Content and Branding Go Hand in Hand

Aug 11, 2017

Article ImageWhile developing and distributing a digital marketing campaign in real time is empowering, marketing in the moment can also be fraught with mistakes. The push-pull of social engagement and brand governance is a tenuous dynamic, but it doesn’t have to be all-consuming. Yes, one misstep or inadvertently insensitive tweet can send a brand into crisis management mode. However, there are ways to mitigate these potential scenarios by maintaining brand integrity, so you can sleep well at night.

To ensure brand alignment – as well as peace of mind – it is important to take time to put proper procedures in place. Savvy marketing teams are automating these protocols through proactive Content Lifecycle Management (CLM) strategies instead of reactive scrambling. The result? A smooth, brand-correct and creative content flow.

Automating the Content Lifecycle

Digital Asset Management (DAM) provides practical storage of images and files, and Content Lifecycle Management takes that foundation forward with a holistic approach to content strategy, collaboration, channel execution, and performance measurement. Brands are using this next-generation approach to take a comprehensive brand strategy and automate it. Add in instant cloud access to brand assets and digital content, and marketing teams are off and running.

Enterprises that have adopted this automated approach are able to streamline and systematize each element of a marketing cycle to align with the life of the brand. From concept and creation through social distribution and data monitoring this covers everyone’s perspective: marketing and branding stakeholders, creative and digital team requirements, and target audiences.

Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum but the approval phase of content creation is too often a power struggle – and can get lengthy. The audience doesn’t know, much less care, who wrote or designed a campaign. In this step of the content development process, brand protocol saves the day. Also, visibility into each phase of the process fosters collaboration, productivity, and brand accountability.

Leveraging Unified Brand Strategies

When brand team members are on the same page, it’s easier for the audience to read along. Confusion rarely sells products and services, but clarity does.

The marketing process involves a lot of moving parts, both tangible (files) and intangible (opinions). A well-designed workflow simplifies the entire process for all marketing stakeholders, from accessing image files to keeping up with revised standard operating procedures. DAM solutions have made it easier for marketing teams to know where to store and how to access content elements, and these technologies aren’t going away. But where is that contract about rights management—in an email folder? Have the usage guidelines been updated, and if so, where is the most recent version? Is the approval process detailed and written out or does the company have an “understood” haphazard way of connecting the marketing dots? Marketing teams should proactively manage the lifecycle of content and related processes so stakeholders have immediate access to current internal brand standards as well as brand assets for external implementation.

Traditional my-role, your-role silos are no longer effective. Collaboration among members of the marketing team works far better. Establishing protocols facilitates collaboration among all departments, not through power struggles, conflicting opinions or compromise, but by way of streamlined and automated workflows. Each team member has an important role in the marketing process and should have a voice within the content development process before relevant videos, websites, or collateral pieces are released.

As far as executive participation, trickle-down and bottom-up theories can both work when it comes to the efficacy of brand strategies. An initial buy-in from executive members is paramount, of course, as protocols are being put in place. Executive leadership support goes a long way in ensuring all team members will be onboard, especially if they understand that having a holistic and automated system in place is an empowerment tool. It makes decision-making easier, for one thing.

Streamlining Digital Asset Creation and Content Management

Just as the digital world is dynamic, so is the lifecycle of digital content. Regular or periodic reviews are necessary to keep the development and management of content thriving. For example, teams should consider where improvements can be made to communication processes and workflows, or what needs to be tweaked, deleted, or added.

It is also wise to pay attention to the missteps of other brands. If you knew ahead of time what the backlash would be, what would you have done differently? If you were dealing with the fallout, how would you have handled it or what would you have recommended? In a recent example of a major content faux pas, Belle Chic, an online fashion store based in Chandler, Arizona, posted a photo on Instagram in late July. A model held one of their fun tote bags with a design reading “My favorite color is glitter.” Except, that wasn’t the phrase the public saw. The company used a scripted font for the word “glitter” with a lowercase g and unfortunately the ligature of the “gl” looked like a capital H. As in Hitler. The image was shared virally, giving the brand an onslaught of unintended negative attention. It took the company 24 hours to respond, redesign, and remarket, but the damage was done.

Companies use content everyday to represent and strengthen their brands, but it must be developed with an eye on brand protection to mitigate risk. CLM helps streamline the design and approval processes, so that implementation and engagement can happen contemporaneously. When strategies and overarching goals are in place, day-to-day brand management runs smoother. Ultimately, a holistic and automated approach benefits content-focused procedures and team members by delivering on one common goal: unifying brand strategies.

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