Ducks in a row, or squirrels running amok?
We love this visual. Not because we enjoy a good story at our clients expense, but it really does relate to everyday brand management for many organizations. We hear stories everyday.
Many of our clients are spending too much money on everyday, non-important design projects (internal marketing that does not move the brand dial). Many have a backlog of work that is overwhelming and find it hard to catch up. Some find it hard to control the quality of the message and visual that is being produced. Others go through an extensive branding exercise to create guidelines, assets, and procedures only to find out that employees simply won’t follow the rules or can’t easily access the right tools. Squirrels running amok!
These squirrels are trying to get things done. To get your brand ducks in a row many things need to happen. One duck out of line can throw off a whole team…just like one off-brand communication can disrupt the bigger brand picture. Aligning your ducks should include:
Leadership has to be on board and need to be ambassadors of the brand. They need to believe in it, preach it, practice it and live up to what they say. And they need to have others do the same.
Rules and Guidelines
Brands need rules and guidelines. In the absence of a foundation, the squirrels will do what they need to get their daily tasks done, with or without help. Putting rules, expectations and measurables in place provides guidance and is a beacon for the brand.
Brand guides on a shelf, a pdf on an internal server or a password protected online brand center does nothing if it is not openly shared, promoted and made part of everyday business. Leadership needs to reference it and employees need to be reminded about it. They must clearly understand why it is important…and should be rewarded or recognized when they follow it. Assets, templates and tools should be for every single employee. To have your ducks in a row every person should understand where the ship is pointed and what things are important to getting to the destination.
When everyone in an organization understands the importance of the brand, knows where to go to get the things they need to properly promote the brand, and are recognized when they do the right thing, then you have a successful brand culture. With a strong foundation in place it will be easier to evolve the brand and keep things current, whether it be design trends, technology or business objectives and strategy. It is manageable.
Getting your ducks in a row may seem daunting, but it is possible and necessary. We can help.