces the chance for materials that go against your brand voice, and subsequently slashing the time-consuming revision process.

The type of errors that require proofing and correction often come about because creatives do not have the information at hand to help them get it right the first time. Brand activation management reduces the chance of errors cropping up immediately, making it easier to spot errors and address them.

Remove the need for agency interference

The whole point of outsourcing marketing to an agency is to get better results - either to turnaround work faster to your audiences, or to give your teams more time for other responsibilities. However, in reality working with agencies opens up a whole new set of problems.

Whether it’s the use of non-approved fonts that your own people don’t have the license to use, through to the apparent inability of the agency to collaborate effectively with your in-house team, it can result in materials that are not fit-for-purpose and do not project your unique brand identity.

In most cases, this happens completely unintentionally, and that’s due to an agency not being able to build as strong an understanding of your brand as you have. While they will unquestionably have the best intentions for your organisation in mind, without that thorough, complete comprehension of your brand, there are chances for inconsistencies to creep in and affect your brand equity in these locations.

Brand activation management enables your team to take your brand marketing in-house, reducing the chance of miscommunications or misunderstandings between you and the agencies you work with from impacting the quality of your messaging. Providing a single source of truth for all your latest documents, information, fonts and guides and a straightforward interface to team members, work can be quickly conducted by your own staff.

This not only removes the potential for agencies to misinterpret your brand identity across your various marketing channels, but also increases the ROI of your marketing efforts by using effective templating and creation tools.

How does brand activation software empower your employees?

Much of this article has concentrated on the benefits brand activation management brings to your organisation’s ability to communicate your messages, visions and objectives to your customers. What shouldn’t go unappreciated is the advantages BAM software offers to your employees, enhancing how they work and appreciate your brand.

Of course, the consistent, streamlined production of branded materials sent out to customers can also be passed onto employees through your internal corporate communications. Whether this is in the company handbook, staff feedback forms or simply the signature on your email chains, these brand management tools help introduce and reinforce your brand’s identity to your teams on a reoccurring basis.

Getting as much of your team as possible involved in marketing content creation makes sense on every level:

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Brand activation management covers all of the above, working to make life easier for your employees and place them at the forefront of your marketing efforts. With all brand assets accessible through a central portal, employees can dedicate a short amount of time to create studio-quality materials that maintain complete compliance with your branding.

The true benefit offered by a BAM system here is its ease of use for people regardless of their design skills, something our team at Papirfly have sought to perfect within our solutions. Providing intuitive creative suites for the development of social assets, videos, banners, brochures, signage and much more with clear branding parameters, employees are actively encouraged to try creative ways to market to their audience.

This sets more minds to the goal of marketing your brand, and more minds mean more ideas, and more ideas mean more good ideas. By enabling all members of your teams globally to construct assets, brand activation management might help you stumble upon a brilliant new approach to promoting your services.

Plus, employees that feel more fulfilled creatively are likely to be happy to come into work and stay for the long-term. This added motivation and enthusiasm will lead to a more productive workforce in all corners of the globe, and this will play a key role in attracting new recruits to your company, supporting the strength of your employer brand.

Is BAM software a better option than outsourcing?

Let’s say you want to create a digital or in-store banner promoting that several of your items are now on sale in one of your locations. You want your banner ads to hit home, encourage action and encapsulate your overarching brand message. But, you don’t have the creative expertise to handle this in-house, and so you outsource work to a local agency to deliver this signage.

However, this approach to creating marketing materials comes with notable risks, including:

  • Describing what you’re looking for and your brand objectives to a third party could leave room for misinterpretation
  • You’ll still need to provide significant amounts of information to the agency to perform their work - product information, imagery, prices, etc.
  • There will likely need to be at least one round of revisions after the first draft is completed, eating into your time
  • Outsourcing is invariably more expensive than handling banner design in-house, and will take longer to complete
  • With an agency, you will likely be just one of several clients they work for, so your work could be bumped down as a result of other priorities

This creates an unwelcome scenario for a global organisation working with numerous agencies in various countries. If any aspect of your brand identity is not effectively communicated over to these teams, or this is misinterpreted, it could paint a conflicting picture of your brand between your channels. And if this is happening thousands of miles away from your headquarters, you might not become aware of the discrepancies until it’s already caused problems.

Brand activation management presents the remedy to these risks of outsourcing work. By enabling in-house teams with a better understanding of your brand objectives to create agency-level designs from a collective set of brand assets, guidelines and parameters, the banner you’ve been looking to produce will be developed faster, more cost-effectively, and stay consistent with your core values.

In summary

Brand activation management is not a perk for a company - it’s how they need to operate moving forward. As more and more people prioritise the values, purpose and characteristics of an organisation in choosing who to engage with, being able to project your identity to your markets is a more valuable differentiator than ever before, and this will continue moving forward.

Hopefully, this insight into how brand activation management systems support the way your unique brand messaging is projected across all channels, and adapt this to communicate with your local audiences, will go a long way to optimising the way you get your message out to the audiences that matter to you.

If you are interested in introducing brand activation management software into your company, our team at Papirfly have spent decades developing our tools so your markets stay firmly educated on your brand’s purpose, guidelines and evolution, with no agency support or design expertise required.

  • Create infinite marketing assets in intuitive creation suites
  • Store and share brand assets from one location, accessible to teams worldwide
  • Educate your employees on the purpose, visions and missions of your brand
  • Manage, plan and organise campaigns with global governance tools

Get acquainted with our intelligent software.
by Papirfly

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