Brand compliance can be one of the biggest bugbears for Marketing teams.
With a range of definitions, we look at what brand compliance means – and how you can achieve it in your business.
What is brand compliance?
The definition of brand compliance can vary, but always contains some consistent elements.
Your brand messaging and ‘look and feel’ encompass and communicate your brand purpose and values. Consumers expect consistency in – for example – logo, colours, tone of voice, font and all the other elements that go to make up a visual brand.
The overall customer experience is dependent on having a consistent and compliant approach to branding.
You brand needs to be recognisable – people (hopefully!) trust it, and want to know immediately that they are interacting with you. Everything about your brand works together to achieve this – from the font you use to the delivery of service that lives up to your brand promises.
Why is brand compliance so important?
A consistent brand helps to instil confidence in your customers. Wherever in the world they interact with your business, they know that the quality, service and products you deliver will be consistently high-quality.
You’ve spent a lot of time and money creating a brand. Compliance ensures that your teams apply these standards to the marketing and client communication materials they are producing, no matter where in the world they are.
It ensures that your messages don’t contradict or stray from your brand’s core values and beliefs. And – particularly important for regulated businesses – it ensures a degree of central control over the marketing communications and financial promotions your firm produces.
What are the challenges in brand compliance and consistency?
Firms trying to instil brand compliance face a number of challenges. First, there’s the challenge of communicating your brand clearly. You need unambiguous guidance on what your brand stands for, and what this means in practice when creating marketing materials.
Another challenge is teams’ ability to find the assets and information needed to support them in their work. You need to provide consistent and compliant templates, easily accessible brand assets like logos, imagery and fonts, and clear instructions on how they should be used.
If you have teams in different regional offices or different countries, this also poses a challenge. How can you ensure that branding is applied universally across remote teams?
And if you work for a regulated business, challenges are amplified by the tandem need to comply with regulatory requirements, which may reinforce or on occasion, conflict with your own brand consistency efforts. Regulatory compliance and your brand strategy are closely connected – it’s important that you recognise the links.
What are the solutions?
So, if those are the challenges, how do we solve them? A few steps you might want to take:
- Consider appointing a brand guardian. Having someone or a group of people to enforce brand guidelines can be a huge help in creating consistency and compliance. Read more about what a brand guardian is and whether you might need one.
- Some of the world’s biggest brands are the ones who have really got it right when it comes to brand consistency. Maybe that’s why they are where they are! It’s worth looking at what they do and how you can emulate it; read more about the characteristics and practices shared by the fastest-growing brands.
- Remember that brand isn’t just image – it goes far deeper than that. Consistency needs to apply to your content as well as your look and feel. Work out what your brand stands for and produce communications that fit with your purpose, using a consistent style and tone of voice.
- Brand consistency can be far harder to enforce across locations, teams or countries. Our tips for making remote collaboration work in Marketing have good advice.
- Create ways to prevent non-compliant materials going out. Brand inconsistencies creep in when people have to recreate marketing assets because they can’t find what they want, or don’t know how to create it within brand guidelines. Best practice digital asset management means people within your business can easily find what they need and avoid ‘going rogue’ with their own ideas.
- As well as making it easy for people to find existing materials, you can play a big role in helping them to create compliant new ones. Create consistent templates people can use in Word and PowerPoint, for example in an online slide library. Lock down current boilerplates and other brand-specific wording so that your content is always on-point.
- Be robust. You need to make sure all materials follow the correct sign-off to ensure they are on-brand. Compliance review and approval isn’t only about regulatory requirements, but should cover brand consistency too. Automated marketing workflow tools can be a massive help here, ensuring that all the right people see and approve content before it goes out.
Ensure brand compliance and consistency
Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas to help improve brand consistency and compliance. If you want to read more, you can download our tipsheet, 5 tips for creating brand consistency.
It has lots of advice on ensuring brand compliance, and you can get your free copy from our resource library.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.