Brand management plays an integral role in creating a streamlined omnichannel buying experience for both B2B and B2C customers. In order to serve the complexity of branding across organizations, marketers must ensure their brand is consistent everywhere, from the organization’s website to social channels and beyond.
Failure to deliver consistent messages and campaigns carries huge risks — not only to brand identity, but to customer acquisition and retention.
In this report, we’ll cover:
The rapid proliferation of paid, earned and owned media and content marketing channels — both online and off — means increased complexity for marketers striving to maintain consistent brand messaging. The challenge is even greater for global organizations with locations targeting customers in different cultures, and for those in highly regulated industries such as healthcare or financial services.
"Buyers are engaging with you through so many different channels, and you have to manage consistency through all the channels," said Kevin Joyce, CMO and VP Strategy Services, The Pedowitz Group.
"Too many cooks" is another common problem.
"Too many people deciding how messaging and design should be applied to communications and content is a big challenge for brands. This is often due to teams working across regions or even teams distributed across the enterprise that may not collaborate with one another."
Ardath Albee, B2B marketing strategist and author of Digital Relevance
Organizations in highly regulated industries face another hurdle: how to address compliance. "Does their approach to compliance change the 'feel' or context of communications that must comply versus those that don't?" asked Albee. "This can result in that 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' experience that all brands would like to avoid."
Inconsistent brand messaging negatively impacts the customer journey and the customer experience. "Without brand consistency — of voice, of tone, of look and of feel — in all those different channels and media formats, a brand will get lost," said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst and co-founder of research and advisory firm Kaleido Insights.
Ultimately, an inconsistent brand massage can cause customer confusion and defection. "If their experiences are disjointed or make them question what they thought they knew about a company, they will move on to a vendor they feel is more authentic and trustworthy," said Albee.
Consistent brand messaging is vital, and in today’s 24/7 business environment, marketers are under pressure to deliver it on demand. Whether your target customers are consumers or B2B buyers, they’re in a hurry. That means salespeople need marketing content and brand assets that are ready to use — now.
Content must not only be delivered quickly, it must also be customized to the needs of each country, region and location — even the concerns of individual customers and prospects. Both B2B and B2C buyers expect a personalized customer experience, starting the moment they first engage with your brand.
When they need custom content quickly, your organization’s salespeople, franchise owners, international offices and other internal customers may overwhelm your marketing team with a barrage of one-off creative requests.
Without the resources to handle the volume of collateral needed, bottlenecks form, backlogs build up and frustrations mount. Marketers working overtime to meet these demands have less time to devote to more important projects.
How can marketers take control and deliver consistent brand messaging across a complex organization? Follow these steps:
Where do your customers engage with your business? Touch points can include social media, online, email, brick-and-mortar or channel partners and distributors. There may be more touch points than you think, especially as your marketing materials spread virally online.
"As organizations get bigger and more complex and own more and more territory, [brand consistency] gets more and more critical. Think of McDonald’s. Every McDonald’s restaurant you go to is different, but it’s also the same."
Rebecca Lieb, Analyst, Cofounder of Kaleido Insights
Use a brand management audit to uncover communications and content being created and used in the field. Albee advises enlisting the help of Sales Ops for this.
To uncover as many marketing assets as possible, boost participation by turning the process into a game. For example, give different departments or locations points for each asset they turn in.
Review existing creative assets and brand communications to determine what to remove and revise, and what needs to be created. You’ll typically find a lot of redundancy, Lieb said, so you can scale down the number of assets needed.
Going forward, ensure that all communications and creative assets support the brand, and streamline creation and delivery to enforce a consistent brand message.
Technology such as a digital asset management (DAM) system can help create brand compliance, advises Lieb.
Albee recommended following these steps:
Tasked with delivering customized content communications at a rapid-fire pace, marketers at complex organizations face unprecedented challenges in maintaining a consistent brand identity across channels and touch points. Harnessing technology to create a centralized repository of pre-approved communications and creative assets empowers sales teams and frees Marketing to focus on big-picture projects instead of one-off requests. By implementing a workflow to create assets, enforce brand consistency and distribute content, marketers can truly enable sales.