Brand Guardianship: The Importance of Looking After Your Brand
Your firm has, at last, completed a long-overdue rebrand.
You’ve invested significant resources, time, and budget into designing a professional brand that really reflects the business and supports your growth strategy. If done well, you will already have seen positive results and an uplift in staff and client engagement.
You have your new brand identity: a new logo, refreshed new colour palette with a typeface that makes you stand out amongst your competitors. You’ve revisited your brand values and created a powerful brand promise. You’ve established a much stronger value proposition, and your key messaging represents your firm better than ever before.
However, at this point, most firms make a critical error in thinking that the project is finished, it was a success, and that it’s now business as usual. But looking after your brand is an ongoing task, and consistency is crucial. Not continuing to invest can result in a slow erosion of all that hard work.
“There is little doubt that the most successful brands historically have communicated and delivered a high level of consistency.” DDB, Brand Consistency Redefined.
How does it happen?
Professional service firms create a vast number of new internal and external documents every day. There are reams of branded presentations, contracts, letters, emails, and other firm documents produced, and every one of them must adhere to your new branding.
Just one small error can be replicated and exacerbated by staff members copying previous files. A tiny tweak of a template file can cause firm-wide ramifications.
It can be a people problem.
A wide range of people produce these documents, from fee earners to paralegals to secretaries. Some of these people may be new joiners or have returned from secondment or sick leave. Maybe, they are, simply, long-standing employees stuck in the mindset of your old house style.
It’s a big task to create real brand engagement and get everybody up to speed in the first place. Keeping them consistently using the brand and not deviating from the guidelines is an enormous task.
New ways to communicate
As technology evolves more quickly than ever, there is an increasing number of channels and mediums to communicate your professional services brand.
For example, if you created brand guidelines before podcasts became popular, how do you apply your branding successfully to this medium?
With the rapid rise in usage of voice technology and audio branding, how might your firm approach these newer mediums?
One size does not fit all.
Why not just apply brand guidelines in the same way to every type of medium, regardless of what it is? Applying brand guidelines in this rigid way is another common mistake, leading to an unnatural or poor result.
To be at its best, branding needs to be developed in a dynamic, sensitive way by experienced, creative experts. An expert will be able to forecast current and future branding needs and how to preserve quality across the board.
Brand guardianship is an investment
Brand guardianship is a critical component of brand management, a combination of discipline and creativity that keeps your brand strong and healthy.
- A review of your brand guidelines to ensure relevance, accuracy, and ease of use
- A visual brand audit to review all of your current marketing materials
- Brand champions, usually a combination of appointed staff and your design agency, monitoring efficacy and sharing best practice.
The benefits of investing in brand guardianship are powerful:
You’ll save time and money.
Noticing an incorrectly tweaked template, then working backwards to find all the new versions saved from it takes a lot of time. Auditing documents to check for consistency also takes time. It makes sense to be proactive, not reactive, for your firm’s branding needs.
Your brand will work harder, creating more value.
Competition is fiercer than ever. Consistent branding, e.g. perfectly branded pitches, will give you a distinct edge and impress clients to win new business.
Consistency, regardless of the medium.
Whether a business card or a webinar, your brand will be creatively and sensitively applied to suit its purpose and showcase your firm to the maximum.
Branding is an ongoing effort, and consistency is absolutely crucial for success. Investing in brand guardianship will ensure your brand remains dynamic, useful and creates lasting value for years to come.