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Brand Management 101: Maintaining brand consistency

by Canto  |  April 20, 2022

5 min. read
Fashion brand graphic next to brand style guide in Canto.

There’s an old adage among marketers that the average customer needs to have seven interactions with a company before making a purchase. These interactions can range from visiting the company’s website to simply hearing it mentioned in passing conversation. Each interaction builds familiarity and, ideally, trust so that when the customer is ready to make a purchase, they will already know what to expect from the company. This helps to explain why building a strong, consistent brand identity is so vital to an organization’s success. If people have positive associations with a brand, they’re more likely to turn to it when the time is right.

Why brand management is important

Brand management is the process of maintaining the integrity of your brand to raise awareness and trust with your customers. Over time, a successful brand management strategy not only raises the perceived value of your brand, but also improves customer retention and encourages people to become strident advocates for your products and services. But the benefits aren’t just confined to customer relationships. Organizations with a healthy brand identity have more engaged employees and have an easier time attracting talent and partners that are aligned with their mission and values.

When a brand is managed poorly, however, it becomes difficult for people to have faith in an organization or even take it seriously. Inconsistency is one of the fastest ways to undermine brand identity. Sharing the wrong images or graphics, using too many fonts, and featuring off-brand colors can leave your brand looking confused and unprofessional. One of the goals of brand messaging is to make people feel good about associating with your organization. That’s not going to happen if your branding efforts appear scattershot and lack clarity.

Photo of a model in a white blouse showing digital rights and approval status in Canto.

How to maintain brand consistency

Managing your brand effectively can be quite a challenge in an era with so many media channels available for reaching audiences. Not only are there more outlets to manage, but brand storytelling has also been democratized. While brand managers and marketing departments once monopolized control over how assets were shared, the growth of social media channels has effectively turned every person within an organization into a potential brand messenger. Making sure that all these people are on the same page and using the same assets is vital for ensuring brand consistency.

A good first step is to consolidate all brand assets into a single source of truth rather than storing them in multiple locations. When branded content is stored in various cloud platforms or scattered across individual computers, it’s almost impossible to maintain control over what is being shared and used to generate content. Consolidating assets in a centralized library provides greater visibility into how they’re being used and makes it easier to establish consistency.

Digital asset management (DAM) platforms are an ideal solution for streamlining and simplifying the storage, access, and sharing of brand assets. Once those resources have been consolidated into a single source of truth, there are a few additional steps that can help brand managers ensure they’re deploying brand assets more consistently.

Step 1: Create and share brand guidelines

Organizations frequently invest a lot of time and money into creating comprehensive brand guidelines that lay out very specific instructions for what images, fonts, colors, and tone of voice should be used when creating content or communicating with stakeholders. Unfortunately, these useful guidelines often end up languishing unseen in the depths of hard drives throughout the organization. Over time, small tweaks and changes to content can introduce a great deal of inconsistency into the brand.

By storing brand guidelines in the same location as other assets, it’s much easier to find and reference them when creating or sharing material. You can even create interactive guidelines that allow people to retrieve the colors, images, and fonts they need directly so they don’t have to track them down manually.

Fashion images in Canto's gallery view, with sharing option window.

Step 2: Tag brand assets with metadata

Inconsistencies and mistakes are more likely to happen when people are in a hurry or frustrated by not being able to find what they need. The average marketing professional spends the equivalent of several weeks each year trying to track down specific assets for a project. This leads them to settle for “close enough,” which might mean using images that aren’t in the correct file format or resorting to a low-resolution copy taken from another source.

By consolidating brand assets within a DAM platform that provides a single source of truth for all content, you can use metadata, tags, and keywords to make it much easier to find things with a simple search. Rather than wasting time sifting through hundreds (or even thousands) of files to find the correct image in the correct format and resolution or trying to adapt another asset that may not be appropriate for use, people can quickly and easily locate exactly what they need to create or share content that’s consistent with your overall brand identity.

Step 3: Control access and usage rights

Just because brand assets are approved for usage and comply with your brand guidelines doesn’t mean that everybody should be able to use them whenever they want. Some of those assets may only be appropriate for specific content strategies, while others are intended exclusively for internal use rather than public-facing communications. Controlling who has access to which assets is an important step in maintaining brand consistency.

With a DAM platform, you can create dedicated libraries to share appropriate assets for different organizational uses. While your marketing team might have access to the entire collection of brand assets to generate content, you may set up a separate portal full of approved images, graphics, and videos that employees in other departments can use for presentations and social media. This allows you to maintain greater brand consistency while also making it easier for everyone within the organization to promote the brand itself.

Improve your brand consistency with Canto

Canto is a powerful digital asset management platform that provides the features brand managers need to ensure their content is always on hand and on brand. With powerful search functionality, multiple tools for curating and sharing content, and robust reporting capabilities, Canto makes it easier than ever for organizations to maintain brand consistency and scale content production without sacrificing flexibility.

To learn more about how Canto can empower your brand management strategy, sign up today for a free trial.