Branding

Brand Management 101: Protecting your brand integrity

by Canto  |  March 9, 2022

  5 min. read

Fashion brand assets with automatically assigned hex codes in Canto.

A strong, distinctive brand is essential for getting attention and building long-term relationships with customers in today’s competitive media environment. That’s why organizations dedicate so much time and money into building a brand identity that communicates their unique values and expertise. But cultivating a brand isn’t just a one-time investment that ends after you’ve designed your fancy logo and catchy mission statement. In order to communicate that identity and message effectively, you will need to implement a comprehensive brand management strategy.

What is brand management?

Brand management is the ongoing process of maintaining both the reputation and core essence of your brand in the public eye and among internal stakeholders. On a practical level, it consists of the day-to-day management of brand assets and standards, but it also involves efforts that strengthen people’s relationship with the brand. Well-executed brand management has the ability to raise the brand’s perceived value in the market, increase customer satisfaction, and encourage people to become outspoken advocates for your products and services.

Ideally, every interaction with your brand should reinforce the organization’s core identity and values. That means keeping to a consistent message, tone, and style that conforms to established branding guidelines. Using inappropriate, low quality, or outdated assets can quickly erode the overall integrity of the brand. Applying the wrong message over the wrong channel can also create confusion in the market. At best, customers might lose their sense of what the organization stands for. At worst, they could get the impression that it doesn’t actually live up to the values it professes to support.

Both situations will eventually undermine the integrity of the brand, which lowers its perceived value in the market and makes it difficult for both customers and employees to remain engaged. Given the tremendous resources organizations invest in developing their brand identity and the assets that support it, having a sound brand management strategy in place to protect and communicate it effectively is vital for success.

Fashion lifestyle image with Canto approval and sharing features.

How to protect your brand integrity

Today’s organizations deploy brand assets across a variety of channels to help promote their story and generate greater awareness in the market. As the number of potential outlets for messaging continues to expand, more people are getting involved in that ongoing communication and messaging process. Without the proper tools that support effective brand management, it’s difficult to control which assets are being used and ensure that they meet established brand guidelines.
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to strengthen your brand management and maintain the overall integrity of your brand.

1. Centralize brand assets

Organizations frequently leverage multiple storage platforms to enable hybrid teams and external collaborators to access content. These systems are rarely managed effectively, however, which forces people to waste time searching for the assets they need and makes it hard to know if they’re using content that’s aligned with existing brand standards. By consolidating approved assets in a centralized location, brand managers can create a single source of truth that eliminates confusion and streamlines collaboration. This is also the ideal place to store all brand guidelines, which provide clear documentation for the visual identity, voice, and style of all brand-related content. By keeping these guidelines in a public and easy-to-access location, it’s much easier to provide everyone in the organization (and external contributors) with clear instructions for creating and using brand assets, which protects the overall integrity of the brand. And since the brand guidelines are being stored right alongside those assets, there’s little opportunity for confusion or oversights. All things brand-related can be found in one place and all collaborators have access to them when they’re needed.

Updated magazine cover in a digital asset management platform with version control.

2. Create approval workflows

In order to create a single source of truth for brand assets, you need to have some form of approval process in place that tracks the status of content and ensures it is in accordance with your overall branding. Setting up an approval workflow that reviews how assets are being deployed can eliminate the sort of inconsistencies and inappropriate usage that can damage the brand’s integrity. If content doesn’t meet established guidelines or incorporates non-branded or even unlicensed material, it can be flagged for revision before it’s added to the library for general usage or shared over public channels.

3. Establish version control

The most successful brands evolve over time, whether they’re making sweeping changes or just undergoing a minor update to remain relevant in a competitive market. When it comes to digital assets, however, making changes can create confusion about which version is the most up-to-date. Without some form of version control in place, teams may inadvertently work from or share outdated versions. When customers see multiple iterations of branding all at once, they’re less likely to form strong, positive associations with the organization. Version control tools ensure that only the most recently updated versions of brand assets are available, which saves time, avoids redundancy, and strengthens brand integrity.

How a digital asset management platform improves brand management

A digital asset management platform (DAM) is an essential component of any successful brand management strategy. Designed specifically to help organizations organize, manage, and share assets like photos, graphics, video, and fonts among collaborative teams, DAM software provides a single source of truth that makes it easy to develop and distribute brand content. Customizable workflows can be set up to manage how assets are used and reviewed while version control tools ensure that everyone is always working from the most up-to-date copy of assets.

Canto provides all the DAM features your organization needs to ensure that all of your content is always on hand and on brand. Equipped with powerful search functionality and a variety of sharing options, Canto empowers your brand management strategy without compromising the flexibility you need to scale content production. To learn more about how Canto’s innovative features can preserve your organization’s brand integrity, sign up today for a free trial.