Brand Responsibly Manifesto: 8
Branding is so much more than a logo and a set of colors. Branding is about experiences with the organization, its products and services, its people and its communications.
A poor brand experience can happen anywhere. Internal brand adoption — training on the brand and its value, and providing tools to make consistency easy — is essential to the success of a rebrand or new brand program. Provide tools and templates to ensure visual brand consistency through all customer touchpoints, even (and especially!) the everyday communications.
Brand adoption follows a rebrand …
Depending on who developed the identity design when you rebranded, you might end up with the basic components–two or three core colors and a black and white and color version of the logo. Then it’s up to someone in the organization to produce the standard, everyday communication tools using the new logo. Formatted letters. PowerPoint presentations. Forms. Internal signing. Newsletters.
Then what often happens … everyone starts to do their own version. Aaagh!
Building a strong brand requires consistency. A visual brand is a system of images, colors, fonts and styles. It’s not just slapping the logo and the new corporate colors on everything.
Brand adoption is a process that must be integrated throughout the organization, by providing everything from branded Word templates to comprehensive brand guidelines.
Then, how do you ensure brand consistency in the day-to-day world of communications, customer service and one-on-one interactions? How can you create the internal brand and make it easy for everyone to adopt?
Build in basic tools for day to day branding
What if … anyone could click File/New in Microsoft Word and end up with a branded Word template for a letter that is already pre-configured with the logo, colors, address, brand promise and a style sheet pre-defined for fonts, margins, paragraph spacing and bullets? And do the same for PowerPoint, with a choice of two or three different design systems? And have Memo, Agenda and Fax forms accessible at the click of a mouse, already designed and formatted? No more copy and paste of the logo, no more “this is my version of the brand.”
Most offices now have color laser printers … so it’s possible to drop printed stationery and create all of your letters and forms in your word processing software, color or black and white. (Though it’s still worthwhile to print business cards and most of the time, envelopes.)
And what if your internal communications team had a comprehensive reference guide to the brand color palette, with all colors defined in RGB, CMYK, PMS colors and HTML, so each time someone applied the corporate blue, it’s the same blue?
And wouldn’t it be great if there was a collection of clean, consistent logos in nearly any digital file format you might need, in color, black and white and grayscale? No more rebuilding, re-using, cutting, stretching and fixing or trying to find a logo for that new document. You would be making brand adoption easy … and consistent.
And what if the essential brand messages were integrated into the business cards your staff hands out, or on beautiful posters hanging on the walls of the office, or as banners in the warehouse?
A critical element of a new, refreshed or restaged brand is introducing it to everyone in the organization and providing them with the tools to communicate its essence.
Why? Because where your brand lives is with your people. When they embrace it, understand what it stands for, know the organization’s purpose and heart and have the tools to implement it, they will take ownership and create that positive brand experience.
To keep the brand on track internally:
- Train the administrative staff about the brand, its value and premise; then show them how to use the new branded Word templates, PowerPoint templates and other tools.
- Use branded Word and PowerPoint® templates to maintain consistency and reduce printing costs.
- Provide design templates and graphic guidelines to ensure brand standards are followed by outside vendors.
- Distribute graphic guidelines for all versions of the brand and sub-brands, to show proper use and mis-use, as well as standards for application.
- Ensure a complete set of digital assets — the logo and its various options in black and white, grayscale, and PMS ink colors, as well as RGB, HTML and CMYK–is part of the new brand system.
With effective training and easy-to-use pre-defined templates, staff will embrace the brand’s visual system, and learn and live the brand messages that guide the brand experience. You’ll create brand champions and safeguard brand integrity. And, you’ll make the job of day-to-day communications easier for everyone.
For examples of graphic guidelines, training tools and useful templates, visit these links.
- Brand refresh and guidelines for two government organizations
- Brand standards, organization, training and comprehensive templates for Salem Health
- Cascade Employers Association refreshes their brand around new messaging
You can own a copy of our Brand Responsibly Manifesto … all eighteen proclamations. Or visit our website to see more examples of our work!