Become a creative enabler and powerhouse cross-functional partner that empowers your organization to run quickly, efficiently, and creatively. From foundational brand assets to creative templates everyone can use, we broke down the most common creative assets you should build for your organization.
It's important to focus on brand strategy templates, assets, and resources your organization can use and capitalize on. With the right toolbox of creative assets, your organization can elevate its visibility and help establish itself as an industry leader.
It's vital for any business to have reliable, creative assets available to stay competitive in fast-changing markets.
In this article, you will learn:
- The foundational creative assets you need to support your brand
- The must-haves for your brand style guide
- Most common creative assets you should build
- Templates you should create for your brand template library
- How to keep your library of assets fresh and updated
Build Creative Assets Before They Are Requested
Pre-planning for future creative needs can sometimes feel like a moving target. It can be difficult to predict a future state, and oftentimes, the creative request process becomes the default trigger in planning. While a creative request process has its place and purpose in everyday workflows, marketing, and design teams can equip their organizations with the assets they need to encourage fewer requests and greater ability for cross-functional roles to do it themselves. Organizations should build the most common creative assets before they are requested to ensure they have content ready to go when needed. This can be in the form of a design template and ensuring that foundational design elements like logos are centralized for everyone to access.
This helps provide a more efficient workflow, as having content already in place will save time and effort while providing a blueprint for future projects. A library of assets may enable organizations to leverage ideas or start a project more quickly, which can make your organization more competitive and operate with more agility.
Often, it can be hard to know where to start. A brand audit can get you well underway, but if you are starting from the ground level, running through the foundational creative assets and then proactively creating the most common creative assets may be a great place to start.
Foundational Creative Assets to Support Your Brand
Organizations need to create foundational creative assets that serve as a guide for all other content produced. Brand identity guidelines, established by an organization, promote an understanding of how different design elements work together to tell the overarching story of your brand. Those required pieces include logos, fonts, and colors. These foundational assets each play a vital role in telling your brand's story.
The best place to start is to ensure you have a brand style guide outlining how your brand lives and plays in the world. A style guide is a document created by a company to define its branding strategy and communicate how it is to be applied. It includes details of the brand’s logo, fonts, colors, language style, layout, and other visual guidelines for applying the brand across all media types. A good rule of thumb is to ensure a non-designer can implement your brand's style guide.
Elements of a style guide
- Logos and proper usage.
Logos are key visual marks that symbolize the company's name and identity; they come in both static and animated formats. A professionally designed logo will transcend color modulation and still be recognizable at any size or background.
- Brand-approved fonts.
Fonts evoke various user feelings and can bring together different goals: building recognition, elevating UX/UI experience, or encouraging user action.
- Brand-approved colors.
Colors do more than make your website stand out - they inspire emotion, attract attention across all communication channels, and, when done right, can help differentiate your brand in the digital space. It is important for organizations to choose a set of core colors for branding purposes that encompass the full range of uses – online banner ads, product packaging, etc.
- Brand voice guide and examples.
If anyone outside your marketing team will be writing copy that represents your brand or company, you want to include language to support how your brand communicates. Brand voice is a key element of your brand, and consistency in voice helps build brand equity over time.
- Approved photography, iconography, and other imagery.
Typically, it can be helpful to include examples of the kind of photography that your brand uses, icons, or other imagery so there is a comprehensive "how-to" manual for your brand. If you only use black and white photography or if you treat photography with a specific overlay, these kinds of rules should be included in your style guide.
Whether your business is large or small, revisiting these foundational creative assets and ensuring they are serving your brand well and are easily accessible will enable your teams to act on brand initiatives with confidence.
How to Build Your Template Library
Once your core brand elements are created, reviewed, and shared, you'll want to look for opportunities to extend your brand assets to facilitate brand enablement across your organization.
Template libraries are an essential part of success for any organization and a crucial step to ensure brand enablement across your organization. From crafting a clear brand messaging strategy to implementing your brand colors on everyday content and collateral, templates help streamline operations to ensure everyone is on the same page. Most organizations create templates around four primary organizational pillars: Sales, Marketing, and People Operations.
Consider this perspective as a departmental segmentation of your brand enablement strategy; each function requires different branded materials to execute its role. Your brand template library should include assets for every person and purpose.
Sales templates can include lead qualification criteria or product sheets; marketing templates might inform team members how to create and send client emails; people operations could include onboarding checklists.
Once you've considered each of these primary roles and functions, it can be helpful to take a deeper look into your creative request queue. Can you employ a template-thinking mindset when processing creative requests? If you did, you could actively build upon your brand template library and further enable your cross-functional partners.
Consider these questions as you receive creative requests:
- Is this content/collateral that can be iterated on?
- Can this creative asset be turned into a scalable/dynamic asset versus a one-time-use creative document?
No matter what size business you have, a library of creative templates on file for anyone in your cross-functional team can use is a modern approach to brand management that benefits everyone. Your team saves time, and everyone feels empowered to use your brand. Templates also put your brand guidelines into actual content and collateral. Your creative and marketing teams can get them 80% of the way there, and they can finish the final 20%. A template system and brand enablement strategy like this can streamline processes and offer everyone in your organization a consistent look and feel when developing branded collateral.
Most common creative templates that should be part of your central marketing hub:
- Social Posts: Create branded images for multiple purposes that your team can easily customize. Include several looks and develop content for all of your channels. Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
- Slide Decks: Create presentation templates that your team can utilize for internal and external use. Consider including several options and styles that are all brand-approved.
- Business Cards: This tedious task every time a new employee starts, or your sales team needs a reorder can save tons of time if you provide a template so anyone can order their own cards. Bonus: they can also verify their own information, so you don't have problems with typos in the phone number.
- Paid Ad Template: Create templates for sponsored campaigns with the approved imagery and fill in copy points as needed. You can also provide batches of headlines and sub-copy so they can switch out messaging themselves and easily run tests on the best conversion copy.
- One Sheets: An info sheet with product descriptions, new product features and upgrades, and even personalized product messaging by vertical can help key amplify sales opportunities and save your marketing and design teams time.
- Event collateral: So often, your events team has requests for flyers or brochures for events. It can be helpful to provide templates for repeat pieces of collateral that they can easily customize themselves for each event.
Creative templates are like a bridge. They can help unite different departments to connect and share information quickly and effectively. They also translate the sometimes ambiguous brand standards that designers create for their non-designer, cross-functional partners.
While templates can provide beneficial structure and guidelines, they should also offer autonomy. Effective templates should promote creativity by giving some customizability to ensure each team incorporates elements of the brand into their design. Done correctly, this serves both flexibility and consistency in brand identity across all documents and digital content.
Want to learn more about how Marq can help you lock down your brand, build a template library, and provide an easy-to-use editor for customization all in one centralized location? Schedule a 1:1, or click here to get started.