One of the biggest mistakes companies can make after investing in a brand refresh or a total brand overhaul is not having the necessary guidance, training, process and oversight in place for developing communications that adhere to the new brand look and feel and tone and voice. What can organizations do to ensure brand consistency in all future communications? Here are five best practices to keep a brand intact:
1. Identify who will be creating communications on behalf of your brand.
This will inform:
- Whether you have the necessary assets and templates.
- How you need to approach organizing, safeguarding and sharing brand assets.
- The guidelines necessary to keep your brand intact.
- The best process to instill the brand, and ensure consistency in communications.
2. Determine how you are going to organize, store and share brand assets.
This will depend on the size of your organization, the number of individuals and teams creating communications on your behalf, the complexity of your brand and your budget. Don’t be short-sighted; sending your complete graphics standards and assets each time someone needs them is time consuming and difficult to manage. Consider a shared drive or a more robust digital asset system that gives you the ability to offer special permissions to various users. There are also tools like Flickr that offer various types of permission sets for photo libraries.
3. Create detailed brand guidelines that, at a minimum, include:
- Brand attributes
- Writing style
- Color palette(s) and/or combinations
- Supporting graphics
- Photography/image style
- Examples of the brand in action
4. Deliver training to those people identified in step one.
You may need to host multiple training sessions to address particular individual or team needs. These can be in-person brown bag sessions or live online meetings. Either way, make sure to record these sessions–including the Q&A–for those folks that are later identified as brand ambassadors, creating materials on the company’s behalf.
5. Make sure there is a clear point person (or email alias) that people can contact with questions.
And, if necessary, consider offering to review/approve creative. For some clients, we serve as a brand ambassador, responding to questions and offering guidance to in-house or freelance writers and designers. Other clients set up a system to manage the brand internally.
Northwest Kidney Centers’ brand refresh; before, after and today.
One organization who has followed these steps–and kept their brand intact as a result–is Northwest Kidney Centers. We led them through a brand refresh, and for several years they have continued to champion the brand so it retains its integrity and builds greater meaning for the organization. A strong brand identity has enabled the organization to build stronger awareness for its patient care, education and research.
Before brand refresh
After brand refresh