How to protect brand consistency using the brand governance model
Consistency is crucial for all reputable brands. Customers are more willing to trust a consistent brand and use its products and services. Admind’s content marketer Szymon Dyrlaga argues that a thorough brand governance model can provide the consistency marketers seek.
Brand consistency is a broad term, referring to the way your brand looks, feels and communicates - let's look at some examples.
Coca-Cola vs Pepsi
Coca-Cola’s logo has looked pretty much the same since 1940. In the marketing world, that’s an aeon. Wherever you go, you see the same logo and the same two colors – Pantone Coke Red (yes, they have a color named after them) and Pantone Process Black C. The logo evokes instant connotations all over the world.
Admind explain the brand governance model and how brands can benefit from its implementation.
Partly, that’s because people love the taste. And partly, it’s because they’re 100% serious about brand consistency. For comparison, look at the logo evolution of their major competitor, Pepsi:
There’s been a lot going on since 1898. At first, Pepsi tried to look like Coca-Cola. In 1962 they decided to follow their own path, with changes every few years. Sooner or later, there will likely be yet another revolution, while Coca-Cola will probably stay the same. That says a lot, doesn’t it?
In 1972, Nike introduced their world-famous swoosh. They still use it with great success:
It goes further. Consider their famous slogan, “Just Do It”. Did you know that this slogan was coined in 1988? How many companies have used the same motto for over 30 years? It’s one of the essential elements of the Nike brand. Today, the company doesn’t exist without it.
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This is what brand consistency is all about. Once you achieve something great, stick with it. Make your image and communication consistent across all channels and countries.
For international companies, that’s a bit of a headscratcher. There are scores of communication channels and hundreds of marketing and branding agencies and teams spread across the globe. How can you ensure brand consistency in such a dynamic and demanding environment?
What is the brand governance model?
Brand governance is brand consistency in action. Brand governance models guide and supervise brand consistency. With a well-thought-out brand governance model, you can make sure that your brand identity is well understood, perceived, used and recognized in every channel and country.
There’s no room for copy-paste here. Every brand governance model is unique and should be tailored to your brand’s needs. If you have an extensive marketing team, include roles and responsibilities in your model. Everyone who has anything to do with the brand (CMOs, brand managers, marketing managers, marketing agencies, etc.) should be included in the brand governance model, and they should follow its guidelines.
The role of communication
Today, brands are dynamic. They change and adjust to new market realities. Customers and their expectations also change, and your brand should keep up with all these changes. That’s why communication should be at the very centre of your brand governance model. Marketing departments and agencies should have space to exchange feedback and work out a common approach concerning potential unclear cases. However, remember that managing uncertain cases should happen within one constrained team – the one that’s responsible for global communication.
Communication should be frequent and regular. Everyone needs to stay up-to-speed on every important case or problem to solve.
Ensure content revisions and consultations, because every brand exists primarily outside the marketing department. So, provide customers and employees a way to ask questions and share ideas. Once you do, take their input into account. Sometimes, a great idea can come from a totally unexpected source. Monitor and review your content regularly, especially in new communication channels. Make sure your content stays relevant, useful and compliant (e.g., with brand and SEO guidelines).
When you create an open atmosphere for discussion and support, employees will gladly represent the brand their work for, and customers will willingly return to buy more products. That’s how it works – good brands are also open and transparent, because the market values this approach.
Educate target audiences about the brand and explain to others why your brand looks and works in a specific way. What’s the story and the big idea behind it? What do you want to communicate or achieve through this brand?
Building brand awareness happens on many levels. One of the most effective ways is to organize workshops and training. Educate your community and maintain consistent and constant communication with it – people will be more willing to participate and, therefore, develop your brand.
Protect brand consistency
This is just a starting point. Once you ensure proper communication and education within your community and marketing departments, you can start working on your brand governance model. This model should comprise the answers to the following questions:
- How are all the brand-related decisions made?
- How our brand should be presented? How should people interact with it?
- What channels (and how) do we use for branding and marketing purposes?
- What are our core values, and how do we want to show them?
- What are our brand-related priorities and long-term goals? How do we want to achieve them?
- How should all the discussed elements be implemented, and by whom?
This way, you will be able to create a plan that’s fully tailored to your brand.
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Admind Branding & Communications is an international branding powerhouse with top-tier creative talent drawn from around the world. We work with global companies, leaders in their industries, who are invested in the power of their brands and in the influence they have to change our societies for the better. Our teams in Kraków, Amsterdam, Odessa, Bangkok, and Zürich comprise more than 140 creative experts from over 15 countries.Find out more