a sign hanging on a cream-colored wall which states "Whatever it Takes"
PHOTO: Jon Tyson

Brands are defined by customer experiences. But delivering a positive brand experience over time, and across all customer touchpoints, is no easy task — especially in today’s complicated marketing environment.

Customers experience your brand in myriad ways. Traditional points of interaction like websites, call centers, email, chatbots, collateral, and in-store displays are just the beginning. Innovations like event-triggered campaigns, programmatic advertising, shoppable media, AR/VR and voice assistants are adding even more complexity — and a bigger challenge to brand consistency. It’s a huge undertaking, which is why structured content is so critical to effective brand management.

Well-managed brand assets are the engine behind effective brand experiences. They also power more efficient distribution, better marketing automation, social media management, CRM and much more. Yet many marketers don’t have the clean, accessible and up-to-date content they need.

How do you get there? By methodically increasing the maturity of your brand management. Evolving your brand and digital asset management (DAM) will enhance your customer’s experience and drive revenue growth. It will also aid in developing new products and services, improve speed to market, and facilitate expansion into new markets.

Maturity models are a common tool to help drive growth and advancement. In the marketing technology (martech) arena, five interconnected dimensions determine brand success: strategy, people, process, technology and impact. Virtually no marketing organization enjoys full maturity along all five dimensions. Pursuing this goal, however, will take you a long way toward achieving the brand management success you desire.

This series of articles outlines the steps you, as a marketer, must take to grow and advance your brand management, using the five dimensions of martech. We’ll begin with the first element: strategy.

Strategy Acts as a Foundation and Driver of Continuous Improvement

Having a clearly defined strategic roadmap is the foundation to brand management success. It not only drives improvement in your organizational vision, but also guides continuous improvement in all the other martech dimensions. Yet perhaps surprisingly, some marketers don’t take strategy seriously — or if they do, they ignore the steps needed to move toward full maturity.

Some teams are reactive, relying on situations to guide their decision-making and with no clear plan in place. Others have a strategy, but it is not clearly documented or reviewed regularly. More mature organizations have a written strategy that is revisited at least annually, while a select few promote their strategies outside the marketing department by sharing with key stakeholders. These groups also report on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure digital asset management performance. At the highest level, strategy is broadly implemented across the organization, and executive leadership is on board.

Moving up the ladder of maturity requires initiative. A good place to start is to convene strategy workshops that facilitate ideas, set goals and define KPIs. It’s important to develop a governance document that defines clear practices and procedures for brand and digital asset management. One of the most common — and necessary — KPIs is the consistent use of a DAM platform that allows your people to plan, create, manage, publish and analyze your content.

Once you have your governance document in place, share the results with your internal and external stakeholders to create alignment. Finally, ensure your strategy is broadly implemented, and review your results for subsequent changes where needed.

Related Article: Why Your Strategies Fail to Create Change

3 Brands Leading the Way in Brand Management Strategy

Red Wing Shoes is an excellent example of how to set a path toward a mature brand management strategy. Beginning with a facilitated workshop, the shoemaker’s marketing team set KPIs as well as strategies driving its entire martech stack. Three specific strategies were established covering customer personalization, team productivity, and the sharing of marketing value across the organization. After successfully sharing its roadmap with stakeholders, the marketing team has begun implementing its program supported by a DAM platform spanning 100 users and over 60,000 assets.

Kraft Heinz created a detailed strategy for how it creates, manages and distributes its marketing content. The global food products company took the time to not only understand why a DAM platform is important, but also build a detailed business case for its implementation and development. By executing on that plan, Kraft Heinz has experienced lower costs, better security policies for its assets, and a significant uptick in the speed with which it delivers targeted content to its consumers. It also hopes to build a revenue stream around many of its assets in the future.

Lands’ End, an early ecommerce pioneer, took a major step in its digital asset management strategy by evolving its first-generation DAM platform as well as its content management system and related processes. One of the steps was to migrate data from its third-party media repositories into its DAM system, which required both a new taxonomy and an elimination of duplicate assets. By syncing product IDs, the company created a single version of its digital assets, tied to both product description/SKU number and sample data where applicable. It also allowed the creation of groups with appropriate rights, roles and permissions.

Related Article: Why Digital Asset Management Is Now Officially Martech

Consistency Is Key to an Effective Brand Strategy

Consistency is the watchword for an effective brand strategy — and in all these examples, a DAM platform was used to anchor the entire martech stack in support of creative and content operations.

A number of marketing trends are driving the popularity of DAM systems: the demand to personalize content based on customer behavior and interests; the need to create immersive experiences across all touchpoints; and the realization that global brand consistency is essential. On the operations side, a DAM platform decreases costs through more efficient work processes, greater content reuse and reduced rework. Finally, it increases revenue through more compelling marketing, better sales support and the ability to reach a wider audience.

In the next installment we’ll show how people can make or break a brand strategy — and how a dedicated workforce is the key to optimizing brand management best practices.