Our new digitally connected world has created a myriad of niche marketing opportunities whilst the traditional ones stubbornly remain. From traditional print marketing to the now very humble website, from apps to social media you will want to utilise these new delivery methods to the maximum whilst retaining your presence in traditional media.
No doubt an agency was hired to develop your company logo, then perhaps a few brochures and a website. A 'Style Guide' may even have been discussed. But the agency you hired isn't strong in web development... you hire the best development firm in town to build the website the agency designed. Some time later your marketing director recruited his niece, a freelance graphic designer, to design a landing page, and now you've been tasked with building the companies social media presence - but neither the design agency or web development firm provide social media services. Can you see where I'm going with this?
That first logo you saw from the agency was perfect, and the brochure, brilliant, exactly on brief. But now, down the track, after all the "specialists" have had their hands on your brand, offered their opinion and stretched your budget suddenly your brand looks a bit non-plussed.
So how can you keep brand cohesion across multiple media delivered by various providers?
A headache to produce but investing the time and budget into a style guide is a must for most organisations. It can be a simple 5 page document outlining the logo, how it can be used, brand colours and fonts and photography style. Or a more expansive manual covering everything from the basis of poster design to writing style. However, any style guide must do more than just describe the visual applications, it should instil the brands values and outline the "brand pillars". A style guide is the first and most important step to brand cohesion.
Beyond the style guide an experienced creative/marketing executive should have ultimate sway over brand decisions. They may be internal like your Marketing Director, or external such as a Creative Director at an agency. Whoever they are they must know the brand inside out and have complete creative control. It is their responsibility to ensure brand cohesion whilst pushing your marketing forward to achieve new goals.
Keep it Together
Where possibly keep your service providers to a minimum. The more design agencies, SEO specialists, social marketers and media producers you hire, the more fragmented the results they deliver will be. Recently traditional design agencies struggled to adapt to the digital age, and digital providers tended to lack the marketing experience required, leaving you with little alternative but to seek multiple providers to deliver separate parts of one project. Thankfully those days have passed. The "full service digital agency" has come of age and all your marketing dreams can be completed by one firm.
Know Where it's Used
From Facebook banners to email signatures, TVCs to billboards, vehicle livery to annual reports, if you know where your brand is being used you can keep track of where its fraying at the edges. Where possible keep a library and address any fragmentation with the source to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Provide easy access to your primary brand resources and guides. Too often a new job is briefed to an agency without even supplying a decently formatted copy of the company's logo. Those materials should be readily accessible whether via your marketing department or even as downloads on your website. Most importantly - make sure everyone in your organisation knows where to find and provide access to the brand materials.
And finally, believe in your brand. You don't have to want to wear it on a t-shirt you don't even have to like it personally - but you should be passionate about keeping brand cohesion. Complement the relevant parties on successful on-brand pieces you like, and make the relevant parties aware of any fragmentation.