Brand Governance: 5 Principles To Keep Your Brand Under Control
In today’s fast-paced, digital environment, the rules of successful brand compliance have changed. The function now requires a new approach that enables your team to express their creativity while maintaining strict control over your brand.
Things now operate differently. Nowadays, a wide range of individuals—from top management to external teams—can influence what your brand is and isn’t.
There are still principles worth following, but how you protect your brand has to change. Here at Desygner, we call this Embracing Modern Brand Governance.
In this article, we will explore how traditional brand compliance has become less effective and what steps you can take to meet the challenges of today’s modern world using 5 guiding principles in managing your brand.
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What is Brand Governance?
Brand governance refers to all the actions an organization takes to manage how its brand is presented and used in internal and external communications. This includes the brand’s visual identity, tone of voice, messaging, and other assets an organization uses to communicate about itself.
The goal is to build trust and loyalty in the brand by ensuring consistent messaging and customer experience across all touchpoints.
Brand Governance: The Traditional View
The conventional “iron fist” approach to brand management calls for a brand manager to monitor the brand identity, establishing and enforcing brand guidelines across every division and team.
Anytime a brand element — like a logo, color scheme, or brand materials — appeared somewhere, the brand marketing team would have ensured all brand assets complied with the brand guidelines.
The truth is that the old brand management model wasn’t as successful as most companies initially believed. It didn’t stop “off-brand” advertising and left brand managers agitated and exhausted.
In other cases, staff members purposefully produced content that reflected their perception of the brand rather than the actual one because they didn’t clearly understand the brand guidelines.
According to a recent poll, 67% of employees make up for being cut off from their brand team when they develop their own brand rules and utilize those guidelines to govern message, design, and asset usage.
Modern Brand Governance
In this approach, brand consistency is a responsibility that extends beyond the brand manager.
Because every team member and employee becomes a brand ambassador that cares and actively tries to preserve the brand identity, the brand manager becomes more of a facilitator than an authority figure, enabling team members to be creative and innovative while maintaining the brand identity.
One of the good things about embracing modern brand governance is that it allows you to tap into the benefits of employee-generated content (EGC).
It creates an innovative culture where everyone is encouraged to develop new ideas for the brand. This is one of the many ways to strengthen your brand. Your employees are also more engaged in the process, which can help with employee retention.
5 Management Principles for Adopting Modern Brand Governance
Implementing employee-driven brand governance doesn’t mean you’ll hand over the reins to your employees. Changing your brand management strategy to maintain a balance between trust and control will require a new approach.
Here are five easy-to-apply principles you can start using today:
1. Set basic guidelines and make them known to everyone
If your employees aren’t aware of the ideal brand’s aesthetic and tone, they won’t be able to assist you in creating a strong one.
Therefore, it only makes sense to begin by creating digital brand guidelines where all your branding elements (logo, color palette, typography, graphics, and images) are in one place.
Create a simple, user-friendly interface where your employees can have a look and feel of what your brand looks like. In this way, you’re introducing your brand’s guidelines to all of your organization’s employees in a more effective way.
Even if you already use something like a design blueprint or brand management tool, keep in mind that these are the frameworks that your entire organization will use to interpret your brand identity.
As such, they need to be appropriately managed and accessible. Make the brand guidelines accessible to everyone in your organization, and they’ll better understand what your brand should be like.
2. Don’t be a ‘brand police’; be a ‘brand custodian’ instead
Learn to select a few individuals to act as brand custodians. Members of your organization should be able to consult with brand custodians.
By doing this, you’ll prevent a lot of brand assets from being misused and encourage other employees to seek your advice on how to use them effectively.
One more thing you should do is understand that not every part of your branding image has to be sacred and “untouchable.” Be free to allow your staff to express their creativity with the not-so-sacred aspect of your branding image.
This would encourage collaborative thinking much more than group thinking. Everyone is challenged to put in their uniqueness to make the brand better.
3. Define limits
While every company employee represents your brand, not everyone has the authority or should make decisions about what constitutes your brand.
As much as you want to be inclusive, certain parts of your brand identity must remain constant. Decide what makes up your essential brand image and consider other aspects as flexible or optional.
Setting restrictions on how much you can change and how far you can go will help you avoid getting carried away with the creative process and keep your brand identity intact.
4. Keep communication channels constantly open
Brands change over time, and teams must stay on top of these developments and apply them to their work.
Communicating these changes with your staff doesn’t have to be challenging. It might be as easy as selecting the central communication hub for important company news and updates.
Also, make sure that you’re not the only one talking. Most employees want to share their insights and feel acknowledged and listened to. Communication is a two-way street; create opportunities for them to respond to you.
Practice active listening. Take important notes and actively address concerns.
5. Organize training from time to time
The more your employees know about branding in general and your brand in particular, the more likely they will be able to develop initiatives that support your brand.
Make brand training a must for all employees regardless of their level in the company. The more they understand the fundamentals of your brand strategy, the more they will be able to contribute to its development.
From time to time, hold workshops that cover various topics such as how to use brand guidelines and tailor the training so it is relevant for their particular roles. Document all the training. It can serve as a reference point for staff struggling with brand identity.
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How Desygner Supports Brand Governance
Desygner enables non-designers in your team to independently produce and distribute graphic design collateral that is consistently on-brand. Your creative assets can be cohesive, and marketing will be twice as fast. Here’s how;
Faster Marketing Time:
The Desygner brand guidelines enforcer can improve your marketing time and make it ten times faster. The brand guideline enforcer significantly reduces the review and approval of creative and digital assets. Desygner minimizes the back and forth involved with designing non-cohesive items. Since you’ve already stated the guidelines, the creative director doesn’t have to undergo a rigorous onboarding process for new team members.
Increase Brand Advocates:
Modern brand governance implies that all members of a brand do brand advocacy. This is easier with Desygner. Employees who may not be in the marketing team can also be brand advocates since they can quickly assess brand assets without going through the hierarchical and stressful process of asking marketing team members. Employee-generated content (EGC) takes center stage, too, as all employees can be involved in brand advocacy.
Regulate how users interact with work files:
You can stop users from sending, printing, and downloading designs created using templates. Set limits using simple checkboxes and predefined criteria.
There is no need to employ a complex system or write code to determine what can be modified. You can select precisely what can be changed or added and from which sources, such as free stock photos, corporate assets, individual assets, social media pages, and individual profiles.
Our dedicated team ensures your success
The most significant course of action if you want your brand to be the best it can be isn’t to maintain complete control over it, even though it can feel safer and more secure.
You must take a step back and allow staff members more authority over the brand-building process in every department of your company.