By Andrea Ward, CMO at VidMob
Brands are experiencing a dramatic increase in the complexity of their marketing mix as a result of digital transformation. Consumers are adopting new channels and platforms. New advertising formats are emerging, and methods of content delivery and communication are expanding at a global scale.
The number of creative assets that brands need to produce for such an environment can be massive. To keep up with the pace and speed of digital, the creation of creative assets is often decentralized, making the delivery of a consistent brand and customer experience difficult to manage. The growing variety and sheer scale of creativity that is distributed across digital platforms and channels are creating the need for a better way for brands to ensure that messaging stays true to its identity.
Brand governance is a process that ensures creative consistency across a brand’s creative assets. With a strategy in place to focus on consistency of customer experience and the quality and fidelity of every creative asset, a brand’s promise to their customers is upheld and brand reach and performance is amplified across millions or even billions of individual touchpoints.
How Brand Governance Works
Brand governance needs to be managed as an ongoing process, a continuous cycle not just a single step. This process involves four steps, each reliant on the other:
Set criteria. Brands determine the elements and best practices that need to be monitored including brand mandatories, best practices guidelines, and the things that brands want to avoid.
Score creative assets. Brands then rate each of their creative assets according to their level of compliance. This provides a map to areas of concern and discussion with the production team to amend any that need changes. This can happen before assets are deployed, or scheduled on a regular cadence to make sure that all assets are up to date with the latest guidelines.
Monitor performance. Sometimes teams will question the guidelines because there is a belief that the requirements could negatively impact the performance of a specific campaign. Brands must continuously measure how well creatives are performing and may adjust their requirements based on performance measurements. By adding intelligence to a brand governance strategy, brands can regularly confirm or adjust their guidelines to ensure they are meeting the business’ most important KPIs.
Apply insights for performance improvement. Brands then take insights to update creative best practices to improve creative performance.
The benefits for brands and marketers
Brand governance is an essential part of the overall marketing strategy and works best when it is integrated across departments and creative activations. Not only does successful brand governance serve to maintain the quality and integrity of creative assets, but it can also produce insights that help brands evolve their guidelines to ensure creatives are created using insights and performance data.
The value of brand governance to marketing includes:
As an organization grows, as the digital ecosystem becomes larger and more complex, and as consumers adopt new media channels, maintaining brand integrity can become increasingly difficult. Across platforms and channels, there are hundreds, if not thousands of ad format and size options. And the number of creative assets needed to deliver an omnichannel marketing plan multiplies with each new campaign element that is added.
A solid brand governance strategy enables an organization to have visibility into brand compliance no matter how big their creative asset library grows.
- Amplification of brand awareness
There is power in numbers. Successfully employed brand governance helps increase the impact of the brand by creating more impact across the customer experience. A consistent brand is significantly more valuable than one that is unregulated. In fact, brand consistency is proven to be a powerful component in increasing sales.
- Brand discussions supported by data
Brand conversations can often come into conflict with regional priorities and preferences, with conversations supported by passionate arguments rather than data. Up until now, centralized brand functions could only support their position with governing rules, rather than data that ensures that they have brand mandatories that drive the right balance of brand versus campaign or regional demand preferences. Striking the right balance requires real data and analysis to determine which elements impact the performance of the brand, and which are driving campaign performance goals, and whether the two are in conflict. By starting with a data-informed analysis, both sides can understand and weigh their decisions based on a common understanding of trade-offs and priorities. In addition, it may drive subtle changes and compromise that, with the proper approach, can serve to enhance, rather than detract from both the overall perception of the brand and the performance of the campaign.
The Most Effective Approach
Campaigns that scale across social platforms and media channels supported by creative assets that need to be adapted to varying best practices and formatting requirements to fit a variety of sizes mean that creative needs to be both intelligent and easy to scale. In the increasingly fragmented world of marketing and advertising, with each addition of a new placement, format or region, maintaining brand consistency becomes more difficult, yet marketers must meet elevated expectations of quality more than ever before.
Brand governance works best when it elevates and facilitates quality creative delivery across campaigns. Brand governance is founded on insights and data and feeds a cycle of creative management and improvement across organizations to not only gain support internally but improve campaign performance. Ultimately, good brand governance is part of the overall evolution of more data-informed, transparent marketing and a part of the intelligent creative movement.