In an effort to further understand how Brand Activation and Marketing Managers, Corporate Public Affairs and Communications Departments, and how Media, PR & Advertising Agencies interact with brands, we conducted an extensive survey across all these disciplines.
The aim of the survey was to further explore how users interact with brand collateral, marketing and corporate identity guidelines. We wanted to understand the behaviours, pain points and frustrations of managing and stewarding successful brands.
A total of 48 people participated in the survey and we were completely overwhelmed by the response. Furthermore, we were deeply humbled by the knowledge and expertise of all who took part.
This is a quick snapshot of the feedback...
It was clearly obvious there is a lot of heartache and frustration around managing brand and collateral assets within businesses.
Some of the key responses were:
- Assets and documents are spread across multiple devices: Individual computers, SharePoint systems, shared drives, Dropbox... so lots of different things in different places. It would be great to consolidate everything in one place.
- There is currently no way to contact all the people who are accessing assets to let them know whenever a major change is taking place. This is a major headache for us and a real Intellectual Property (IP) concern, as there are people using old assets and we have no way to reach out to them.
- There is nothing to control or guide users to create the correct communications, only a complicated folder structure of assets. When users find something, there’s no real guidance on how to use it.
- It’s not rocket science... I want a simple web-based system where all of our brand info, content (and assets related to the brand) are stored in one area which clearly explains how to use them and how to create communications.
There were common themes that kept coming up in the responses, and we were able to break that down into four key areas:
Learning & Communication Channel
- Quite often, our brand guidelines are administered by an external brand agency and the latest assets do not reside within our internal Brand Team. And when someone from our organisation leaves the business, it’s almost impossible to get the new person up to speed quickly.
- Building Brand Awareness and Brand Engagement is really difficult when there is no management function to deliver those messages. Cultural change is also near impossible without all offices being able to access all the latest brand standards and processes.
- Keeping up with the latest trends in digital and keeping up with and training new staff are some of my key daily challenges.
- Getting new staff onboard to understand and use existing assets is frustrating. There are folders within folders and it’s very complicated to find things. We can see that there are lots of people interacting with the repository but they still complain they can’t find things. So users still do their own things when they can’t find the files... We need a system that gives us multiple ways to find things.
- Time and resource management, and managing the relationship between design teams and marketing teams. Briefing forms, and a workflow approval form would be helpful.
Retention & Intellectual Property
- There is no way to contact people using the assets, and there is no approval process in our current mechanisms to approve/disallow use of assets.
- At the moment, we use a variety of PDFs to apply our brand message. The problem is every time we change or add to the PDF, it means getting the design agency to re-output the entire PDF. It’s not really cost efficient. We’d prefer to have it all online and make changes as we go.
- Also, when a PDF is updated, we don’t really have an accurate database of people who hold the old PDF.
- It would just be so much easier if all offices, and all networks, had instant access to everything (role restrictions permitting). This way, when something is updated or when we need to feature something on our identity guidelines, everyone knows about it.
Availability & Efficiency
- A lot of different things in different places. It would be great to consolidate everything in one spot.
- We need a portal to keep all our campaigns in one spot. We just don’t have that.
- We use SharePoint and all the files are simply dumped on the server. It’s really hard to find things and the interface is not very user-friendly.
- We have internal and external users needing access to assets and communications. Sometimes, they are locked away on shared drives or on our SharePoint intranet. It just takes us too long to collate and send these on to external parties.
- We keep our assets on an internal SharePoint drive but our international offices can’t access these drives (as we can’t share it externally). So other shared drives are used for them to access but these are always out-of-date. It’s hard keeping two repositories aligned.
- External departments can’t access the assets (ie. they are not shareable) so those assets need to be moved to another Dropbox account. It makes it harder to manage and time consuming to manage multiple libraries.
Policy & Procedure
- Getting workflow right is vitally important for time management and efficiency. Wrong assets are being used across communications because incorrect processes are being followed (or no process followed at all).
- Need an online ‘Processes Manual’ where all employees, no matter what region or office, can stick to protocol. Eg., users in one country were being briefed a certain way but users in another country just followed their own rules. Adherence to an online processes manual would keep users honest and accountable.
- Our brand has deteriorated over recent years. There are so many different (incorrect) versions being used and many are out-of-date. Users are simply running riot with assets. Essentially, everything is grossly out-of-date and no easy way to let users know they are using the wrong assets.
- There are just too many assets floating around that are not catalogued, not dated, not versioned – and with no common metadata taxonomy.
- We can’t control people using the system properly. People only find some info and make up the rest. We can’t hold them accountable because the current system doesn't really make it easy for them to follow protocol.
If you’ve experienced some of the issues and frustrations raised above, and want help with brand and digital asset management, please chat to the Brand Toolbox brand team.
If you need help with metadata taxonomies (keywording), or to understand best practice data repository structures, we are the experts.
Let us show you how our customers are taking control of their brands again – and see how Brand Toolbox can help simplify brand management.
Want more information or a personal demo? Contact us to arrange a demonstration.
12 May 2016