Do You Need Brand Management?

We’ve seen a lot of branding “oopses” in our time. Logos stretched out of proportion. Muddied palette colors. Overlapping text, wrong fonts, outdated graphics, and inappropriate marks.

When Twitter released their new logo early in June, everyone had a good giggle over the relentlessly thorough trademark and content display policy they released along with it. Weren’t they being a little overzealous?

Funny thing is, I began seeing inappropriate use of the new logo right away. Just a couple of weeks later, when Twitter experienced a long outage, CNET posted an article with an image that blatantly defied Twitter’s logo display rules:

“Don’t rotate or change direction of the bird,” the display policy had specified. And I doubt they’d care much for that black X over it, either.

That’s when I began to see why Twitter had taken such pains to protect their brand identity.

Now, unless you build apps or develop social networks, it’s unlikely that the public at large will be using your logo and branding elements on their own materials. But you know who will? Your employees. And you know what? You didn’t exactly hire Kathy in accounting for her graphic design skills.

And what about Todd? When Todd in sales puts together a PowerPoint presentation for an upcoming client meeting, he’s not going to be thinking about how it looks. He’s in a hurry because the meeting’s tomorrow and he has a plane to catch, so he might even inadvertently create a file with older, outdated branding; or worse, not use a branded template at all. Maybe he’ll make an attempt to put the company logo at the bottom, but he’ll miss a couple slides, or the logo will be different sizes on every slide.

That doesn’t exactly represent your company in the best light, does it?

At best, brands are iconic. They’re emblematic. At worst, they’re still wholly representative. Even if it’s “just” a logo, a tagline, and a set of colors, you invested a lot in developing a brand for your business. Why not protect it?

If you’ve made the effort to establish a look, it’s worth creating branding guidelines and templates and ensuring all staff has access to them.

No, your employees can’t be held responsible for their lack of graphic design skills. But you can make managing your brand identity as easy as possible for them.

Leave it to the experts to help your brand look its best, and leave Kathy and Todd to do the jobs you hired them for.

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