How to Ensure Brand Compliance

Building a successful brand takes time. So, as you learn how to build your brand, you’ll need to take consistent actions over the long term to position your brand. That is, what we want others to feel, think, and finally say about the brand.

Silly corporate jargon, inappropriate slogans, and mismatched logos. These are all symptoms of a weak brand identity, which can harm the consistency of the story you’re telling to your clients. But, how to align all the elements of a brand to be compliant with the story you want to tell (and sell) to clients? That’s what we are going to address in today’s article.

What Is Brand Compliance?

Brand compliance is the process of ensuring that all of the brand elements adhere to your brand guidelines. In addition, these elements need to work together to support brand identity and the long-term goal of a successful brand positioning.

When building a successful brand, focusing on brand compliance is key. A word that would perfectly describe brand compliance is consistency.

These include the brand’s look and feel, content, and all forms of communication and contact with your customers and potential clients. Including product packaging, website design, advertising campaigns, and more.

Apart from consistency, there are a few key elements present in the process of brand compliance:

  1. It seeks to build a loyal and trustworthy client base.
  2. Have a set of guidelines, a clear mission, and values.
  3. Focus on customer experience, meaning the overall experience customers have when interacting with your brand. This encompasses all touchpoints and interactions.
  4. Maintain a cohesive visual and verbal identity over time.

5 Steps To Ensure Brand Compliance

Brand compliance means guaranteeing that all products and services meet standards and specifications consistent with your brand identity. This includes everything from product labeling to customer service.

The goal of brand compliance is to ensure that your brand identity is protected, maintained, and promoted at every touch point with consumers. One of the most common mistakes brands make is not having a clear definition of their brand identity or not ensuring that all marketing materials reflect it consistently.

Brand compliance can be a complex process if you don’t have the right tools in place to help you manage it effectively. Here is our brand compliance list to help you build a successful brand 👇

1. Perform A Brand Compliance Audit

A brand compliance audit is a process of reviewing your visual and verbal identity, your brand’s marketing strategy, and communications (website, social media, email marketing campaigns, and video content).

The audit will seek to ensure every one of these elements is in line with your brand and follows your company’s internal policies. These include an alignment of objectives, measurables, and deliverables.

Therefore, a brand compliance audit involves inspecting all aspects of a company’s marketing activities. And comparing them against established standards of best practice.

The goal is to identify any areas where improvements can be made. So that all aspects of branding are effective in representing the desired image of the organization’s products and services.

Once you have performed your audit, document the results! This can be done by creating a brand compliance list and reviewing the changes you must make to existing brand guidelines.

2. Invest in Brand Building

To ensure brand compliance, you’ll need to invest in brand-building practices. You’ll need to have in mind the goal of setting a unique brand identity that’s recognizable in the eyes of customers and potential clients.

Among the elements that make up a brand’s identity are customer experience, visual and verbal identity, mission and values, and sensations.

The CX is the overall experience your customers have when interacting with your brand. It encompasses all touchpoints and interactions. From the first interaction with an employee to the last interaction with a product or service!

On the other hand, visual identity involves all visual elements. Such as the brand’s logo (a symbol used to represent a brand), color pallet (sensations and emotions evoked by the chosen colors), visual language, and typography.

In addition, clear and established esthetic and photographic guidelines will help you complement the viewer’s visual experience. Therefore, they must be connected to the visual universe you are trying to create.

3. Conduct Training & Education For Staff

Make sure all your staff members understand their role in supporting the company’s brand identity and core values. Ensure that they don’t inadvertently contradict them through their words or actions when interacting with customers, potential customers, or other employees (including suppliers).

In summary, ensure everyone knows what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to communicating with customers through any channel (email, phone calls, or in-person interactions).

4. Measure Brand Compliance

This applies to all aspects of your business, including how you handle complaints, respond to posts on social media, and handle customer service issues.

In addition to documenting these processes, companies should also guarantee that their employees are trained on what is expected of them when it comes to compliance with laws or company policies, so it’s important to review the quality of training programs.

There are also some metrics you can use to measure brand compliance. These include measuring brand performance, analyzing your content and campaigns, monitoring social media activity, and checking consistency across marketing channels.

5. Make Sure Your Brand Compliance Policy Manual Is Updated

Good brands are not static.

As customers’ needs and likes change over time, brands need to adapt their policies to stay up to date with what clients expect. We can see the efforts of big companies trying to look fresh and modern without losing the essence of a brand, changing elements such as logos and colors to empathize with a cause that represents its values.

Grammarly changed its logo to support Ukraine.

It’s key to have guidelines that state how to address brand elements, but it’s also important to be flexible enough to identify opportunities to show who you are as a brand and which values you want to share with your customers.

The Importance Of Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines are essential for your company’s marketing and sales strategy. They provide a set of rules for your brand. Also, these guidelines ensure that your brand remains consistent across all touchpoints (websites, social media accounts, and packaging).

Brand guidelines cover everything from logo usage to color palettes to the type of content you post on social media. By creating a brand identity through compliance, you can ensure consistency across all marketing channels. This will make it easier for your customers to identify with your brand across content distribution platforms.

If you are an early-stage founder, it may seem like investing in brand guidelines is not worth it. But believe us when we say it will pay off in the long run!

In fact, there are several ways branding contributes to the growth of your business 👇

Increasing customer loyalty

When people see your brand everywhere, they will associate it with positive feelings and emotions. This will ultimately lead to higher customer loyalty and better word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied and happy customers. Therefore, this will build a strong emotional bond between you and your target audience.

Building credibility

People are more willing to invest money in brands they trust than those they don’t know much about or have never heard of! Whether they’re buying something online or visiting a store in person, people want to know what they’re getting into.

Standing out

In markets with numerous existing solutions, branding can be the key differentiator. It will make your brand more recognizable to your target audience.

To gain a broader perspective of how the big ones are addressing brand compliance, let’s explore three examples of companies with strong brand presence 👇

3 Examples of Companies With Solid Brand-Building Strategies

A strong brand gives you an advantage over your competitors. It helps people remember you and gives them something to talk about. It also gives people an idea of what they can expect from your company and how they can identify with it.

But there are many different types of brands, and some are more recognizable or popular than others. However, every great brand has one thing in common: a solid brand-building strategy.

Those who understand what their customer really wants, work around the fact that people don’t buy products or services. They buy experiences, feelings, and emotions, and we can reach our customers deeply only if we can create these experiences that people are willing to buy. Let’s explore how three of the biggest brands in the world are ensuring brand compliance:

Apple

Checking the guidelines of well-known companies is key to understanding how these successful brands apply brand compliance. In the case of Apple, its guidelines include company values to communication style rules (such as allowed logo sizes, how to capitalize text, colors, and more).

For example, they have specific guidelines for certified resellers. According to the document, resellers can display their Apple-provided authorization only in all-black or all-white. The Apple logo in grey is reserved for use by Apple.

Tesla

In Tesla’s case, we can see how all the values the brand seeks to convey (breakthrough innovation, minimalist luxury, futurism, and performance) are perfectly reflected in both its products and its brand narrative.

Their final goal is to make all these beads align in their audience’s minds to create the perfect image and promote a massive brand appeal.

According to Olivier Roth, brand builder at Timelapse, when building a brand identity and achieving compliance, one has to focus on three main elements: pillars, qualities, and expressions.

Brand expressions include the brand’s most visible layer, such as its social media channels, website, videos, product packaging, marketing content, and all other digital and traditional channels in between.

On the other hand, qualities contain the set of guidelines and rules that define the brand. These will guide the brand’s narrative (tone, brand voice, and storytelling) and its creative elements (visual, auditive, and sensitive identity).

Last but not least, to achieve brand compliance you’ll have to start from the beginning. Set up your brand story, the inspiration that led you to create it, its value, and the historical and cultural context of the brand.

Google

To begin with, Google not only has a guide with rules and points to follow, but it also has a Brand Resource Center where it centralizes everything regarding its brand elements, how, when, and where to use them.

Something that Google’s guidelines include that’s great is that they talk directly to the user, including everyone that wants to use its brand elements. They’re also very clear in which ways people or other brands are not allowed to use Google’s brand elements.

These include implying endorsement, putting Google’s name in other brands’ names, imitating their logo or visual identity (including color combinations, graphic designs, product icons, or imagery associated with Google), or using Google Doodles.

When we think of brands, we often think of big companies like Apple or Google, but not small businesses like law firms or cafes. So even if your business is not as big as Tesla, there are many ways you can improve your brand and stand out from the crowd!

This post was originally published in Unita.co on October 19, 2022.

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