Brand Manager

It can be intimidating for a team leader to introduce new software to their team. You may understand the benefits, but they may be hesitant to abandon legacy software with which they are intimately familiar. 

However, with the right training, you can create an effective learning environment that encourages software adoption and equips employees to confidently and efficiently use new software. 

In this article, we will discuss how to make introducing new software a successful experience for everyone involved. You will learn how to:

By following the tips and advice in this article, you’ll help your team get the most out of their new software while having some fun along the way. Let’s get started!

Why Is Training for New Software Important?

Without training, your team won’t engage enthusiastically with new software and platforms, nor will they be able to use the software to its full potential. Consequently, your business won’t see the expected return on investment, and the new software’s efficiency, productivity and cost benefits will be squandered. 

A well-designed training regime will help team members learn how to use the software to its full capabilities. Not only will they become intimately familiar with all the features and functions of the software, but they will be able to make better decisions about how they use it.

Training also results in happier team members. You can insist that your team use the software before they are sufficiently trained, but doing so can create a stressful work environment, reduce productivity, and even hurt employee retention. 

Furthermore, software training provides an opportunity for feedback from both sides; employers can identify areas where employees need help to improve their skills, while employees can ask questions and receive guidance from experienced trainers. 

Finally, investing in software training is cost-effective in the long run. It prevents expensive mistakes that could occur if team members don’t understand how to use a product properly. Well-trained employees, in contrast, will be able to make the most of their software, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency.

How Can You Motivate Employees to Use New Technology?

Training is one of the best ways to increase software adoption and overcome your team’s reluctance to adopt new technology. These 8 software training tips will help you give your team the knowledge they need to use new software confidently. 

1. Ensure that Your Team Understands the Benefits

It is essential to ensure that your team understands the benefits of the new software you are introducing. If they don’t understand what it can do for them, they may not invest the time and effort needed to become competent users.

Understanding the benefits of any new tool being introduced to a workflow helps employees stay motivated while undergoing the learning curve. Knowing how a new system will make their lives easier or help them do their jobs better can give people an extra incentive to learn something different.

When introducing new software, make sure you understand how it helps team members work more efficiently. Consider the advantages from each team member’s perspective and take the time to explain why the business made a particular software adoption decision. 

2. Incentivize Team Members to Learn

Incentivizing team members to learn new software can be an incredibly effective way to increase adoption. Explaining how the software is intrinsically beneficial is a great start. But many businesses go further by offering rewards for employees who complete software training. 

Rewards might include:

Additionally, try recognizing employees’ progress during the transition period by praising them publicly. Public acknowledgment motivates the rewarded individual while encouraging other team members to learn more.

3. Use the Developer’s Software Training Resources

Software developers often provide educational resources and training materials that you can use during training sessions. For example, Marq’s launch and training resources include a wide variety of courses, tutorials and training videos to help new users understand our brand template platform and how it works. 

4. Create Bespoke Training Resources

Although the software developer’s training resources should be your first port of call, creating bespoke training resources may also be helpful. Companies and teams have unique processes, and the new software may be only one component in a more extensive system. 

Creating custom training resources such as training brochures and guides allows you to train team members to use the software within your specific business context. 

5. Determine a Point of Contact for Questions and Feedback

We all know how frustrating it is to use software we don’t understand—especially when we have no clue who to ask for help. Having a designated point of contact—a manager or team member who has already been trained—ensures that queries or issues are handled quickly and effectively. 

If team members know who to reach out to, they are more likely to seek the support they need. This fosters a comfortable learning environment that is essential for successful software adoption.

6. Create Structured Learning Sessions

Independent learning is a valuable part of the software training process, but it can leave trainees feeling isolated and unsupported. Team leaders should create structured learning sessions to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

Structured learning leads to a more efficient adoption process, as team members can ask questions, help each other out and get up to speed quickly. These sessions also give team leaders an opportunity to showcase the value of the new software and explain how it can help the team better accomplish their tasks. Plus, they are an excellent forum for gathering feedback from employees.

7. Designate Dedicated Learning Time

Dedicated learning periods give team members time away from their day-to-day responsibilities to learn how to use the new software. Unless you set time aside, your team will likely be too busy to focus on software training, and will almost certainly prioritize work tasks over training sessions. 

Designated learning time might hit productivity in the short term, but you’ll gain it back through higher adoption rates, greater efficiency and increased skills. 

8. Move Content and Other Assets to the New Software

One of the best ways to encourage software adoption is to make sure that team members can access files, data, content, images, templates and other resources within the new software. If they have to keep switching back and forth between new and legacy software, they will likely give up and stick with what they know. If you want team members to use new software, make the experience as easy, convenient and pleasant as possible.Are you ready to transition your team to a powerful brand templating platform? Marq helps creative teams build consistent brand experiences at scale. To find out more, request a free demo with a brand template expert.

A brand is a funny thing. It’s not something you can hold in your hand, yet a brand is the bread and butter of an organization. Without a stable, consistent brand, your company growth will be severely stunted. Not so sure? Well, we’ve gathered some facts and statistics for you to check out. Prepare to be convinced.

Let’s start by building a foundation—what is a brand, how does it relate to your consumer, and why you simply cannot ignore building a strong brand.

Brand basics

A brand is a personality that identifies a product, service or company, including a name, term, sign, symbol or design. A brand also represents the relationships between customers, staff, partners, investors, and so forth.


A brand does not exist within a company or organization. A brand exists in the minds of your customers. A brand is the sum total of impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company, and your products.


Inconsistent branding doesn’t just impact your customers — it hurts employee morale too.


Build brand loyalty on shared values with your consumers. It is not the number of interactions a buyer has with your brand, but the quality and relatability of the interaction.

Harvard Business Review

Successful branding yields benefits such as increased customer loyalty, an improved image, and a relatable identity.

TSL Marketing

45% of customers expect great design across marketing and sales collateral.


The main benefit of branding tools, and reason to employ them, is to boost profits.


The greatest negative impact of inconsistent brand usage is the creation of confusion in the market.


Surprised yet? If not, just wait until you see what’s going on for B2B brands. In a B2B market, branding is especially crucial. If you are in the B2B realm, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

B2B branding statistics

B2B brands fare better with customers when they use emotive rather than rational marketing messages. 


B2B marketers have consistently cited brand awareness as their top goal over the last five years.

CMI and MarketingProfs

89% of B2B marketers say brand awareness is the most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation.

Content Marketing Institution

The rise in content generation is inextricably linked to the shift in customer expectations.


Building an audience is more valuable than direct sales for over 70% of brand managers.


B2B companies with brands that are perceived as strong generate a higher EBIT margin than others.


77% of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth.


75% of B2B buyers want branded content that helps them research business ideas, but 93% of brands focus their content on marketing their own products and services.


91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to promote brand awareness.

Content Marketing Institute

69% of companies report that brand guidelines aren’t widely adopted or don’t exist at all.


Surprising, right? Regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, a small or large business, an emerging competitor or a long-standing organization, you must maintain your audience. Here are a few stats that show how to keep their attention.

Maintaining your audience statistics

On average, 5 to 7 brand impressions are necessary before someone will remember your brand.

Pam Moore

70% of survey constituents reported that consistent branding is crucial when communicating with existing customers.


Brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility.


The average revenue increase attributed to personalized content is 48%.


Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

University of Loyola

64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand.

Harvard Business Review

50% of people follow 1 to 4 brands on social media, 26% follow 5 to 9 brands, 22% follow 10 or more brands, and 3% follow no brands.


52% of consumers expect brands to know when the right moments are to communicate.


89% of business readers say that the brand a piece of content comes from is important, and 85% of marketers say the primary reason for creating content is to build the brand and positive perceptions of the company.

The Economist Group

72% of marketers think branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine; 62% say it is more effective than advertising on TV; 69% say it is superior to both direct mail and public relations.

The Content Council

45% of consumers will unfollow a brand on social media if their platform is dominated by self-promotion.


48% of consumers expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs.


Mind-blowing? We hope so. Now you’ve got a few more reasons to boost your brand and start thinking seriously about brand asset management. With your newfound knowledge, you’re prepared to wow your customers more than ever. Good luck!

As a Creative Director, you need designers to fly by the seat of their pants, take life by the horns and do whatever they need to do to get stuff done. Or, in other words, you need them to indulge their creativity, take abstract ideas and craft them into something relatable, tangible and personable — relative to a brand, of course.

But here’s the thing. 

All too often, designers and other creatives wind up with an acute case of what you might call Lone-Wolf-Tunnel-Vision-No-Don’t-Touch-My-Precious. Or non-creative folks attempt to create collateral, resulting in some seriously rogue content and off-brand hullabaloo. You’ve seen it before. And maybe you’ve experienced it yourself, too. Folks get so wrapped up in a project that it becomes difficult to remove themselves, both personally and professionally, from the execution, critique and more. 

And while either approach to design can be effective in some circumstances, it works only up till a certain point, when it can hinder your brand image.

Alternatively, steering creatives toward collaboration in design, especially when the project calls for it, can have a positive impact in a myriad of ways. 

What is design collaboration?

Simply put: design collaboration involves the collaboration between colleagues — design, dev, content and etc., — in order to bring an idea to life. 

As the name suggests, design collaboration is an immersive, collaborative experience. It relies on an innate variety of thinking, experience and more that multiple key stakeholders contribute when they, so to speak, put their heads together to problem solve and create powerful customer experiences. Ultimately, design collaboration entails a unique process in which creative teams transform an idea or a concept into a fully-fleshed out campaign or finished product. And in turn, you build a stronger team and empower them to work faster — together.

Why is design collaboration important?

Collaboration in design offers your team two critical benefits:

  1. Your brand stands to gain the benefit of collaboration between creatives.
  2. Your brand stands to gain the benefit of cross-functional team collaboration.

As far as creatives are concerned, collaboration in design helps empower creatives to take their blinders off and work together (as a team) to create powerful, magnetic content experiences. 

As for cross-functional teams are concerned, collaboration in design allows individual contributors and teams at-large to work faster, work stronger and work together more effectively. Keep in mind, the key to a successful collaboration design process lay within managing the project itself. 

How to create a culture of collaboration

Creating a successful collaboration design culture is kind of like following a recipe. There are certain ingredients, so to speak, that you need in order to foster and nurture collaboration across individuals and departments. 

So, what do you need? 

The six C’s!

Common ground — Think of this as a team’s (cross-functional or not) shared values. What unites you as a group of collaborators? 

HOT TIP: Remind everyone to keep an open mind when it comes to perhaps overzealous ideas. Sometimes the most impactful experiences aren’t the most straightforward. And part of the collaborative process entails leaning into a problem-solving mentality.

Context — Think of this as your goals. Why are you all here? What are you doing?

HOT TIP: Creative briefs are excellent contextual pieces of evidence. A creative brief doesn’t have to be super heavy-handed or in-depth, but it needs to offer the guidance, context and identification of key stakeholders for the project at hand.

Clarity — Think of this as the “how” you’ll get this project done. Clarity is critical when working in a group of multifaceted people. 

HOT TIP: You need to consider project management processes, tools, roles, deadlines and so forth. The more clear you can get about who-owns-what and when-something-is-due, the stronger your project is likely to be. 

Critique — This is probably pretty self-evident. Successful collaboration requires critique and feedback. Do not shy away from it. 

HOT TIP: Facilitate peer-to-peer feedback sessions. It’s easy for anyone and everyone to get tunnel-vision when working on a project. Or, alternatively, create a big group brainstorm that encourages everyone to feel “bought-in” to an idea or concept, that way each person feels as though they contributed to the brainstorming process. 

Communication — You and all of those on the collaboration team need to have a universal language regarding the project specifics. Even if a sales agent doesn’t quite understand the ins and outs of a UX designer’s job, doesn’t mean you can’t establish a common ground of communication. 

HOT TIP: Encourage cross-functional collaboration and communication on a regular basis. Weekly or biweekly meetings are a great way to achieve this. 

Connectivity — Think of this as the “what” that connects you back to your customers. What do you know to be true, or rather, what assumptions are you making about this project and consequential experience or initiative.

HOT TIP: Create a customer roadmap of feedback or reviews. Get an inside look as to what you know is true, and perhaps where you’re being steered wrong.

Top 4 tools that foster collaboration

Collaboration design projects usually have quite a few moving parts — along with quite a few people involved. So, to keep you on track, we typically recommend using a few tools that promote and foster collaboration, and keep you organized and on-task.

You have arrived at Collaboration Design Station

It’s worth noting that not all projects require collaboration design. Some projects are better suited as partnership endeavors, whereas others, like a high-visibility ad campaign, should probably be created using a collaborative design process.

If you Google “brand definition” you’ll find forty-three different attempts on just the first page of search results alone. There are so many competing misconceptions about what a brand is that it might be simpler to say what a brand is not: A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a name. A brand is not a trademark, symbol or jingle. Yes, these things affect the brand, but a brand encompasses all of this and more.

What is branding?

To begin to understand what a brand is, you must first understand that your brand does not exist in your marketing department, your public relations team, or your CEO’s office. A brand exists only in the minds of your customers. Simply put, a brand is the sum total of all the impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company and your products. Each one of these interactions tells a story to your customers. If your customer believes that a product is new and innovative, then those attributes become part of your brand in that customer’s mind. If your packaging is beautifully illustrated, then they may view your brand as sophisticated or elite. On the other hand, if your service is poor, customers might think you’re stubborn or rude. If your print materials are designed in MS Paint, you may look cheap and amateur.

Every interaction sends a message

What is a brand?

Imagine all of these interactions as arrows, and each one points to a message. For example, your product (a big interaction) might point to the message that your company is innovative. Another arrow—your beautifully illustrated print advertisements—might point to the message that you’re sophisticated and elite. But what if an arrow—customer service—is rude and hard to contact? What if your CEO makes an off-color joke that’s caught on a news camera? Every one of these things are interactions you have with your customers, and every one of them is going to affect how they view your company.

All of these examples of interaction “arrows” point to different messages, sending a muddy overall brand message where the customer doesn’t know if you’re likable or not—whether they want to continue buying your products or go visit your competitor.

To manage your brand, you want to decide on a brand message then make sure that all of the interactions with your company—these arrows—are aimed at your brand message.

Disney branding

Think, for example, of Disney. Several years ago, Disney decided that their brand was “Magical Family Fun.” They now try to point all of their interaction arrows at their target brand, at every level of the company. Yes, there are the obvious examples, like their movies, and theme parks where actors at Disneyland (called “cast members”) dress up as Cinderella, Jack Sparrow and Mickey Mouse. But their brand influences the Disney Stores across the country: every morning, when the stores open, cast members select children to ceremonially unlock the stores with a special keepsake key. Even when providing customer service, the cast members integrate the Magical Family Fun brand message—aside from always sounding happy and eager to talk with you, they’ll spend extra time on the phone reminiscing about past experiences in the park, always happy to listen to customers’ stories or share their own memories. Everything they do, every one of their arrows, is aimed at Magical Family Fun.

Walmart is another interesting example, because their brand message became their slogan: “Save Money. Live Better.” Yes, they bargain hard to make sure that they have the lowest prices, but they also initiated the now-widespread $4 prescription plan, selling prescriptions for a much lower margin—or, often, no profit at all. They do everything they can to make their customers’ dollars stretch as far as possible. The company’s charitable giving is now more than a billion dollars per year.

Whatever brand message you choose, make sure that your customers’ impressions—your arrows—all point in the right direction. Remember the old marketing adage: “A bad advertisement is worse than no ad at all.” By being a brand ambassador—by sending consistent, targeted messages—your customers will understand exactly who you are and what you can do for them.

Why is branding important?

Pepsi challenge

In 1975, marketers at PepsiCo started a campaign that would become a legend in the world of advertising, and would fire the first shot in the Cola Wars. The experiment was simple and effective: booths appeared in malls and supermarkets, sports arenas and state fairs; participants drank two sips of cola from unmarked cups and were asked which beverage they liked better. Overwhelmingly, the choice was clear: consumers favored Pepsi. In almost every venue, in almost every demographic, Pepsi was the winner.

But there arose the paradox: Coca-Cola was destroying Pepsi in market share. Even now, forty years later, Coke controls the largest piece of the carbonated beverage market share—seventeen percent. Diet Coke comes in second place at nine percent. And Pepsi—the clear taste favorite—languishes in third place at eight percent.

Now, there have been some attempts to explain the disparity. In his 2005 book BlinkMalcolm Gladwell suggested that the reason is due to the small amounts: that, when only drinking a sip, people prefer a sweeter drink—which Pepsi is. But studies haven’t always proven that to be true, nor has it been studied nearly as much as competing taste tests.

So what explains it? Well, a research professor at the Baylor College of Medicine decided to really put the claims to the test—to figure out, physiologically, why consumers made that choice.

He put test subjects into an fMRI, a machine that tests brain activity by watching the flow of blood from one region to another. In the first phase of the test, he had subjects drink cola while their brains were being scanned. Once again, Pepsi was chosen as the favorite. It was the ventral putamen that lit up on the scan—part of the brain that makes up the reward system. In essence, the brain was saying “I like this. It makes me happy.”

But in the next phase of the experiment, researchers altered a key component of the test: this time, they told participants what they were drinking. It changed everything. No longer was the reward system lighting up: instead, it was the cerebral cortex, the higher-level decision-making part of the brain. When people drank, their brain wasn’t evaluating flavor; it was evaluating memories and experience. And when this higher-level cognitive part of the brain was working, Coke soundly beat out Pepsi.

This, according to the researchers, was the effect of branding. When a consumer has previous impressions of a product or company, it will actually change the way their brain evaluates such straightforward decisions as “which tastes better?” Coke has a long history of standout marketing efforts. Collectors buy up old ads and bottles dating all the way back to the 1880s. People buy clothes depicting the famous Coca-Cola logo. There is even a Coke museum in Atlanta, where tourists pay $16 for the chance to view exhibits about how great Coke is. And when they look to make their purchase decisions in-store, all of that material makes for a powerful brand.

This is the strength of a good brand management strategy. Granted, Coke has more than a century behind them, and the love of the brand has been passed down from generation to generation. But while becoming the next Coke is daunting (at best), this does serve as a good aspirational lesson on why branding matters.

Key takeaways

Want to know more about the impact of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

Put simply, the difference between corporate branding and product branding is that corporate branding represents an entire company and its complete portfolio of products, while product branding focuses on a single product. Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn is a product brand. ConAgra Foods is a corporate brand.

Let’s take a quick step back to a recent blog where we defined what branding is: a brand is the sum total of the impressions of all interactions that your customer has with you. If it’s product branding, it’s all the interactions with your product—the packaging, commercials, quality, and so on. If it’s corporate branding or corporate identity it’s all the interactions they have with your company.

How visible is your corporation?

Depending on your company, the corporation may be virtually unknown—everyone knows about Twinkies, but few have ever heard that they’re owned by Flowers Foods. On the other hand, your corporate brand may be front and center for your consumers.

For example, Procter & Gamble was an official sponsor of the Rio Olympics. Their individual products were mentioned, but the focus of their ad campaign focused on P&G as a whole, continuing the mom-oriented messaging they’ve used in recent Olympic games. The campaign focuses on the strength that moms pass onto their kids, and how P&G is an ally in that goal. They cite several of their products: Tide detergent, Bounty paper towels, Pampers diapers, and more. But those products are seen very briefly; this is about corporate branding, and it’s the P&G logo that is displayed proudly at the end of the commercial.

When corporate branding replaces product branding

Of course, Procter & Gamble doesn’t usually advertise the company as a whole (because their products are so many and so varied—from Dolce & Gabbana perfume to Pepto-Bismol to Febreze—that it’s hard to lump them together and promote them as a block), but other multi-brand companies choose to brand the company instead of the individual products. GE is a good example: they sell microwaves and ovens, but they also make MRI machines, wind turbines, light bulbs and mining equipment.

So, when GE advertises, they’ve made a decision to promote the entire company. A new ad campaign titled “What’s the Matter with Owen?” is a self-deprecating series in which a young college grad gets hired by GE and, instead of congratulations, he gets sympathy from his uninformed friends. He has to explain to them (and to us, the viewers) that GE is a great company for developers like him. They’re a “digital industrial” company.

When your product portfolio needs to be split up

Recently on this blog, we talked about Disney’s brand message: “Magical Family Fun.” It’s a message that defines its theme parks, movies, stores and merchandising. But The Walt Disney Company consists of much more than just magical family fun. They own other family fun brands like Lucasfilm and Marvel, the ABC Television Group (with channels like A&E, the History Channel and Lifetime), and ESPN with its many spin-off channels.

In this case, all of these disparate brands under The Walt Disney Company’s umbrella don’t get into corporate branding the same way that consumer-packaged goods conglomerates like Procter & Gamble do. They occasionally work together (ABC collaborates with ESPN during March Madness, for example), but ESPN never raises the Disney flag.

Your corporation has a brand whether you manage it or not

But here’s the thing about branding: you have a corporate brand, whether you are managing it or not. Your company’s products do not exist in a vacuum. Disney has suffered lawsuits and boycotts against one subsidiary because of the actions of another.

The Southern Baptist Convention voted to boycott Disney’s theme parks and movies because ABC was airing Ellen, the show in which Ellen DeGeneres came out as lesbian. The Catholic League called for a boycott of Disney when Miramax (a movie studio owned by The Walt Disney Company until 2010) released Dogma, a movie where God is played by Alanis Morissette. Because Disney owned all of these things, people chose to boycott more than just the properties which offended them.

When brands clash

A similar thing happened with the large brand conglomerate Unilever: Dove soap began the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty,” a marketing campaign which focused on non-Photoshopped models and women who were comfortable in their own skin. It was, and is, a beloved campaign for Dove beauty products, but it was cited as hypocritical by some who realized that Unilever also owned the Axe brand—a brand that, according to protesters, objectified women. (Ads for Axe showed airbrushed models unable to resist men who had used the body spray.)

Protesters added that, if Unilever would show gratuitously sexual ads, then the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” is not a true value of the brand or the leadership at Unilever, but a simple marketing ploy.

Key takeaway

Not every conglomerate has to behave like Procter & Gamble, advertising its products together as a group with a single focus. Nor does a company need to be like GE, uniting all of its products under the same brand. But whenever you are interacting with your customers, you are sending a message. Corporate branding is happening whether it’s directed by the company or not.

Magazines have found new life on the web, where old brands have undergone a digital transformation to stay relevant and compete with myriad newcomers both fragile and nimble. A look at the newsstand might make one wonder where all the magazines have gone—but often, a simple Google search reveals the answer.

We love magazines here at Lucidpress, which is one reason why we make it easy to design and share your own. Gorgeous and informational, magazines are an enjoyable way to connect with a lifestyle, hobby or industry—such as brand management, for example. Here’s our roundup of the 8 best free magazines online for brand marketers.

1. Branding Magazine

Best Free Brand Magazines Online

With the tagline “Narrating the discussion,” Branding Magazine covers thought leadership and conversations happening in the branding and marketing industries across the globe. Data and case studies combine to create compelling How-To guides and other advice. Articles are beautifully designed and free to read online.

In this evocative article, design strategist Jonathan Ford speaks with relationship expert Esther Perel about brand desirability and devotion, and why we find ourselves drawn to some brands but not others.


2. Brand Quarterly

Best Free Branding Magazines Online

Brand Quarterly takes a holistic approach to brand management, pulling in relevant stories and data from various sectors of the marketing world. A quick glance at their latest articles reveals insights about multigenerational marketing, inbound strategies, and even personal branding tips.

In this article, author Adam Pierno reminds us that there is more to our brands than logos and messaging; context beyond our control contributes to brand perception as well.


3. Brand Packaging

Best Marketing Magazines Online

Brand Packaging puts a special focus on how brands present their physical products—that is, product packaging. However, it is so much more than that. In this magazine are important discussions about what makes a brand resonate, what keeps it relevant, and why consumers behave the way they do.

In this article, author Ted Mininni examines what makes a brand culturally relevant, and how one brand in particular—Monster Jam—became a unique cultural phenomenon.


4. Onbrand Magazine

Best Brand Management Magazines

With a sharp focus on the outer edges of technology, Onbrand Magazine features contemporary discussions about the future of brand management. From virtual reality to the latest social media development, Onbrand raises questions and offers advice on how to move your brand forward.

In this article, author Rob Coke wonders whether “brand” has become a redundant concept—or worse, conflated with the worst of sleazy advertising techniques. How can brands adjust to show their genuine, honest purpose?


5. UX Magazine

Best Free Magazines Online

Although it’s primarily focused on user experience design, UX Magazine has a robust “Marketing and Brand” section, dedicated to content that lives in that shared Venn diagram space where UX and branding meet. If you aim to be a well-rounded brand manager, it pays to check in here once in a while.

In this article, author David Rhyne examines the who, when and why of visual design—and how good visual design is part of a well-thought out product and an effective brand.


6. Transform Magazine

Best Free Rebranding Magazines Online

Calling itself the only global magazine dedicated to rebranding and brand development, Transform Magazine puts the spotlight on an area of branding that is often overlooked. Successful brands evolve and change with the times, and you can learn important lessons by hearing their stories.

In this opinion article, CEO Simon Massey of the Gild takes a look at nostalgia in the digital age, and how brands can build a bridge between the digital and the physical.


7. Harvard Business Review

Best Business Magazines Online

Just because you’ve graduated college doesn’t mean you should leave this gem behind. Harvard Business Review has an impeccable reputation for providing practical case studies and actionable advice. Check out the Branding section—you can read 4 articles for free each month, or register to read 4 more.

In this long-form article, brand expert Douglas Holt dives into the success and failure of brands on social media, and how a concept called “crowdculture” changes the rules of branding online.


8. Chief Content Officer

Best Content Marketing Magazines Online

This magazine published by the Content Marketing Institute is uniquely focused on content marketing, a relatively new industry which grew out of SEO. Content is vital to brand messaging, making this publication a valuable read for brand managers.

In this article, CCO editor Clare McDermott takes us behind the scenes at Autodesk, a 3D design & engineering company that took content marketing to heart and launched a highly successful content program which bolstered its brand.


What do you think? Will you be adding any of these to your must-read list, and are there important titles we’ve missed? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.

Your brand is your promise, and it’s important that you build it thoughtfully and deliberately. A brand has never been successfully established by simply uploading a good-looking logo and writing a few lines on social platforms. To create a real identity, brands have to invest a lot of time and effort. There’s research to be done, competitors to be identified, and expert professionals to be consulted. Every business should learn what branding is and why it’s needed. Whether you’re starting a new business or have already established one, mistakes are unavoidable. However, here are 7 mistakes brands make that you’d be wise to avoid.

Brand management is evolving rapidly. Are you prepared? Learn more in our free eBook.

1. Failure to research the competition

This is especially important if you are a new business. Researching the competition helps you understand what established businesses in your industry have done: where they have failed, where they have succeeded and where you can give your brand an advantage. Your research should include products, services, target audiences, websites and social platforms. If you don’t, this could trip you up in two ways: first, being unable to judge the competition properly and second, replicating a competitor’s strategies without truly understanding them.

2. Failure to understand your target audience

Before you start selling or even pitching, you’ve got to understand what kind of audience you’re speaking to. You should understand their demands, their expectations, the things they identify with and the kinds of brands they favor. Once you do find your target audience, branding and messaging will get a lot easier.

3. Taking feedback from the wrong sources

Depending on the type of product or service you’re looking to sell and the market you want to cover, you’ll need to take feedback from the right sources. Limiting your sources to positive reviews won’t help you set or measure appropriate goals. Friends, family members, employees and relatives might give you positive reviews no matter what, so think before accepting reviews from them. For any modern brand, the best platform for reviews includes both social media and review sites.

4. It’s not just about logo redesign

As already stated, branding’s not just about a logo or a tagline. Branding constitutes everything that you represent—even your company’s voice and the style of content you create. You will find an audience when you have a competitive advantage and a distinct style. Without that, there’s no value!

Some companies rebrand and spend thousands of dollars on logo redesign but not enough on other brand assets. For example, an online fashion brand can’t boost sales by just changing its logo design. To build a profitable e-commerce brand, it should focus on its customer care team, product quality, advertising (both online and offline), competitive pricing, and many other factors.

Yahoo logo redesign

Here’s a real-world example. When Marissa Mayer became Yahoo’s CEO, she decided to change the logo of the company. It made for big hype among the users, marketers, bloggers and everyone else. But when Yahoo finally unveiled its new logo, all expectations were crushed. It wasn’t terrible… but it wasn’t exciting, either. It turned out to be just a minor change that didn’t bring any significant growth to the Yahoo brand.

5. Inconsistency

Brand consistency has a tremendous impact on your business. Consistency helps build familiarity, loyalty and eventually, credibility. Be consistent with your promotions, personality, communication and every other interaction you make with your audience.

Coca-Cola logo redesigns

For example, Coca-Cola might just be the most consistent brand in history. Its logo has hardly changed in 130 years. Everyone recognizes its fun-in-the-sun summer campaigns and heartwarming Christmas campaigns. The brand has built such loyalty that no other soda can beat it—even when Pepsi famously won blind taste tests with consumers. Now in the digital age, Coca-Cola has built a huge audience of followers on social media, so it’s quite easy to reach its target audience wherever they may be.

6. Not focusing on first impressions

A brand with clunky design is a brand that will go unnoticed. You could have an amazing product, great messaging and outstanding customer service, but without a visually appealing presentation, people may never pay attention.

Some larger companies that gained popularity before the internet still get away with bad design, but any brand created after the mid-2000s should know better. A modern, user-friendly design will build your brand’s credibility and bolster its overall appeal.

The fix: You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so if your brand’s design or website needs a facelift, make it a priority. There are plenty of business resources out there to help direct your efforts, as well as tools like Lucidpress that can make visual design easy and effective.

Poor customer service

Whether you realize it or not, poor customer service can be a huge detriment to your brand. People are more likely to talk about their experience with a product if the experience was negative, which is why the customer experience should be your brand’s No. 1 priority.

United Airlines had a rocky time for customer service last year, for instance, as a video of a passenger being dragged off a flight went viral in April 2017. Adding insult to injury, the CEO’s delayed response felt cold and unapologetic. These incidents caused United’s stock to drop drastically and skewed the country’s perception of this brand altogether.

The fix: Apply the tried-and-true saying: “The customer is always right.” You need to meet your users where they are, even if you have to go out of your way to do it. Examples of brands with exceptional customer service include CostcoMarriott and JetBlue. Companies that offer satisfaction guarantees, provide incentives and make up for mishaps build a strong loyal customer base.

Misusing (or not using) social media

Neglecting social media is another way to hurt your brand and diminish customer satisfaction.

A lot of social media fails simply stem from good intentions, like when Cinnabon attempted to honor Carrie Fisher with a tacky image or when Crocs tried to tribute David Bowie—both insensitivity issues that were magnified by their wide social media reach.

Other times, brands simply fail to invest enough time and money into social media efforts at all. Keeping up with various social sites shows consumers that you care about them, especially when you’re able to reply to questions and complaints promptly.

The fix: Devote actual time and resources to building a social media strategy. If you’re looking for a brand to follow, Wendy’s is a great example of social media use. With almost 2.5 million followers on Twitter, more than 8.5 million likes on Facebook and over 700,000 followers on Instagram, the brand has a consistent image, posts often and interacts with its fan base. The company’s social media team also keeps up with current events and pop culture—a great way to engage with followers.

7. Not having a Plan B

There are many businesses that think a brand is something you establish and then it takes care of itself. Today, that’s completely untrue. You should constantly refine and revise your offerings to deliver better quality and adapt to the changing needs of the market. Not all branding strategies will work the first time. In those instances, you need to be ready with a second plan to ensure that recovery is immediate.

One of the most visible examples of a brand refusing to adapt to change is Blockbuster. In 2000, Netflix’s founder approached Blockbuster offering to sell his relatively small company that rented movies online through a mail subscription service. As the popular movie store was making most of its revenue through late fees, Blockbuster turned Netflix down, unable to see the potential.

Today, Netflix continues to be a model for adapting to change as it has transitioned from mail-order DVDs to streaming, and the brand now produces hundreds of original shows and movies. Meanwhile, Blockbuster is survived by just a handful of stores in Alaska.

The fix: Listen to your consumer base. When they push for greater convenience or more options, adjust your strategy to give them what they’re asking for. If you don’t, another brand surely will. [ ]

 8. Insensitivity

Insensitivity in branding is a major issue. Companies make headlines all the time for creating well-meaning ads that turn into PR nightmares. Take the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial debacle of 2017. Rather than striking a chord of solidarity, it left viewers either laughing at the poor execution or feeling angry at the commodification of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Another prime example of insensitivity is the Filet-o-Fish ad from McDonald’s in the U.K. The spot featured a boy asking his mom about his deceased father, only to find out the one thing they had in common was their affinity for McDonald’s. Using such a grave subject to sell fish sandwiches felt emotionally manipulative to many consumers, and the company took down the ad shortly after the backlash.

The fix: Before delving into any controversial or sensitive topics, consider how your brand fits into the issue. An honest attempt at sparking emotion in viewers can quickly turn into exploitation. Learn where to draw the line.

9. Selling the “what” instead of the “why”

A common mistake in branding is selling your company’s features rather than a big idea. As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”

Sinek references TiVo as an example of a company that led with its features—being able to pause and rewind live TV—and failed to really capture its users’ attention.

On the other hand, Apple is one of the most successful brands because the company sold a big idea by telling the world to “think different” about computers. It sold a mindset and lifestyle instead of some technical specifications.

The fix: Find something you believe in, focus on that value, and build your brand around it. Coke sells happiness in a bottle. Nike sells motivation. Rather than focusing on dry, explanatory messaging, your brand should have a nearly tangible energy.

Managing a brand is not an easy thing. But you must always understand that your business is more than just its products and services. Success depends on the way you shape the experience of your customers. This is what defines your brand identity. Once you’ve established trust in your brand, you’ll never want to look back.

Building a brand is easy to do. Building a strong, sucessful brand that stands the test of time, people, and competitors? Now that’s a different story. Here is an 8-step guide to building a brand development strategy.

Your brand comprises essential elements like positioning, personality, logo design, color scheme, tagline, etc.

All components are crucial to thoughtfully building your brand to stand against competitors and win.

It can feel overwhelming but before you start to panic about the sustainability of your small business and your brand equity, keep in mind that developing a lasting brand strategy is within reach, you just have to know the right formula. Read on to learn how to develop a strong brand strategy

Brand building is the process of shaping customers’ emotions, feelings, memories, and opinions associated with your brand through a strategy-driven plan that stands the test of time and people.

Brand Development Process and Strategies:

Step 1: Establish what your brand represents, at its core.

Create a list of your business’s core strengths. Why was the business started to begin with? What problem did the founder (you?) set out to solve?

One great way to succinctly summarize your brand’s purpose is to create a mission statement. Airbnb for example does a great job of providing a mission statement that clearly defines values, benefits, and quality all at once.

Image Credit: Airbnb

Your mission statement doesn’t even have to be displayed to the public for it to be impactful. Using one as an internal guiding light can still provide the vision and inspiration your employees need to know exactly what the company stands for and how their work should reflect that on a daily basis.

Step 2: Keep your brand distinct from its competitors.

Is it possible to sell the exact same product as competitors but still differentiate somehow? Yes. And companies do it all the time.

android vs apple
Photo Credit: TechCrunch

In the endless Apple vs. Android wars, the brands continue to differentiate themselves through strong branding, campaign messaging, and product offerings. You know them and you are likely very familiar with the ongoing competition.

The secret to competitive marketing is in your brand. It’s not just your product; it’s how you position your brand personality compared to everyone else. 

Take a deep look at the competitive field, find out how others are marketing their successful brands, then throw it all out the window and get creative.

Step 3: Determine your target audience.

As good as your intentions may be, your business simply can’t be everything to everyone.

Don’t be afraid to get specific and think about exactly the kind of person that would most benefit from your product or service. The more specific, the easier it is to target them with messaging that resonates.

It may be tempting to skip this part of the process (or to continue ignoring it if your business already seems to be doing well), but brand building is about building for the long term, and the more generic your targeting is… the more generic your brand becomes down the road.

Step 4: Create an elevator pitch.

At Marq, we have messaging that answers what we are, what we do, and the problems we solve for.

Here is an example:

For marketing and brand leaders who need to drive business growth, Marq is the brand-templating platform that enables businesses to deliver relevant content to their audience faster, by empowering everyone in the organization to build on-brand content.
Unlike desktop publishing software or design tools built for individuals, Marq is built for enterprise readiness with lockable brand templates, creative automation, and highly customizable team management.
Marq Messaging

The value in having a well-thought-out statement that everyone can access, which quickly explains exactly what we do, enables everyone to clearly understand our brand positioning.

Step 5: Build out your brand.

Now that you’ve determined the foundation of your brand and what it stands for, it’s time to put everything into action. That means creating a style guide, determining your brand personality, formulating your brand’s strategy, and making sure everyone is on the same page. 

Food for thought: Broadway productions don’t tell great stories by simply creating ravishing brochures, and businesses don’t tell great stories by simply designing clever logos.

Your brand is the feeling your ads evoke, the kind of people you hire, the friendliness of your support team, your brand’s voice, your brand’s visuals, your business’s values… your brand is everything your business produces and represents. Make this step of the brand building process priority from the beginning and your brand will have the life and depth it needs to strengthen your business’s image.

Step 6: Promote away.

This is the fun part. We all know what promotion means, but the right promotion can mean different things for different businesses. So whether it’s social media, radio ads, magazine covers, YouTube videos, billboards, PPC, content marketing, or guerrilla marketing — figure out where your target market already is and then go to them. A whole article could be dedicated to this subject, but for now just make note that this step is important for raising brand awareness, and you should dedicate a lot of time to it.

Step 7: Personalize, personalize, personalize.

As much as you can, at least. It’s 2023 and consumers expect their products and businesses to get smarter about how they speak to them. That means understanding your target audience’s pain points, getting on social media, using their first name in emails, etc. are examples of content personalization. Robotic language, over-enthusiasm, and baby talking are looked down on and feel inauthentic. So get real, and find out the tone of voice your customers most appreciate.

Step 8: Consistency is key.

You can build a brand for the books, but it’s not going to last long if you don’t figure out a way to guarantee it stays consistent. What happens when Sandra from Sales stretches your logo? Or Evan from Events changes the color scheme on a branded flyer to orange and pink? 

Zillions (to be exact) of brand managers face these harrowing situations every day and watch their strategically-built brands fall apart in the hands of well-intentioned employees.

One of the best ways to protect your brand from rogue content and inconsistencies is with web-based lockable templates. That way, beautiful branded content can start with your graphic designers and still look just as beautifully on-brand by the time it reaches your customers.

brand building strategy templates

Your graphic designers can lock down the elements of your brand that should never be changed (logo, fonts, images, etc.) before sending the template off to other employees in the company to put to use. Pretty enticing, right? Saying goodbye to brand inconsistencies forever is one massive sigh of relief for brand managers, and anyone who cares about properly building your brand equity, for that matter.

If brand consistency is something your business could stand to improve as part of your brand management strategy, consider trying Marq. With Marq, you can import your business-branded templates (or create them directly in Marq), and share them across teams. Lockdown critical brand elements and no longer worry about content being produced that is off-brand.

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Schedule a 1:1 with one of our brand-templating experts. Say goodbye to rogue content and hello to brand consistency.

The internet has made brand management much more involved now that there are so many digital channels for customers to communicate through.

Customers now have the ability to voice their opinions—and they really want to be heard. In essence, brand management is about managing those conversations while nurturing a positive perception at the same time.

Consider this: 93% of customers read online reviews regularly, and nearly 80% of those customers are actually influenced by this online research.

Your online presence is a powerful weapon for your brand. Are you wielding it responsibly? Here are 4 tips for managing an online brand effectively.

1. Actively monitor your brand

You can’t participate in conversations that you don’t know are happening. It’s important to actively monitor what’s being said about you online, along with metrics that provide a broad overview of how your brand is doing.

Luckily, there are a lot of tools out there that will alert you when your brand is mentioned.

From setting up classic Google Alerts to more in-depth tools like BuzzSumo’s brand monitoring feature, there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re part of the conversation.

Additionally, keep a close eye on the first page of Google results when you type in your brand name.

The other critical piece of active monitoring is that you actually respond when your brand is mentioned, especially when it comes to negative criticism. Respond quickly and honestly, keeping in mind that it’s just as important to be authentically human as it is to maintain brand voice.

Keep track of your online analytics, both for your website and your social media pages. Together, this will give you fuller insight into how your content is performing and whether it’s truly resonating with your audience. Traffic, time on page, and bounce rate are all good indicators to keep an eye on. Be on the watch for any negative fluctuations or downward trends.

2. Continuously encourage customers to write reviews

As we know, customer reviews are hugely influential in shoppers’ buying decisions and for your brand overall. Remember, nearly 85% of people trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Let your customers become your brand ambassadors by continuously seeking out more customer reviews.

Some brands—especially startups—are hesitant about asking for customer reviews because they’re afraid of criticism that could hurt their growth in its early stages.

By and large, if you offer a solid product or service and provide great customer service, negative reviews won’t be the norm. But, when you are met with negative feedback, do your best to welcome it. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, negative feedback can be the most valuable feedback you get—if you let it. It provides insight into areas of your business that need improvement. Again, responding quickly and honestly can do a lot to sway a customer back into your good graces.

Overall, the more reviews you have, the better. Unfortunately, 77% of customers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant. Gathering reviews has to be a continuous process on your part.

Don’t hesitate to ask customers for reviews; most will be happy to provide one when asked. But, you must be proactive and ask. One great way to do this is to set up an automated system that periodically emails your customers to ask for a review—for example, after they’ve made a purchase. This is a great way to earn reviews and increase positive perceptions of your brand.

3. Always address customer concerns on social media

A surprising number of businesses don’t address customer complaints on social media and elsewhere. This is a potentially deadly mistake, not only when it comes to addressing that individual customer but many potential customers who are watching these interactions online.

The risk of ignoring that customer? There’s a 27% chance they may never do business with you again.

The same survey linked above found that 88% of customers would be less likely to buy from a company who has unanswered complaints on social media.

Silence can be deadly for your brand, so respond quickly.

4. Brand consistency is key, even online

Your website and social media profiles are extensions of your brand—for some, they may represent the entire business. The importance of brand consistency transcends the physical world and extends to your online presence.

The brand is often a company’s biggest asset, and a lack of consistency will make your brand less memorable and less trustworthy.

Keep everyone on the same page with clear guidelines regarding design elements, fonts, colors, logos and so on, and make it easy to maintain brand compliance. Don’t forget, your brand is also communicated in the content your employees create. So, whether it’s through a brand style guide or through branded templates, empower everyone on your team to maintain consistency.

Your employees can be very powerful brand ambassadors, but they must have the support, tools and know-how to do it.

Key takeaway

Customer voices are becoming louder. This is a good thing.

At the same time, it’s vital for brands to manage their online presences effectively. Ignoring complaints or participating poorly in conversations is not a sustainable strategy. You must be a strong, active advocate for your brand—and give your customers and employees the power to become brand advocates as well.

Sometimes, change is a good thing.

A fresh lick of paint can revive a dull living room, a new haircut can boost self-esteem, and a rejuvenated image can bring life back to an outdated brand.

The catch is that, unlike changing your hairstyle, a brand refresh isn’t something to do on a whim because you’re bored or haven’t had a chance to play with your design software in a while. Without a solid strategy, your renovation could turn into a DIY disaster.

When you’re considering a brand refresh, start by asking a few honest questions:

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why a brand refresh might be the right choice for your company today.

Is my brand outdated? Separating the dynamite from the dinosaurs

Perhaps the most obvious reason to refresh a brand is that its image has simply outgrown its effectiveness. IBM is a great example of a brand that’s successfully evolved its image to match the changing nature of its product portfolio. By adapting its visual identity and voice throughout the decades, IBM has shown it can stand up against modern competitors.

IBM brand refresh

This IBM logo offers a look back at the brand’s history

IBM rebrand

A selection of icons designed for IBM’s centennial

Many enterprises struggle to make changes because an old brand can gradually start to feel like an old pair of shoes-sturdy and comfortable. Unfortunately, you will need to make changes eventually if you want to be seen as an authority in your space, rather than a relic. Here are a few ways to check whether your brand is becoming outdated:

Microsoft brand refresh

A timeline of Microsoft’s evolving logo design

Refreshing vs. rebranding

It’s easy to confuse a rebrand with a brand refresh, but ultimately, they serve two different purposes. A company rebrand is an extensive endeavor that involves completely removing the basic structure of the brand and starting over. A company typically only pursues this strategy if the current brand identity is confusing, contradictory or misrepresents the core of the company’s mission. A brand refresh, however, involves updating and building upon the brand structure that is already known and loved. Rather than a complete overhaul, it involves an update to visual elements, tweaks to messaging or changes to other differentiators.

5 practical reasons to refresh your brand

A brand is more than just a name and a logo. It’s also your company’s reputation, identity, and public perception. In many cases, companies recognize the need for change but want to preserve the brand’s positive aspects. With that thought in mind, here are 5 reasons you might consider updating the brand rather than undergoing a full rebrand.

1. You aren’t getting enough attention

A great brand doesn’t just generate an image for your company; it gives your customers a reason to sit up and take notice. There are plenty of ways to tell whether your audience has moved on from your message, and the first is that you’ve seen a steady decline in sales.

If people are just as happy with your products as they’ve always been, but you’re not gaining ground in the market, this could be a sign that your brand has lost its selling potential.

Remember, refreshing your brand doesn’t involve turning your identity upside down. Instead, it can be something as simple as redesigning your logo, unrolling a new slogan, or switching to a new color palette. It’s giving your audience something new to chew on while sticking to your brand’s core values. [Tweet this]

The power is completely in your hands.

2. You don’t stand out from the competition any more

Making an impact is hard in today’s saturated online marketplace—and copycats are running wild. Even if you have a great product or service, it won’t be enough if customers can’t distinguish your brand from the other players in your niche. You’ve got to stay ahead of the pack.

If your brand image is starting to feel like a copy-paste job, then you’re going to need new and unique ways to recapture your audience’s interest.

This can be a complex process because it means getting to the bottom of what your company stands for, what it can do today, and how it outshines your competitors. If you can find a way to differentiate yourself, you’ll find it much easier to drive brand awareness and loyalty.

3. Your company has changed

A founder’s initial vision and the company that grows out of it aren’t always one and the same. Sometimes, a brand is born with a particular product in mind—like Starbucks and its signature coffee. Then, as the business continues to grow, it’ll develop new products to better serve its audience.

Over the years, Starbucks has updated its product list to include everything from sandwiches to iced tea. These changes meant that the company had to reimagine the brand’s image based on what they could offer customers in a new marketplace.

As the business evolves, keep an eye on your brand and take note of any constraints that might make it difficult to branch out into new areas.

Starbucks brand refresh

Starbucks has evolved to serve much more than coffee

4. Your message is inconsistent

For most companies, building a brand is about refining ideas and values into a voice and image that they can project to the world. As you can imagine, this is a complicated process that even the best of intentions can belie.

A brand refresh can help to realign your company’s values when they start to lose their way. After all, we know how valuable brand consistency is—not just to your customers’ experience, but also to your bottom line. If you want your brand to become a trusted name, then you’ve got to deliver the same, familiar experience whenever customers interact with you.

5. You want to attract new customers

When a brand is just getting started, it’s often easier to target a small, niche audience. However, as the brand grows, it’ll find opportunities to expand into different areas that offer new sources of revenue.

Sometimes, tapping into a new share of the market requires changing your voice or image so it’s more likely to appeal to a wider range of customers. A brand refresh can help you reimagine what the future looks like for the company.

Apple brand refresh

Apple excels at making its brand & products feel fresh. Remember these?

Is it time to refresh your brand?

Ultimately, the decision to refresh your brand can be a difficult one, but it’s worth thinking about when your current image isn’t delivering the results you need.

In severe cases, you might discover that the best way to bring your company back to life is a complete rebrand, where you go back to the drawing board and start fresh. While a rebrand is a more dramatic approach, a refresh allows companies to make tweaks over time that help their brand evolve with the market.

Considering a brand overhaul? Grab a free guide to conducting a rebrand

Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Your brand identity is the essence of your brand. It’s who you are, what you do, and how people describe your brand, based on the way you make them feel.

The problem is, people don’t always trust brands. They inherently don’t believe the identity you’re selling them is who you really are. That’s why you need to reach out to relevant influencers to validate the brand identity you’ve built.

Influencers reflect your brand identity

Just as you use a consistent voice and imagery across your content, the way influencers talk about your brand should sound like they are talking about the same person.

If multiple friends shared posts about a single friend online, you’d be able to tell who that person is. Likewise, when multiple influencers share posts about your brand, your brand identity should be clear.

When a person zooms out and views your various influencers as a group, the picture should make sense. Maybe they are all in the same age group, from the same city, or share a similar interest.

The most basic influencer marketing program would have a Venn diagram with one thing in the middle that all the influencers share. However, as your influencer marketing program grows and matures, you can envision several chains of interconnected circles that all tie together.

Lululemon’s ambassador program includes a diverse group of individuals from foodies to snowboarders to dance instructors, but they all share one thing in common: a life devoted to being fit.

How to build brand identity with influencer marketing

Work with the right influencers

You know the saying, “You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep”? The same goes for brands. None of your influencer choices should seem jarring to someone who heard about you from another influencer.

That’s why it’s critical to do your research up front. This keeps you from running into problems of discrepancy; if you sell business software, it will come off as insincere—or worse, desperate—if you have a fashion blogger chatting you up. Your influencer’s personality and niche should match, or at least mesh with your brand, as someone you would associate with.

If your brand was a person, would they run in the same social circles as your influencer? Even if they might not do everything together, it makes sense for a fitness vlogger to promote a pet-sitting service if they regularly travel to weightlifting competitions.

Align your brand with specific types of influencers

If your brand is suffering from a case of poor brand identity, one way to fix that is strategically partnering with a targeted set of influencers. Of course, these influencers should overlap with your customer audience, and their values should jibe with your brand’s. But, a focused campaign can help your brand become known as “that one all the [fill-in-the-blank] bloggers love.”

This is a good strategy for breaking into a new niche or vertical. If your product is extremely specific, this strategy can work wonders. Your association with a niche set of influencers will quickly spread your name among potential customers and solidify your legitimacy within the community.

Take Royal Caribbean for example. Cruises have traditionally been viewed as a travel option for the over-50 age set. The cruise line wanted to attract more millennials, so they partnered with Periscoping travel bloggers via an influencer livestream campaign.

How to boost brand identity with influencer marketing

Give influencers what they need

The better that influencers understand your goals, as well as the ins and outs of your service, the better they can promote you. Give them what they need to understand your product. Then, they can create promotional content that feels authentic, rather than a one-size-fits-all sales pitch slapped on a pretty picture. You can guess which one is more effective.

Use influencers to make your brand real. Ask them to highlight how your free sample felt personalized to their needs or was delivered in a special way. Suggest that they talk about how your product solved a specific problem for them, or request that they mention an employee they spoke with at a store or over the phone.

Just as the laughs you share with a new friend help your relationship blossom, these little details are what shape a consumer’s relationship with your brand.

Key takeaway

The great thing about brand identity is that the more people talk about it, the stronger it becomes. [Tweet this] And when those people are influencers, it becomes stronger even faster. If you have a solid brand identity, it might be time to find influencers who can help you drive awareness and adoption.

Brand management is one of the most important parts of marketing. It can take a long time and a lot of work to create a brand image that people like and trust, but in an instant, all that work can be completely undone. There are certain situations businesses have to deal with that, if not handled properly, can severely damage the brand’s image. Here are a few common situations and how you should respond.

Problem #1: Having poor customer support

If you look up any public polls or surveys that list companies with the worst ratings, one of the biggest reasons is due to poor customer support. If someone calls you with a problem they’re having with your brand’s products or service, you will make a bad situation worse by making it difficult for them to get help from you. [Tweet this]

Bad support is a good way of burning a bridge not just with that customer, but with their friends and family, too. After that, there’s more damage to worry about if they vocalize their discontent on social media.

To respond to this situation, you need to overhaul and clean up every line of communication between you and your customers:

The longer customers wait to get the help they want, the more annoyed they’ll be. They should be able to contact you quickly and easily. Most importantly, they should receive a useful response that resolves their problem. Auto-response emails and phone messages are simply not good enough in situations where your real customers are involved.

Problem #2: Failing to live up to your brand image

If you build your brand image around certain promises or guarantees for your customers, you had darn well better deliver on those promises and guarantees every single time. If you say you have the cheapest products, you’d better have the cheapest products. If you offer the quickest service, your service had better be very quick. If you have a satisfaction, money-back guarantee, then you need to take your customers’ dissatisfaction seriously and mitigate their concerns or issue a refund. Nothing can ruin a brand’s image like being inconsistent in living up to its own standards and promises.

If your company’s brand is starting to take a hit due to this, you need to take immediate steps. Get all hands on deck and start generating as much positive brand awareness as you can. The best way to do this is by delivering on the promises you make.

In the short term, that means doing what you can to raise your brand’s reputation, and in the long term, it might be shifting your brand’s image to something more realistic. For instance, if your business is not able to offer the cheapest products, change your marketing to start offering the friendliest service instead.

Problem #3: Getting negative attention from an employee

It is an unfortunate reality that how your employees behave, even when they’re off the clock, can reflect back on your brand. If they’re caught on the news, in a newspaper, or online behaving in an unethical manner—or even just in poor taste—your brand can get negative publicity from it. That’s why so many businesses include clauses in the employment contract regarding “off-duty conduct.”

From a brand image perspective, what should you do in this situation? First, be open and transparent to the public so they don’t think you’re covering anything up. Apologize to anyone affected by your employee’s actions, both publicly and in private. Second, look into how you are legally allowed to handle the employee based on that specific situation.

Finally, you need to be seen responding against the negative behavior in question. For example, if the employee went on a racist rant online, you can donate or form a partnership with an anti-racism organization and/or hold special seminars and training to improve tolerance in your company.

Problem #4: Offering a poor website experience

In today’s world, you cannot afford to have a bad website. The design can’t look old and dated; the navigation can’t be poorly structured so customers can’t find what they’re looking for; and the functionality can’t be compromised so they’re unable to perform important actions, such as completing a lead form on your site, completing an online purchase, or simply entering the buying cycle.

Even if your business is running smoothly otherwise, having a bad website that creates a poor user experience can really hurt your brand’s image. It can set a bad first impression if your users’ first interaction with your business is through a dysfunctional website.

The first thing you need to do is fix your website, of course. Upgrade the design or fix your theme and template, rearrange the navigation (site architecture) so it makes sense for your end-user, and fix any bugs or broken pages so that your visitors don’t get any site errors telling them your website pages cannot be found (404).

The next thing is investing in search engine optimization (SEO), then promoting the heck out of it. Create special promotions for the re-launch, start digital paid ad campaigns intended to drive new traffic to the new website, and retarget traffic from your old site back to the new site so they can see the difference.

Problem #5: Receiving a bad customer review

All of the above situations often lead to a customer leaving a bad review for your business online—on Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, and other websites where customers review businesses. The worst thing you can do is ignore a bad review.

If reviews pile up and you don’t respond properly, your customers will assume you don’t care about them or their business, causing other people who look up your reviews to form a bad impression of your brand.

Make sure your business has an account on every major review website that your business gets reviewed on, and monitor them regularly.

When you see a bad review, take the information in the review and find out what happened before responding to it. Sometimes, the customer could be lying or omitting the truth, and you can point that out to tell your side of the story. Other times, your business legitimately failed the customer, but you can respond in a way that offers an apology and makes the situation right for them.

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Download our free ebook on how to build a brand in 2020.

Perception determines reality with branding. The impression you make with customers and potential customers ultimately influences the overall strength of your brand. That’s why even simple mistakes with brand consistency can create costly headaches.

Branding mistakes aren’t simply a concern affecting novice entrepreneurs taking their first steps into the marketplace. Businesses of all shapes and sizes can take missteps with their branding and lack a consistent voice or direction in their products and services.

Large companies can be especially vulnerable to the impact of brand inconsistency. It can lead to lost revenue and diminished customer loyalty. Those companies will end up yielding ground to more savvy competitors and often struggle to create a positive image and voice for their brand.

Here are 7 common brand consistency mistakes that large companies typically make. The good news is many of these mistakes are fixable or can be avoided.

1. Slow content creation

It’s no coincidence that new content seems to pop up on websites and social media channels at the speed of light. The digital age has revolutionized how we acquire information and put it right at our fingertips. Taking a slow and steady approach may win the race for the tortoise, but it doesn’t work with content creation.

If your brand is locked down to the point that it stifles new content creation, corporate marketing will turn into a bottleneck. Your brand will acquire a perception of being outdated and irrelevant within your industry. Timely and relevant content creation, on the other hand, will help put your company forward as a subject-matter expert and establishes it as a voice that customers can trust.

2. Wasted designer time

Do your designers work overtime making mundane updates to existing content, like a brochure or flyer? If that’s the case, they’re not properly utilizing their talents — and it could be limiting your company’s reach and costing you on the bottom line.

Burdening designers with too many small tasks causes the focus to slip from the bigger picture. Free them up to work on projects that incorporate their creative talents. Those creative juices flow when a designer isn’t handcuffed to simply doing brand housekeeping. Their minds are less cluttered and have room for dynamic ideas to emerge.

3. Off-brand content

Going rogue works when it comes to stealing Death Star plans. It doesn’t work with creating content. [Tweet this] Brand guidelines need to be in place for a reason. If a department is creating rogue content that doesn’t follow established brand guidelines, it can spell disaster for your company in a hurry.

Establish your brand identity and create a branding guide that adheres to that vision. Educate individual employees and managers across all departments on these guidelines, so they understand how to communicate with your target audience without going off the rails. Permitting individuals or entire departments to tweak your brand to fit their whims will undermine the brand’s integrity. Offer them plenty of resources to help them keep content on target with your brand’s voice.

4. Outdated brand assets

Few things are more embarrassing than taking the time to update your company’s logo, slogan or other key brand assets… only to see the old assets show up in your company’s messaging. That’s the risk of not keeping everyone on the same page. It can make your brand appear indecisive, outdated or out of touch.

Each department and employee should have a working knowledge of which brand assets and templates are in current use. Store these things in a central, online place and make them easily accessible for all of your brand marketing efforts. Each brand asset should be reviewed periodically to ensure it remains uniform with the core brand messaging.

5. No brand champion

Creating a consistent brand voice starts at the top. Your CMO is like the pace car leading the rest of the pack to the starting line. It falls on their shoulders to be a brand champion. Without their voice leading the way, employees will not understand the importance of strong branding and your brand will end up veering off course.

An effective brand champion at the top can steer your marketing efforts in the right direction. They set the tone for what works and what doesn’t by establishing a core vision and identity. This makes it easier to identify a natural target audience then build branding efforts around appealing to that group.

6. Branding is over-complicated

Flashier isn’t always better. Some of the most iconic brand logos, like McDonald’s or Fed-Ex, are memorable because they use a simple and clean look that’s easily identifiable. Throwing more bells and whistles into the mix isn’t going to make you stand out from the crowd. If it does draw extra attention, it could be for the wrong reasons.

Avoid tossing in complicated graphics and color schemes that distract from your core message. Don’t clutter your brand. Keep it simple by using simple colors and symbols. This will give your brand a chance to communicate quality and authenticity and increase the possibility that it can stick with a person long after they are introduced to it. Using branded templates can make this an easier task to check off your company’s to-do list.

7. Not understanding your audience

Your brand will only stand out when it offers something fresh and unique. If your target audience can’t tell you apart from competitors in a meaningful way, what incentive do they have to embrace your brand, products or services? Failing to understand what makes them tick or what they want can lead to your brand’s death knell.

Make your brand timeless by building to your brand strengths. Avoid being too trendy. Embrace market research and communicate regularly with customers and potential customers alike. Resist the temptation to put your brand everywhere, and instead, focus on being sincere with what your brand does and how it can positively impact the lives of your target audience.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

At one point in time, a recognizable brand was all that was needed for a business to thrive. But now, that brand must be accompanied by trust because modern consumers are different than they were several decades ago. Today, there’s the internet and consumers can easily conduct research on a brand before they make a purchase.

In fact, they often do. Some stats suggest that 61% of consumers read reviews before they complete a purchase. They look for a reason to trust your brand before investing their hard-earned money in your product or service.

62% of Americans actually believe corruption is widespread in corporate America, so it’s safe to say that trust in corporations and big brands is lacking. Companies need to be careful so that they earn a trusted reputation. But there are also great opportunities to amplify what consumers are saying online to build trust for your brand.

Here’s some ways you can build brand trust online.

Provide valuable content

As the saying goes: content is king. Quality content can do a lot for a company, whether it’s on your website, blog or social media. It sets you up as an authoritative voice and, hopefully, a thought leader.

To write content that will benefit your brand, do some research to see what your competitors are doing. Then, create content that fills in the gaps they’ve left. Make your content more detailed, engaging and better in any way you can. This will prove you are the authority in the industry.

Keep in mind the 80/20 rule for your content creation: 80% of your content should be useful and non-promotional while the other 20% can talk about your product. This will engage consumers and prove to them that their wants and needs are a priority for you. Keep this in mind when posting to social media, writing a blog post or creating a video.

By providing reliable and insightful content, rather than a sales pitch, you’ll nurture a sense of trust in your brand.

Dove’s viral campaign “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” is an excellent example of this concept. Most of the video is about how women perceive themselves. The ad doesn’t mention Dove products, it simply finishes with the brand’s logo as a reminder of the company behind the message.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches


IKEA is another example of a company creating useful content. The authentic Swedish brand added to its trusted reputation with its “Make Small Spaces Big” campaign, which provided tips and creative ideas to make better use of small spaces… information that is both valuable and relevant to its audience.

IKEA Make Small Spaces Big

Engage customers in two-way communication

Consumers today like to be engaged and have relationships with brands. If you can do this, you’ll build trust. Social media is a way for modern companies to respond personally to individual consumers, and by doing so, these companies contribute to their own mouth-to-mouth marketing. One consumer impressed by a company’s communication can quickly go viral and generate positive press coverage.

Building brand trust online
How to build brand trust online

Source: Twitter

To engage customers successfully, you need to interact with them on a regular basis. You must have a solid, active presence on social media. You need to monitor your pages for comments, questions or complaints and respond personally and appropriately. Be responsive and start conversations, and you’ll be able to build a positive relationship with consumers.

The IT networking company Cisco understands the importance of online engagement and offers its customers various avenues for interaction. In fact, the company claims it saved $200 million annually by moving its engagement efforts online. Cisco blogs, chats via Google+, has a full Facebook support page with more than 800,000 followers, uses LinkedIn and has even won awards for its customer support.

Building this rapport and being within reach of your customers is important to building a reputation as a trusted brand.

Host live video events

Whether you host a Q&A on Facebook Live, a demo on Periscope, or a webinar on your own website, live video events are a great way to build trust online. They require a lot of planning but can be very effective. There’s something about the unedited aspect that really motivates interest. Customers can engage and ask questions while they watch. And as it’s live, they know the answer they’re getting hasn’t been given a stamp of approval by the PR department, so it’s a great way to build trust with fans.

Keep your brand consistent

There’s nothing like going off-message to destroy a brand. From your logo and brand colors, to your tone and personality, you must be consistent in everything you do and say. [Tweet this] A brand playbook can help you maintain the right voice, while brand management tools like Lucidpress can help your documents and content look consistent all the time, no matter how many people are on your marketing team. Consistency is also great for building brand awareness and recognition, as people will come to recognize your brand’s unique style.

Encourage user-generated content

Today, millennials in particular are using social media to discuss brands they like, and this can be important for companies looking to build trust. In one survey, 76% of millennial consumers said that content shared by average people is more trustworthy than what brands share. In another study, 92% of people said they trust the recommendations of other people, even ones they don’t know, over branded content.

User-generated content is a great opportunity for your business to show how real people are enjoying your products and build some serious brand trust.

Make sure to share these endorsements on social—Starbucks is constantly doing this. You can also actively highlight this content on your testimonials page, blog or, like Zappos, create a specific destination for this content.

Ways to build brand trust online

Source: Twitter

Beyond your everyday customers, let other trusted sources advocate for you. You can highlight collaborations with other trusted brands, work with an influencer relevant to your industry, or share media coverage from reputable sources to build trust.

Links are an important asset for any business as they connect your brand with the online world. Whatever link you’re sharing, make sure it leads to a reputable website. Refer to fact-driven sources in your blog posts, industry favorites for your curated content, and always use branded links on social media so followers have an indication of what it is they’re clicking on.

Branded links are made up of a custom domain name and a keyword in the slashtag. By associating your links with your brand, users know it won’t lead to spam or phishing sites and this increased trust can boost click-through rates by up to 39%.

Encourage user reviews

You should encourage your customers to provide reviews of your products or services online. Even a bad review can be used as an opportunity to testify to your company’s transparency and demonstrate your responsiveness and willingness to turn that negative customer experience into a positive one.

By encouraging reviews, your brand will show you care about what your customers think and are confident in the quality of what you’re selling. Often, before committing to a purchase, consumers will check how your company is rated on Facebook, Yelp and other review sites. If they can see at a glance that you’re close to a 5-star rating, they’ll be converted in seconds.

Make sure your brand acts responsibly

According to Forbes, millennials feel strongly about affecting change, and a lot of this is done online. They expect companies to be socially responsible, too, so if your brand is doing its part, make sure you let your audience know. Whether you’re reducing your carbon footprint, taking steps to ensure gender equality, or raising funds for a good cause, share the news online. This will build your image as a noble brand that can be trusted by its customers.

Key takeaway

Providing compelling content, interacting with customers, and maintaining brand consistency is essential to building a brand that people trust.

Today, your brand isn’t simply what you say it is, but rather a reflection of consumer trust in your product or service. You have the ability to develop that trust online and turn it into a powerful marketing tool for your business. It takes work and planning, getting involved and interacting, but it has the potential to cultivate lasting trust that will build brand loyalty and benefit your business into the future.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

Three years ago, Gartner predicted that 30% of our interactions with technology today would happen via conversations with smart machines—and mainstream adoption would be just around the corner.

We can see the evidence of this change all around us, from Siri and Cortana to Alexa and Google Home. And while we haven’t reached mainstream adoption quite yet, marketers shouldn’t wait for the masses to catch up before grappling with the implications of voice search.

In particular, voice search represents a move from the abstract to the physical. Certain aspects of your brand—voice, tone, personality—will soon become real in ways they never have before. Just like mass marketing has shifted into digital marketing, we’re now seeing the dawn of conversational marketing with voice search. Here are five factors that show how voice search will impact your brand.

1. Copy that can be read aloud

As more people turn to smart machines to ask questions, brands should be prepared to respond in kind. Creatives will have to write copy that sounds good when read out loud—often in the form of answering a question. Offer the most important information first (remember the inverted pyramid?), and for goodness sakes, keep it brief and unambiguous.

For example, in an older blog post of ours, we discuss the definition of branding. If someone were to ask “What is branding?” today, our blog post would respond like this:

To begin to understand what a brand is, you must first understand that your brand does not exist in your marketing department, your public relations team, or your CEO’s office…

And as pretty as it looks on the page, no one is going to stick around to listen to that. Instead, our response should get straight to the point. Again, from the post:

A brand is the sum total of all the impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company and your products.

If we wanted to optimize this content for voice search, we could restructure it intelligently by putting the important data first. Then, we have plenty of space for the kind of writing that’s meant to be read rather than spoken aloud.

Finally, keep in mind that voice search is more conversational than traditional search. The queries are longer, and they’re often localized (e.g. “What’s the weather like today?” or “When does The Copper Onion close tonight?”). Your responses should follow suit, mimicking how real people talk (including conversational phrases).

2. New advertising rules

With new advertising mediums come new advertising guidelines. This doesn’t just mean best practices, like we see with paid and organic digital search. We’ll also see big players in voice search (like Google) establishing new rules for brands who want in.

Remember this voice ad from Burger King last year? The commercial was designed to hijack your Google Home device by asking “What is the Whopper burger?” This request prompts devices to begin reading the Wikipedia entry for the Whopper—which, of course, Burger King had edited to their benefit.

The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100 percent beef with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame-seed bun.

Oh, be quiet, already!

Burger King Whopper voice ad

My feelings exactly.

Not only did this violate Wikipedia’s terms because it so clearly sounds like ad copy, it also left open the door to vandalism. People were quick to edit the Wikipedia entry to include phrases like “cancer-causing” and ingredients like “toenail clippings.” Not exactly what the fine folks at Burger King had in mind.

Even when the ad worked as intended, people were annoyed by the tactic—but online trolls had made it so, so much worse. It should come as no surprise that Google shut down the ad 3 hours later, and Burger King pulled it entirely.

Consumers aren’t used to advertising in voice search yet. Take care not to annoy them with lengthy descriptions or aggressive sales pitches—and follow the terms and guidelines of the services you use.

3. What does my brand sound like?

Today, Alexa always sounds like Alexa, but it’s not hard to imagine a future where voice search becomes highly customized. Brands will be able to choose their own vocal characteristics, which opens up a world of questions and considerations.

If your brand was a real person, what would they sound like? How would you determine:

What does my brand sound like?

Source: Pexels

Some of these characteristics even raise ethical considerations—like gender, for example. According to OnBrand’s State of Branding report, 54% of marketers prefer a female voice assistant (while only 17% prefer a male). Nearly all the voice assistants we’re familiar with today default to female voices, which raises the question why.

“The simplest explanation is that people are conditioned to expect women, not men, to be in administrative roles—and that the makers of digital assistants are influenced by these social expectations,” says Adrienne Lafrance in an article for The Atlantic. Power structures influence our technology all the time, and it’s important for brands to consider these traits (and their impact) carefully.

In the mean time, it’s likely that female voices will continue to answer most consumers’ vocal commands. How can masculine brands compensate for this—punch up their language, perhaps?

4. Consistency matters

Voice search does not alter the impact of brand consistency, but it does present new channels to manage. Once you’ve decided what your brand sounds like, it’s important to convey that across all channels and communication. Voice and tone need to remain consistent for the brand to be distinct and recognizable.

After you’ve set the tone and refined your brand voice, go back and make sure it’s reflected everywhere:

Interesting note about chatbots: If your brand already has one, you might be ahead of the game. Because chatbots are designed to be conversational, they can help to inform your strategy for voice search. Look to them for guidance as you explore this brave new world!

5. First-mover advantages

And now, the good news. Because voice search has yet to reach mass adoption, there’s still plenty of time to move into the space before other brands catch up. It’s a rare opportunity to reap first-mover advantages without being one of the big, established brands.

“Given that many people are currently rather disappointed with their voice search interactions, the first brand to create a genuinely standout experience is going to garner a lot of excitement,” says Rob Curran in this article for Campaign. And like we’ve seen with other new mediums like augmented reality, it’s only a matter of time before someone does. Could it be you?

Key takeaway

Equal parts scary and exciting, the adoption of voice search represents enormous opportunity for savvy marketers. With it, you can deliver a digital brand experience that’s more personal and human-like than ever before—and hopefully, one that’s consistent with your brand messaging. Drive the conversation and address these factors now to enjoy the benefits while we head into the next decade.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

Bonus: Voice search infographic

Want to share these insights with your followers? We’ve adapted the main points of this article into a sharable infographic perfect for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Voice search infographic

Protecting your brand—not only how it looks but also how it’s perceived—is essential.

Your brand is everything that makes up how your customers see you, and if you’re not presenting a consistent message across the board, you run the risk of confusing, alienating or even frustrating your customers. On top of that, you’re missing out on the opportunity to establish your brand and grow recognition, authority and trust.

If you’re operating in a multi-location company with staff working in various departments, establishing a process to ensure brand compliance is key.

Where once a central marketing team might have created and controlled all marketing output, we’re now working in a much more democratic and fast-paced world. Branding, content and communications can’t just sit with one team anymore; it’s become a multi-player, multi-platform game that almost everyone in your company is involved in.

So when artistic license, so to speak, is given far and wide, how do you ensure consistency across the board—especially when it comes to multi-location branding?

How to ensure brand compliance

For many companies, frequent barriers to brand compliance include:

Luckily, with a growing list of new approaches to these old problems, the future of your brand looks bright.

Ramp up your brand compliance efforts by employing these two fail-safe strategies.

Create and implement brand compliance guidelines

With the creation of effective and detailed brand compliance guidelines, you’re dramatically improving your company’s chances of consistency.

Our report on the importance of brand consistency revealed that companies are twice as likely to see a consistent presentation of their brand when formal brand guidelines are in place and enforced.

A typical set of brand guidelines will cover:

The goal with your brand guidelines isn’t to limit the creativity of your marketers and designers, but to give them a set of guidelines to work within. There should still be plenty of opportunity for them to come up with new and exciting ideas that comply.

When it comes to enforcing brand guidelines, you’ll do a whole lot better if you can take away the challenges your people face.

As an absolute minimum, make sure the guidelines are easy to follow and centrally stored so that everyone—including partners—can access them without hassle.

The next step is to support all your people (not just your designers) by providing the resources they need to comply. With clear guidelines and easy processes, you’re leaving little room for error.

Create shared resources & customizable content templates

This strategy—known as distributed marketing management—is becoming an increasingly popular option for growing organizations who take brand compliance seriously.

Rather than relying on an overworked design team to churn out request after request (often with a lengthy turnaround time), customizable templates put some of the responsibility back with the individual or local team.

A modern brand management system such as Marq will empower local marketers and salespeople to create their own content and campaigns that still adhere to brand guidelines.

With the introduction of innovative software like Marq, you’ll get the following benefits:

With a system like this in place, you’re giving your people the power to act quickly and take advantage of local opportunities without compromising brand compliance.

Further, by opening this process up to your partners and affiliates, you see even more rewards. When you can give them access to brand guidelines and templates that are locked down, they’ll have more independence when it comes to collaborating and cross-promoting. All without putting extra pressure on your marketing team.

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

Key takeaway

Total brand compliance is achievable, but it takes forward-planning, smart software and well-thought-out processes. To give your brand the best chance of success, create and enforce formal brand guidelines and implement a central system for sharing on-brand resources and customizable templates.

Instead of trying (and failing) to do everything for your people, give them the guidance and tools they need to do things for themselves.

Think of some of the most iconic brands all time. What comes to mind? Nike? Apple? Disney?

Most likely you think about a logo, a slogan, or a general aesthetic that is unique to the brand. Whether sleek, futuristic or full of princesses, you should be able to conjure up some visual.

Why do these brands leave such a strong impression? Because they have been able to craft a consistent, creative message that sticks with you.

Any company will benefit from brand consistency in all touchpoints along the funnel. But before we talk about how they benefit, let’s break down what this really means.

What are the touchpoints?

According to Salesforce, consumers interact with 6 to 8 touchpoints just to get to sales in the funnel. That’s a lot of times to touch one brand before you commit to a conversation. And that’s only the top of the funnel.

As someone is transitioning from an unknown prospect to a customer (and an advocate), these are some of the touchpoints they encounter.

As you put effort into each of these touchpoints, you want your audience to connect the dots. This saves you time, effort and money down the road.

What do we mean by creative consistency?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines consistency as “the quality of achieving a level of performance which does not vary greatly over time.”

In a creative sense, that’s assuring your logos, design elements, messaging, tone and imagery stay the same from one touchpoint to the next.

This is often achieved by first implementing a brand style guide and templates across teams, then maintaining open lines of communication and support with other teams creating touchpoints.

Creative consistency means a level of work with your brand over time which does not vary greatly, such that people will recognize your brand from one interaction to the next.

Why is this important?

Creating a consistent brand image from one touchpoint to the next is important to for both psychological and economic reasons within your organization. It can help your company achieve the following results.

1. Makes your brand easily recognizable

Humans are hard-wired to look for patterns. Since the beginning of time, we’ve looked for patterns as a way to survive. We’ve used them to speed up our information processing, as well as look for dangers in our environment.

Creating a consistent brand helps people easily recognize and place your brand over time. It also helps people be more comfortable interacting with your brand along different touchpoints because they know what to expect.

2. Builds trust across channels

Have you ever gotten an email that just doesn’t look right because it’s different than what you expected? If so, it’s entirely possible that was a dangerous phishing email—and hopefully, you deleted it. Remember our reliance on recognizing patterns to survive? The same goes for building trust.

Since humans are hard-wired to look for patterns, we’re also wired to be suspicious of anything that deviates from the norm. Keeping your logos, colors and messaging consistent helps people see that they can trust your brand.

This goes double for any communications from your support and services teams. Since people reach out to those teams when they’re vulnerable and need help, creating a pattern of trust gives them reason to be comfortable working and sharing with your team.

3. Sets expectations with users

Have you ever clicked an ad for an article, only to find out the article was not what you expected to read? It doesn’t feel good for the user. How do you know you won’t be disappointed again the next time you click? Users want their expectations met as they click from one touchpoint to the next.

As users progress through your brand’s touchpoints, they’ll start to recognize each one as part of a larger picture. Everything you create will be part of that story. Creating consistency across everything from ad copy to messages from sales reps will reinforce the customer’s expectations as they move from one phase to the next in your sales process.

4. Lays a good foundation for content

Before you build a solid marketing plan, you have to start with a few building blocks—create some personas, map your customer journeys, inventory your assets and resources. Imagine how hard it would be to produce creative brand content when you’re missing those pieces.

To build an effective campaign, you have to know what imagery and messaging resonate, and what your audience expects to see. Do you have a quirky mascot, tagline or hashtag that you can build on? Then you can iterate on that concept’s success to tell a better story.

5. Promotes effective storytelling

One-off, single-channel interactions are out. Omni-channel, multi-touch processes are in. This is why we use techniques like ad re-targeting and marketing automation. As a marketer, you must connect the dots from one channel to another.

Consistency across these marketing touchpoints builds a story over time. They may not see the pieces all at once, but they will feel their cumulative effects. You’re more likely to respond to retargeting ads when the brand is one you recognize and trust.

Think of how much money you spend to acquire a single customer. Almost always, that acquisition is not done as a single event, but done over the course of multiple touches. Each of those touches costs money to create (either in dollars or in time). To maximize that investment, potential customers should feel these touchpoints form a single experience.

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with every project or campaign. While we should always be improving and building better campaigns than the last, it helps to start with a consistent design, template or ad, rather than continuously spending time or bandwidth to re-design it.

Key takeaway

Building touchpoints with creative consistency leads to an effective, cohesive, trustworthy brand, and the more time your company can spend on the same page working towards that vision, the better.

Want to know more about the impact of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

Every business owners’ hope is that their business will grow. Whether it’s a small, medium or large business, there’s always room for growth. It’s an exciting process, but it might be short-lived if you’re unable to manage your brand consistently.

As you add more people to your team and start producing more content (such as landing pages, social media posts and ads), how do you keep everyone on the same page? How do you maintain brand consistency to keep your brand’s message clear and strong?

Here are five tips on how to do just that.

1. Create a brand style guide

With more employees and less time to look over every piece of content, it’s difficult to catch off-brand materials before they go out.

Create a brand style guide that shows employees how to use your branding properly. This will help your employees create on-brand content that shares a consistent look and feel.

Your brand is more than just the logo and colors that you use, so naturally, your brand style guide will cover more ground than that. Here’s a list of useful sections to include.


What does your company do? Lay the foundation for your style guide by first addressing your company’s goals and what you hope to accomplish in the future.

If you haven’t written a mission statement or want to spice yours up, here are some powerful examples.

Target audience

Discuss who your target audience is. What’s most important to them, and why do they use your product? This will help your employees better understand who they’re talking to and why it’s important to communicate with your audience in a consistent way.


When someone reads through your brand style guide, they should be able to relate to your brand and anticipate how your brand will respond in certain situations. This is why it’s important to have a section dedicated to the values of the company.

What values must come first in your company? By including these, your employees will know how to communicate with your customers.

Brand personality

Your brand personality comprises the characteristics you use to describe it. If your brand was a person, what would they be like? Professional, witty, funny?

If you’re struggling to think of characteristics that describe your company, survey your customers and ask them what personality traits they feel your brand has.

This helps bring your brand to life and give better depth to your brand’s voice, tone, messaging, and even its visual elements.

Visual elements

This section is where you put all the specifics regarding your logo, colors, typography and imagery. Provide as much direction with these elements as possible. For example, show each version of your company’s logo and describe how it should be used, where it should be located, when to use certain colors, etc.

For more help in setting up your brand style guide, check out our post on great examples of brand guidelines. You can also look at this 99designs blog post that goes into more detail about brand guidelines.

2. Pay attention to messaging & tone

Communicating with customers is often achieved through writing. Text appears on your advertisements, in your product, in blog posts and on your website—just to name a few examples.

Imagine how confusing it would be if you had a friend who always spoke with a Midwestern accent, but then one day, they showed up talking like a Californian surfer or a seasoned New Yorker? All of these accents are great, but you’d be pretty confused about what was going on with your friend. Could you even trust them anymore?

This is why consistent messaging is important for your customers. If the writing on your website uses a formal tone, but they receive emails from you that sound like a casual conversation, they’ll be wary—and rightfully so.

While creating your brand style guide, focus on describing your company’s tone and provide writing examples that fit your company’s voice.

When you read what other employees have written, give specific feedback about what is on-brand and what is not. Over time, they’ll learn which words, phrases and punctuation are appropriate for the brand.

3. Regularly train your team

Now that you have a brand guide for your employees, show them how to use it. If you don’t, your brand style guide will likely end up being ignored. If you can get your employees excited about your brand, they’ll be inspired to represent it well by following your style guide.

The opposite is also true. If you fail to get your employees onboard with your branding efforts, they may reject these new “restrictions.” This will promote more inconsistency and upset employees.

Keeping your brand consistent is a team effort that requires everyone to be onboard. Prepare an engaging presentation to introduce the brand style guide and strategy. Listen to their feedback, but make sure everyone understands the importance of consistency.

There might be a need for additional training for employees who are more involved in branding efforts such as writers, designers, marketers, customer service reps and managers. Once these employees are ready to build up your brand, ask them to share the same training with new employees as they onboard.

Keep an eye on the enthusiasm surrounding your brand. As it fades, you’ll have to recalibrate with reminders and additional training. It’s important for employees to know that you will champion the brand over the long term.

Key takeaway

When you focus on building a brand, the most important thing is to commit to it. No matter how well thought-out your brand is or how clever your messaging is, if it’s inconsistent, consumers will lose trust in you.

Create your brand guidelines, train your employees, find the right messaging and stick to it. The best companies in the world have championed their brands for decades. This consistency is part of their success—they’ve become familiar, beloved names for millions of customers. Lay the foundation for your brand today, so it can reap the benefits for years to come.

Want to know more about the impact of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

When you’re fine-tuning your brand, it’s important for everyone in your company to be on-board.

Let’s face it: Keeping your brand consistent is a tricky task—but it’s one that’s almost impossible if your staff aren’t fully educated about the strong brand you’re trying to create.

But, how can you keep everyone up to speed with the branding guidelines you’ve put together? In the modern age, when teams are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, an old Word document with a bulleted list of brand elements isn’t the way forward.

There’s one not-so-tiny thing that can help: a brand platform.

Here’s how you can create your own brand platform, and a free template to help you get started.

What is a brand platform?

Acting as the overarching document that includes important details about your business, a brand platform typically includes:

Every company, no matter what industry they’re operating in, should have a brand platform.

Why do I need a brand platform for my business?

It’s all well and good for me to harp on about brand platforms, but you want to know why this document is so important for businesses, right?

Here’s your answer: This central document helps to make sure everyone in your business is on the same page. From sales and marketing teams to creative departments, your business’s brand platform should be accessible by all employees, and clearly understood before undertaking any new marketing strategy or messaging.

This helps to keep your brand consistent—a tactic that has been proven to influence a 23% increase in revenue, on average.

In short: You’d be foolish to neglect it!

The perfect template for creating a brand platform

While brand platforms are critical, creating a document that is well-received by all members of your team isn’t an easy task.

However, we’ve created this brand platform template to provide inspiration for your own development. Simply open the template in Lucidpress and edit each element to match your brand.

various branded pieces of content

Download this free brand platform template.

3 tips for adding your own identity to this template

Now that you’ve got a template to base your brand platform on, use these three tips to add your own identity.

1. Dig deep into your business’s true values

Certain sections of this template require you to dig deep into the core of your brand—including the mission statement and brand personality sections.

So, avoid filling this section of your template with fluff. Remember: A strong brand has a strong reason behind the things they’re doing.

You could gain valuable insights for this section of your brand platform by:

The latter option is fantastic because you’re able to identify which of your branded elements have worked previously. For example, if you notice an overwhelming number of customers purchased because of your company-wide passion against animal testing, don’t miss out by failing to include this in your brand platform. It’s already proven to be effective.

2. Use your brand platform for every type of marketing activity

Planning to launch a Facebook advertising campaign? Looking to use Google Ads to sell more products? Gearing up to attend an industry trade show?

In any of these occasions, your brand platform is critical.

Why? Because a powerful brand is consistent. Think about it: One of the most recognizable brands in the world is Nike. I’ll bet their signature checkmark logo wouldn’t be as iconic if it wasn’t plastered across their sneakers, website and social media profiles.

So, use this consistency concept when doing any type of marketing activity. Encourage all members of staff to refer back to the brand platform when representing your company, and you’ll be on the road to a strong, powerful brand in no time at all.

3. Don’t try to be something you’re not

Did you know that 94% of all consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand when they commit to transparency? Attempting to be something you’re not isn’t going to sit well with the people you’re working so hard to win over.

Going back to our tip on digging deep into your brand’s true values, pretending to be something you’re not—and fabricating your values to seem more interesting—shouldn’t be part of your brand platform creation process.

Instead, be true to your brand. Marketing to the beat of your own drum is much better than following the crowd. 

Final thoughts on creating a brand platform

Are you ready to make a start on your brand platform and experience the benefits of consistent branding?

That’s great, but don’t let your hard work go to waste.

Make sure every member of your team is fully on-board with your brand platform before publishing any marketing materials—including social media posts, online ads or blog posts.

Whether you’re printing out the template and pinning it to your office wall or holding a company-wide meeting to explain each element, your new brand platform won’t be effective if it’s not being taken seriously. Be the champion your brand platform needs, and you’ll see results in no time.

Customer loyalty separates historically successful brands from the rest. Why do people consistently drink Coca-Cola or wear Nike sneakers? The answer is a simple one: Those brands have earned trust from their customers. Their products are of high quality, and their brand messaging has remained consistent, making it easy to cultivate brand integrity with customers.

Building integrity through your brand requires following the correct blueprint. You can’t build an entire house by following instructions on how to assemble a new sofa. In the same vein, building and maintaining brand integrity starts by using strategies that help you stay on-message and foster loyalty and recognition.

If you’re looking for the right blueprint, consider following these five guidelines to build and maintain your company’s brand integrity.

1. Choose the right products

One misstep can create a long-lasting negative impression for a brand. IHOP drove this lesson home when the company changed its name and logo to IHOB to announce new burger offerings on its menu. Customers and critics alike lampooned the decision, stating that the company had strayed from its breakfast roots. IHOP reverted to its old name and logo, and it claimed the move was only a temporary promotional stunt. Even if that’s true, it didn’t undo the negative publicity the brand endured.

The lesson here is simple: Choose the right products to maintain consistency in your brand message. Trying to go “off the menu” to deliver what you think is a better product could confuse customers, employees, vendors and other parties. Products should always feel cohesive and congruent with your overall brand identity. That consistency lays the foundation for brand trust.

2. Make customers your top priority

Customer engagement forms the backbone of any successful business. Your company gains strength by offering high-quality products and reliable services to its customers time and time again. It’s the cornerstone for building relationships of trust with those customers.

Dropping the ball can be a disaster. Customers notice when your company makes mistakes, such as producing inferior products or offering poor customer service. Such slip-ups can convince them to leave, which ultimately hurts your brand reputation and negatively impacts your bottom line.

One of the best things your business can do is to fulfill what your brand promises by putting your customers first. Start by

Because when your business is approachable, customers are more likely to trust your brand to find solutions for their problems as they arise.

3. Be honest

Chances are, when you see an infomercial pop up on TV, you quickly change the channel. Why is that such a common reaction? The simple answer is that no one likes feeling manipulated.

Infomercials have a lousy reputation partly because the products featured are often long on promises and short on results. From cookware guaranteed to never wear out to miracle cures for a host of ailments, these products are often too good to be true. No customers enjoy feeling misled, and the brands associated with “As Seen on TV,” products often suffer the results of negative perception.

Your business should be wary of falling into the same trap. Always be truthful in advertising and other forms of communication with customers — respect their intelligence. Be honest about what your products and services can do, and play to their natural strengths.

Fostering integrity with your brand starts with honesty. If a customer can’t trust your brand messaging, how can you expect them to trust your business?

4. Employ realistic marketing strategies

Reckless marketing campaigns give the wrong impression about your brand to customers and employees alike. It’s tempting to kick the hype machine into overdrive whenever you roll out a new product or service. But bigger isn’t always better. If your marketing veers into uncharted territory by making promises your business can’t keep, the road back to restoring brand integrity can be long and treacherous.

How do you feel when a product works as advertised? It’s amazing! You want to give that same feeling to your customers and employees. Give them a reason to feel excited, of course, but make sure you’re still coloring within the lines. Focus on the real benefits and results of your products, rather than allowing your creative energy to devise claims that aren’t achievable.

5. Maintain a consistent moral code

Doing the right thing for the right reasons is not an antiquated virtue. Businesses who play dirty often end up looking dirty in the eyes of the customers they want to attract.

Understanding which values your customers cherish is essential. Take enough time to learn what those values meanwhile you’re conducting market research. Then, take it a step further and weave those values into the fabric of your brand.

If your brand has core values that define your company’s culture, stick to those values. Doing so fosters an authentic and favorable brand image. Betraying those values can do more to undermine your brand’s integrity than just about anything else. The last thing you need to do in a crowded marketplace gives customers and employees a reason to turn away and march into the arms of a competitor.

Key takeaway

Building and maintaining brand integrity is a long-term strategy for success, but the results are well worth the investment. By choosing the right products, putting customers first, making promises your brand can keep, and sticking to your company’s values, you build a long-lasting brand that customers and employees are proud to support.

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Download our free ebook on how to build a brand in 2020.

Do you want to learn how you can make your company stand out from the crowd?

Or how to position your company so a prospect sees you as the only viable option when choosing between you and a competitor?

And finally, do you want to learn some little-known tricks that some of the biggest companies in the world use to turn people into loyal fans?

You’re in the right place.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand what digital branding is, why it’s important, and how you can adapt the methods big brands like Nike & Apple use to sell more products.

You’ll see concrete examples of how to plant in your prospects’ minds the brand image you want them to perceive.

Whether you want your company to be seen as the best, the cheapest, the fastest or the best customer experience, these actionable techniques will help you.

But before getting into the strategy, let’s cover the basics.

What is branding?

Digital brand management example

How would you describe this shape? It’s called a swoosh. But, you know what’s really interesting?

Most people don’t know what a swoosh is. And most people don’t know why Nike adopted it as a logo or what this shape is supposed to convey.

Still, we’re willing to pay more for a T-shirt with this shape on it than for a plain T-shirt made with the same cotton.

Nike isn’t the only example, of course. Take Mercedes or BMW—or any other well-known brand. Do you know what their logo means? Their history? Why they’re better than their rivals?

If you’re a huge fan, maybe. But, most people don’t.

Still, we have preferences. When it’s time to open our pockets, we eventually choose one over the other. How and why do we choose one over the other if we don’t know that much about either?

The answer might seem a little obvious: because they made us feel something.

When you buy a Mercedes, you aren’t just buying a car. You’re buying status. When people see you driving it, you feel accomplished, educated, wealthy and so on.

When you buy a fresh pair of Nike Jordans, you feel empowered like a great athlete, you feel like you’re going for it, and you almost feel like a star.

Why do we feel that way? Because that’s how brands are telling us to feel.

Branding is not what people know about your company, products or service. It’s not a static set of characteristics to remember about you. It’s not your content marketing, social media or creative advertising.

Branding is everything you do to make people feel a certain way.

This leads us to our next question.

Why is digital branding so important?

Why should you put a lot of effort into making people feel a certain way about your brand?

Imagine you go into a sports store to buy a T-shirt. You have three brands sitting in front of you: Nike, Adidas and a generic brand. All the same color. All the same fabric.

You don’t care about the material since they’re all made of basically the same fabric. They look the same. They feel the same. The only difference is the logo and the price.

But in a matter of seconds, you make a decision. You decide intuitively that brand A is better than brand B. And that’s why branding is important.

Branding is a promise that buying a product from brand A will give you more benefits than buying a product from brand B.

Now, how do you plant the perception in people’s minds that your brand is better than your competition?

This leads us to our next section.

Essential digital brand management tips

Branding shares similar principles whether it’s happening online or offline. Your goal is to make people feel a certain way about you, no matter what channel you’re using.

Since everything is shifting towards the digital world, below you’ll find mainly digital brand management tips that will help you build your online identity and stand out from the crowd.

1. Find your core values. What do you stand for?

If you want to build a strong, lasting brand, you need a strong, lasting strategy. Any powerful branding strategy starts with the company’s core values.

Here’s Apple’s mission statement from 2017:

“Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.”

Words like “the best,” “leads,” “revolution” and “reinvented” clearly tell you that creativity, innovation and being different are things Apple cares deeply about. And we’ll see in a minute how they express that.

But first, let’s return to a previous example: Nike. What does Nike stand for?

It isn’t about the shoes. It’s about great athletes, striving and going for it. It’s about being the best version of yourself. Or, to put it in their words:

Digital brand management example

“Our mission is what drives us to do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.”

Considering these two examples for reference, how do you want to be perceived by people?

At Lucidpress, our mission is to make creating beautiful, on-brand content quick and easy for everyone. We believe each brand has a story, and our graphic design software exists to make it easy for brands to tell their stories visually. You can see how this mission influenced our homepage design:

Digital brand management software

2. Express those values consistently in everything you do

If you want people to feel about you in the way you decided, you have to keep representing those values in everything that you do.

Let me give you some examples to show what I mean.

We mentioned earlier that Apple stands for creativity, innovation, and being different, right? Here’s how they express it, even in the small details.

Not that many years ago, there were only black headphones. That was the norm.

When Apple released the iPod, they had a problem. The device lived in people’s pockets, so no one could tell you were listening to an iPod just by the sight of your black headphones.

What did Apple do?

Digital brand management example

They designed white headphones.

As psychologists and business experts have noted since the iPod’s release, the decision to make its earbuds white sent Apple’s reputation as an uber-cool company into the stratosphere.

That’s an offline branding example. Here’s how they deal with digital branding on their website.

Digital brand management example

In every aspect of its communication, Apple keeps repeating its core values.

Even if it’s not explicitly stated, they suggest them to you, which is often more powerful than just saying it.

Let’s return to Nike. As stated earlier, they don’t just sell shoes. They celebrate great athletes, and they want to expand human potential.

If you look at their digital branding, you rarely see pictures or videos showing off their shoes. Instead, you see athletes and performers being the best version of themselves, exemplifying one of Nike’s core values.

Digital brand management example

3. Keep your style & communication consistent

If you want people to recognize your brand instantly, then keep your style consistent across all channels, including digital branding and offline branding.

What do I mean by style?

It’s the fonts you use. The colors. The tone of voice. The choice of words. Your logo. Everything that defines what your brand is. This area of branding is also known as brand identity design.

Here’s a digital branding example from Carlsberg. If you take a look at this post, you’ll see that they’ve repeated part of their value proposition: probably the best beer in the world.

Digital brand management example

For more, head over to their Instagram profile. Almost every post uses green, and they use their value proposition innovatively to describe experiences related to enjoying a beer.

Digital brand management example

Or on this real-world banner where they don’t even show the bottle, but you can instantly recognize it’s about Carlsberg.

Digital brand management example

This consistency builds recognition and trust, because the brand has become a familiar personality people can relate to.

4. Make it easy for people to understand

Find a way to concisely tell customers who you are. And I’m not referring just to the tagline here, but to your communications as a whole.

Don’t try to play clever word games that become too complicated. Don’t try to use big words and phrases that have no real meaning.

Your message should be closely associated with your brand’s values, and you should condense it into one or two sentences.

This part of the brand building process goes beyond your logo and tagline to define:

To summarize, your definition should be instantly understandable while simultaneously striking an emotional chord. Make it resonant.

Think about it this way: You don’t have half an hour to explain to your customer what your company does. In most situations, especially if we’re talking about digital branding, you barely have half a minute.

Carlsberg is probably (see what I did there) one of the best examples of a clear value proposition.

But as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have to be about the tagline. Effective digital branding can be done in the details, like your website’s headline, the signature of your email or a short description on your business card.

Brand management example

Okay, so we’ve reviewed a few crucial digital branding tips. But, how do you make sure your brand stays consistent throughout all your marketing channels?

What if you go through a rebrand? What if your marketing team goes through some personnel changes? How do you make sure your brand maintains its style and core values?

Fortunately, we’ve got some tips here, too.

5. Establish brand guidelines with a clear identity

To make sure everyone is on the same page, you need to have documented brand guidelines that anyone in the company can find and use.

It’s a document that contains all the rules for composition, design, and general look-and-feel of all a brand’s collateral.

For ideas and inspiration, here are a few great brand guideline examples.


Digital brand management example

See the full brand guide here.


Digital brand management example

See the full brand guide here.

Scrimshaw Coffee

Digital brand management example

See the full brand guide here.

If you want a few more great examples, check out our post: 10 best corporate identity design examples

And if you’re ready to create your own brand guidelines, we’ve got a handy template to help you get started: Brand style guide template

Speaking of templates, let’s move onto our next point.

6. Invest in templates which reflect your brand’s aesthetic

Ok, so you have the guidelines. But, what if a new person joins the team and hasn’t managed to get a solid grasp of them yet?

One easy way to minimize errors is to invest in a designer who can create “best practice” templates that are in line with your brand’s ethos and aesthetic.

This ensures no one in your company has to take matters into their own hands, because they can draw on templates that reflect your brand every time they create a new document.

If you’re using Lucidpress, you can customize templates to easily create stunning content without having to start from scratch every time. And because of its innovative Brand Assets feature, you can make sure everyone is using the latest version of your branding elements. Fonts, colors and logos are all pre-loaded and ready to go.

Digital brand management software

7. Make sure you update your brand messaging & visuals everywhere

At this point, you have (or will have) a brand manual and a handful of templates that are in line with your brand aesthetic.

But, what if you go through a rebranding? What if your designer has to make a small change to your logo—how do you ensure your team uses the right version?

There are two ways to avoid this.

The hard way: You create a spreadsheet where you keep track of every edit you’ve ever made. Of course, you realize how tedious this can be—not to mention this method isn’t foolproof.

The easy way: You can use brand management software to make things much easier, and you can be 100% sure there are no errors.

Digital brand management software

Of course, we’re biased here, but with Lucidpress, your team has access to all brand assets in one place. Beyond that, you can lock down branded elements in your templates that should never be changed.

Lucidpress also offers real-time collaboration, which makes it easy for anyone on the team to work together and make sure your brand stays consistent throughout every channel.

Key takeaways

There are two main things I would like you to remember from this article.

1. Consistency is key to building a strong brand.

A strong, lasting brand takes years to be developed. Just look at the big brands out there. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. That’s why consistency is key.

2. Start with your company’s core values.

Before starting any brand marketing, make sure you clearly define your company’s brand identity. Your values, who you want to be, how you want people to perceive your company.

Because if it’s not very clear for you, don’t expect it to be clear to customers—no matter how often you’re communicating with them.

When you know exactly what you want to communicate, you’ll easily find ways to convey that message, and your audience will notice.

Want to know more about the impact of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

It’s something you’ve been told to do for years, as far back as your high school English classes: Define your voice. Voice is sometimes talked about as some ineffable je ne sais quoi. It’s something that’s felt more than defined.

But in reality, voice—the elements of personality that make a brand or person so distinctly themselves—can and should be defined. In fact, according to the Nielsen Norman Group, voice can have a huge impact on how much consumers trust or care about a brand. And that matters, because customers are far more likely to spend money with a reliable brand than an unreliable one.

What is brand voice?

Brand voice specifically refers to the content your business publishes online, in print, and anywhere else. It’s made up of the words you use and how you choose to use them—in other words, it’s the voice with which your business speaks.

Not sure what your brand’s personality is or should be? Here are five tips to help you define and sustain your brand’s voice.

1. Spend time putting words to your brand voice

While this step might look simple on the surface, it’s something a lot of companies overlook. If you want your brand’s voice to be consistent and scalable for growth, you have to clearly document it.

Begin with a voice tool as a starting point, or simply play through a few improv-style scenarios, feeling out how you and other stakeholders would expect the brand to respond in a given situation. As you launch new products, would your brand message contain more excitement or confidence? When customers write in for support, is it more important for your staff to be appeasing or authoritative? Which main values or interests do you want your messaging to regularly drive home?

Carefully document the responses, then identify any patterns or trends. Narrow down your list to a core set of descriptors (between three and five). From there, you can construct statements highlighting what your brand identity is and isn’t. By establishing and documenting the foundation of your company’s voice, you have a point of reference for any future communication or branding.

MailChimp’s voice and tone guidelines are a great point of reference for how to do this. The description is fairly brief, but each word gets a lot of work done.

2. Create consistency in every bit of content and copy

A truly effective voice requires consistency across all messaging. No piece of copy, content or communication should stray from that core persona, or you risk hurting how consistent your brand is perceived. And given that consistency can provide a 23% revenue increase over brands that lack it, inconsistency is one mistake you really can’t afford to make.

Take Cards Against Humanity. Every piece of writing in its games and on its website bursts with snarky sarcasm. The company has even set up training to ensure that support staff can meet customer needs without losing the signature sass that has come to define the brand’s voice.

If you want to follow this model, share the brand guidelines you established in the point above so all staff members know what is and isn’t allowed. Set up QA processes to make sure that everything aligns, from your social voice to your customer support voice. Specific tone can differ to suit different situations, but the central voice that defines your brand should remain constant across all communications and posts.

3. Raise your brand’s voice through proper channels

Everyone has that one extended relative—a grandma or a great aunt—who uses Facebook in a way that’s just a little bit off. And that’s exactly what you want to avoid. Because in a lot of ways, where you share your message matters almost as much as what you’re sharing.

The reason for this is twofold: First, it makes good financial sense to put brand resources and time where they will have the most impact. Second, and maybe more importantly, the platforms you use can impact how your brand’s voice is perceived. A teen-focused brand posting primarily on LinkedIn will confuse a lot of people; the platform lends itself to more formal business voices. Forcing a casual, slangy brand into that mold could be a recipe for failure.

Influencer marketing and advertising deserve attention here, too. If your strategy involves partnering with influencers or celebrities to sell a product—and there are plenty of good reasons to go this route—pay careful attention to how and where they share their messages. You can’t demand that an influencer change their persona to advertise your product without defeating the point of influencer marketing. Instead, spend some time listening to and watching the people you want to partner with to find someone who naturally matches your brand’s voice.

For a great example, look to underwear brand TomboyX. The brand works hard to speak to the LGBTQ+ community in a voice that feels human, confident and aware. TomboyX found an ideal voice pairing in Cameron Esposito, with an influencer-esque ad that plays during Esposito’s podcast, QUEERY. The ad, which involves Esposito giving a positive review of her own experience with the brand’s product, sounds genuine and real, perfectly harmonizing with TomboyX’s voice.

4. Walk the talk

As we’ve discussed, content and copy are huge parts of brand voice definition—but that’s not where consistency ends. For a voice to feel honest and genuine, it has to be backed up by other brand elements, including visuals and products.

A lot of beauty and fashion brands have pivoted to include more “natural” messaging in recent years. “Organic,” “pure,” “unretouched” and similar terms have gone beyond slogans and now feel baked into brand personas. But, how many brands succeed when it comes to backing up those words with concrete action, both in terms of visual advertising and product offerings? Not many.

That’s part of what made American Eagle’s recent #AerieREAL campaign so refreshing: The brand translated its voice and values into its ad campaign photography. For many consumers, this was the first fashion campaign they’d seen that included models with disabilities—real bodies wearing the product they were advertising.

If you really want to sell your brand voice, you have to back it up. Otherwise, even the strongest voice will start to ring hollow.

5. Don’t be afraid to—consciously—grow and adapt

Finally, adjust your voice as your brand grows.

That’s not a call to revamp everything at the drop of a hat—constant rebranding won’t do much to help encourage company recognition or loyalty. But an occasional and purposeful shift to respond to a growing market or changing attitude can and should be encouraged.

A particularly relevant example of voice evolution is Soylent. It started out as a niche, DIY-focused product with a voice that spoke primarily to busy engineers and developers who cared more about the function than the form of what they were eating. The creator himself said that even the brand name was designed for “encouraging further discussion and thought,” solidifying the brand’s methodical, analytical voice.

However, as the product picked up new followers and expanded into new markets, that voice changed. It holds on to some of its original directness but now brings friendlier reassurance to the table. What once read as intentional austerity now feels more palatable.

Since the change, Soylent has seen more commercial success, moving into markets on Amazon and college campuses. It’s unlikely that it would have seen that level of success without some voice adjustment to better speak to its newer, larger audience.

Key takeaway

There’s no denying that it can feel daunting to establish your brand’s voice in a world that already seems saturated with a lot of noise. But, it’s not all about volume. Use the tips above to build a voice that resonates with your audience, and reap the benefits of better brand recognition and a better bottom line.

Taking your brand global is an exciting prospect but also a significant challenge. Establishing and growing your brand in your own country is challenging enough, but expanding it into other parts of the world will present hurdles different from any you’ve experienced before.

One of the principal challenges is maintaining consistency as the brand spreads into other cultures and regions. Being consistent, though, is key to success. That’s not to say you should ignore the differences between customers in different markets—you need to meet customer needs while still keeping your brand consistent, which is easier said than done.

Maintaining a strong brand while going global requires substantial research and planning, as well as careful monitoring. Here are 6 branding tips to remember when you’re going global.

1. Establish brand guidelines

Before attempting to expand a brand globally, the company should have well-established, consistent brand guidelines. It needs to distribute these guidelines to everyone who will represent the brand in any way and ensure adherence.

What should be included in brand guidelines? They cover the overall definition of the brand, visual style and content style. That’s not to say all of these elements need to be included in the same document, but they should all be well-defined. The guideline should define the brand’s values, mission and vision statement and include a description of the key messages you want to send, as well as the brand’s personality.

These guidelines should include rules for using the company’s logos, colors, fonts and any other visual elements. They should also describe its preferred voice and tone, any words that should be used and any to be avoided. The use of these guidelines must be enforced throughout the company to keep the brand consistent. This will be of immense value, since research shows that consistent brands expect to earn 23% more revenue annually than inconsistent brands.

2. Emphasize your values

Your brand guidelines should include a description of company values, but they should be emphasized through every aspect of the global expansion. This strategy consists of both customer-facing and internal elements and will help the brand maintain its essence, even if the details of how the company operates are different in new markets.

Making sure everyone in the company understands its values is crucial to consistency. Brand values can serve as a guidepost when trying to determine whether something is on brand or not. While representations of the brands should still be subject to review, understanding brand values can help keep ideas on track in the early stages.

3. Be aware of culture & language differences

Before expanding into a new region, a company should take time to research any aspects of culture or language that may affect how their brand is perceived. The business should also conduct a legal assessment to avoid inadvertently breaking any rules or regulations.

If your company is seeking to form partnerships and make business acquaintances overseas, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the country’s business culture. For example, in Singapore, it’s important to talk about any successes as a team effort. The interests of the group as a whole are generally put ahead of individual interests there—something you’d want to keep in mind if you were trying to create a mutually beneficial partnership.

When translating a brand into another language and culture, miscommunications are easily possible.

If a company doesn’t take sufficient precautions, it risks making a faux pas that could damage the brand. KFC fell victim to this issue when it expanded into China in the 80s. The company translated its slogan “finger-lickin’ good” to “eat your fingers off.” While KFC eventually recovered from the mistake, this slogan did not send the right message.

4. Keep it customer-focused

While you need to maintain brand consistency, you also need to ensure that you communicate your brand in a way that will resonate with the new customers you’re attempting to reach. You may need to make small adjustments to better appeal to customers in different regions, as well.

Determining what you can change to appeal to a new set of customers and what you can’t alter without sacrificing brand consistency is critical.

KFC provides us another example—but this time, in a positive way. In the 70s, KFC created a campaign in Japan called “Kentucky for Christmas” that encouraged Japanese customers to go to KFC on the holiday.

The campaign was a huge success because it capitalized on the fact that there weren’t many established Christmas traditions in the country. KFC still catered to one of the traditions that did exist in Japan, however, by including a special cake in its Christmas meal bundles.

5. Optimize your approval process

Companies should have an established approval process in place before expanding globally. This process helps employees to easily submit materials and enables company leadership to ensure brand consistency.

A complicated process can lead to off-brand materials slipping through the cracks. Once they do, these misbranded materials can spread, because people who see them will assume they’re acceptable.

Using a brand templating platform like Lucidpress can streamline the approval process, which encourages employees to get quick approval of their materials and move their projects forward.

6. Promote consistent internal communications

To orchestrate a global brand expansion, a company needs a strong internal communications system to ensure that all offices, departments and employees are on the same page.

You need a reliable communications system to inform everyone in the company of updates to branding guidelines, information about new products, details about new promotional products and more. Internal disconnect creates a risk of brand inconsistency.

Businesses should create an internal communications plan that includes information about communication objectives, target audiences, available channels and more. They must then monitor their progress to ensure that their internal communications are effective.

Also, everyone within a company who needs access to logos and other brand materials should have access to them. Using a cloud-based system like Lucidpress (through which employees can download logos from anywhere at any time) can resolve this issue seamlessly.

Key takeaway

Expanding a brand globally is, of course, no small feat. A global brand has many moving parts that all face different challenges based on their location. Despite these differences, the branding must be consistent throughout the entire company.

Achieving this kind of cohesiveness requires a well-defined brand and open communication about what the brand is to everyone in the company. That information and meaning can then be communicated effectively to customers across the globe.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

To get people interested in your brand and have them become loyal customers, it’s no longer enough to simply produce a good product or provide a great service.

What buyers are looking for today is an impeccable user experience—one that really makes them feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. This is why top brands appeal to their customers’ emotions; they realize most purchases aren’t rational. Your brand exists in the minds of your audience as all the experiences, impressions and interactions they’ve had with you, both positive and negative.

The power of branding is so incredible that 72% of marketers say branded content is more effective than print advertising. To help you harness that power, here’s our list of 9 ways to make people fall in love with your brand.

1. Focus on user needs, not features

This is where many brands go wrong. They choose to toot their own horn and go on about how great their product is, when in reality, the market couldn’t care less about it. What they really care about (whether they’re looking to buy a lawnmower or reaching out to cheap writing services) is what the brand and its product can do for them.

Make sure your brand focuses on how buying your product will solve a particular issue for your audience or address a particular pain point. Make them feel like the hero for choosing you.

2. Research what your target audience wants

While it’s fairly easy to assume that the attention span of most millennials is only a few seconds or that older generations are not present on social media… If you’re basing your branding strategy on these assumptions, you have failed spectacularly right off the bat.

Researching your target audience and identifying their needs is crucial if you want your brand to connect with them on an emotional level. Find ways to speak to your customers—and ideal customers—about what really matters to them.

3. Respond to consumer feedback whenever possible

According to research, 57% of consumers say that brand’s failure to respond to negative feedback is a good reason to cut ties with that brand. Responding to user feedback and acknowledging it, even if it’s negative, can help turn things around if you try your best to remedy the issue.

By responding to customer reviews and feedback, you’re showing that communication is a two-way street, and that your brand is not generic and faceless like all the others out there.

4. Provide a free solution

Obviously, the whole point of marketing and building your brand is to get potential customers to purchase from you—but getting there doesn’t have to involve you pushing for a sale. For example, you can provide your audience with helpful, applicable, free content that will help them overcome a particular problem.

What this does is inspire trust and establish you as an authoritative resource. When they’re ready to make a real purchase, your brand will be their first choice.

5. Deliver more than you’ve promised

One of the most effective ways to create a positive brand experience is to delight customers by delivering more than you initially promised. For instance, if you surprise them with a discount or throw in a free sample, they’ll be thrilled.

While it might be a sizable investment on your part, keep in mind that customer loyalty can be worth ten times more than a single purchase.

6. Find the right distribution channel

While mobile advertising and branding are the trend of the moment, how successfully you’re going to reach your consumer audience depends on how well you’ve done your research.

For instance, if you’re trying to reach older people with your brand, you might assume mobile advertising is off-limits. And while it’s true many of them don’t use social media, they do still use smartphones—which would mean that your brand might benefit from SMS marketing.

Think carefully about all your options, and don’t take any off the table before giving them proper consideration.

7. Tell a story

It’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of making your brand’s message too salesy. A much better strategy is to tell a story with your message. For example, if you’re trying to sell an espresso machine, don’t talk about how it’s made of stainless steel or how it can make you a cup of coffee in less than 30 seconds…

Instead, focus on how amazing that first cup of freshly brewed coffee feels on a lazy Sunday while the kids are still in bed. You’re selling a better quality of life, and your product can make that happen. Figure out how to tell a story that captures what your brand can really do for your ideal customer.

8. Pay attention to the visuals

Up to 90% of purchases are influenced by visual factors—especially color, which can increase brand recognition by up to 80%. Having a website which features eye-catching responsive design is a must, but your brand identify should also extend to your social media, marketing materials and product packaging.

Every visual touchpoint is an opportunity to tell your brand story, so don’t let them go to waste.

9. Find out where your audience hangs out

Make peace with the fact that your brand cannot be all things to all people. While casting a wide net might help you attract a bigger audience, it might not be worth it when you take into account all the marketing expenses.

Instead, find your intended audience online and figure out what they want. Regardless of what your product or service is, there’s a target audience for it out there. It’s up to you to find out where they are, how they communicate, and what they value.

Key takeaway

These techniques will not only make people fall in love with your brand—they will keep them coming back for more. And when it comes to building brand loyalty and driving growth, that’s really the best-case scenario, isn’t it?

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Download our free ebook on how to build a brand in 2020.

At the onset of building a business, branding might not seem like the first thing to conceptualize. Establishing the foundations of your brand by creating a brand book could be a tedious process, but its long-term benefits are well worth the effort.

To help you get started, let’s review what a brand book is, what it does, why you should take the time to build one, and how to best go about it.

What is a brand book?

A brand book can also be called a brand bible, a brand style guide or a brand guide, among other similar terms. Essentially, it’s the document that sets distinct guidelines for maintaining brand identity across all aspects of the business.

From designers to marketers to sales teams, a brand book helps align different departments in communicating consistent messaging.

Some of the things included in a brand book are:

Why do you need one?

One of the biggest benefits of having a brand book is that it gives the business a framework of consistency and cohesion. This consistency and cohesive messaging serve as great tools for defining your company’s personality—which, when committed to over a period of time, breeds trust. Strong, consistent brands are valuable; we know from our research that consistent brands expect to earn 23% more revenue annually.

When your audience sees that there is consistency in color scheme, tone of voice, and logo usage across all platforms, it delivers a level of professionalism that tells your customers you’re a brand they can trust.

Pros of having a brand book

As pointed out by Mayven, having a detailed brand book establishes the voice and personality of a company, governing virtually every aspect of company communication. From in-house communications to marketing messaging, having a well-made brand book ensures everyone is on the same page, consistently delivering a unified message that’s always on-brand.

Cons of not having a brand book

On the flip side, the inconsistency that easily creeps up when you don’t take the time to create a brand book can confuse and, eventually, alienate your customers.

Imagine a coworker who’s always well put-together: perfectly ironed shirt, neat haircut, clean shoes. Now imagine if, out of nowhere, that same person came to work with unkempt hair, ripped jeans and a neck tattoo. You’ll inevitably feel uncomfortable because it’s just not something you’re used to from that person. Chances are, you’ll be wondering if everything was okay with that coworker or if there’s some inner turmoil going on.

Essentially, the same instinct applies to brands and the way they present themselves to their audiences. You don’t want to confuse your audience with mixed messages.

How to create a brand book: Setting up the brand

Before you create a brand book that guides all aspects of the business, you need to envision what you want the brand to be. This means understanding four key components: the brand’s mission, its vision (which includes core values), target audience and brand persona.


When you’re crafting your brand mission statement, don’t fall into the trap of stringing together buzzwords that merely result in empty concepts and vague statements. As noted by Branding Strategy Insider, settling for a mission statement of that ilk does little to guide the company or employees toward having and maintaining a competitive edge. On top of that, it doesn’t provide motivation or a daily mission to make each workday matter.

Instead of vague concepts, your mission statement should clearly establish:

Establishing these does a number of things for your business: it immediately helps employees figure out whether they fit what the company wants to be, it creates strong brand differentiation from competition, and it inspires consumer passion and engagement.


As noted by Goalcast, a strong vision statement will serve as a guiding force for all of your business decisions. It’s a virtual compass that points the company towards where it wants to be and what it wants to become.

To help craft your vision statement, you can ask questions like:

Paired together, your mission and vision statements serve as important start and stop points—tools that will guide you as you make strategic business decisions that refine your brand.

Brand persona

Establishing a brand personality is a key element in setting the tone for your brand messaging across all communication channels. Mixed messages make it harder for customers to connect and identify with your brand.

One age-old practice is thinking about what kind of person your brand would be. Do you want your brand to be straightforward and to-the-point? Or would you rather it be playful and witty?

There’s also the old is/is not exercise. This involves listing three to five adjectives that your brand is and three to five adjectives that it is not.

Whatever collection of traits you decide to incorporate into your brand persona, it’s best to turn those into a statement that guides your overall messaging.

Lucidpress—a brand templating platform—uses this:

Lucidpress is the intuitive brand templating platform that empowers anyone to easily create on-brand materials.

In this statement, you can see a number of descriptive branding words:

These traits drive our messaging and many other branding decisions, from how our software should feel to who would benefit from using our platform. Speaking of which…

Target audience

Just as you need to understand your brand, it’s likewise important to understand your target market. What types of people do you want using your products? Which ones do you want to visit your website, consume your content or subscribe to your emails?

To identify your audience, you need to have a solid understanding of what their needs, wants and values are—and how you factor into all of those.

The process of identifying and understanding your target market allows you to narrow down your audience focus. Your messages are always tailored to your audience, and it gives you a clear picture of what you need to be for a specific group of people.

How to create a brand book: Visual guidelines

Logo usage

Coming up with a distinct, identifiable logo is one thing. Ensuring that it remains optimized in different environments is another. This part of your brand book should include all approved versions of your logo and how it will be used in different platforms, from placement to acceptable alterations.

How to make a brand book

Source: Design Shack

As you can see with Adobe’s brand guidelines, it’s very clear how the logo should be used, including its placement, size and white space.

Color palette

Your brand’s color palette is another element that gives your business a consistent look and feel. Most brands choose four or fewer main colors that don’t stray too far from the hues of their logo. As you can see with Heineken’s color palette, they picked one light color for backgrounds, a darker color for text, a neutral hue, and one that gives design elements a bit of pop.

How to create a brand book

Source: 99designs

And just as it is with your logo, you need to outline how and when each color should be used (Which ones are for text and design elements? Which are for the logo, and which are for backgrounds?). Mayven also points out that you should define the following:


Similarly, there should be a defined font style for both print & digital applications. In your brand book, typography should cover how and when certain fonts are used, which typefaces are acceptable, as well as guidelines for additional styling, size, and use of color.

As pointed out by Mayven, most brands use one or two primary typefaces, a complementary typeface, and substitute typefaces.

Tone of voice

As with all the other elements on this list, your tone of voice needs to be consistent across all communication channels—email, social media, press releases, blog posts, ads, etc. Your voice should be aligned with your brand’s persona, mission, vision, values and target audience.

How to make a brand book

Source: 99designs

You can start by identifying words you like and don’t like to be associated with. Then, decide what type of language fits your brand persona and your target audience. Go back to your list of adjectives describing your brand personality to come up with language that is on-brand.

How to create a brand book

Source: Design Shack


Apart from indicating whether you’ll be using photos, illustrations and other types of graphics (as well as when and how you’ll be using them), your brand book should also detail how images will be edited, which colors to place them with, and any other design elements related to image use.

Collect inspiration from successful brands, particularly those that have similar brand messaging as yours. You can also create a mood board with images that convey the feelings you want people to get when they interact with your brand.

Key takeaway

A thoughtfully crafted brand book will bring your business consistency, alignment and cohesion. To avoid confusion, your brand book needs to be detailed, covering all possible bases to ensure everyone’s on the same page. It will give every employee in the company a concrete framework to work with, while still giving them the freedom to do what they do best.

Running a business, in any capacity, takes hard work and perseverance. Specifically, though, for a franchise, there’s a whole different set of unique challenges for both franchisors and franchisees.

The primary challenge comes down to providing a consistent experience. It’s simple: A franchise must provide a consistent brand experience across each of its locations.

What’s not so simple is ensuring that every part of operations is being done the same way. How can you ensure that brand messaging and logos are easily accessible and up-to-date, or that the service is as good as it should be at every single one of your locations?

This article should provide you with a start on how to achieve brand consistency in your franchise.

Make sure franchisees know the importance of reputation management

Let’s first discuss your online brand image. This directly affects how customers feel about your brand.

A positive reputation is something that’s hard to get back once it’s ruined. There are a variety of different platforms in which customers can communicate with other customers about your brand including Yelp, Google, and other forms of social media.

Chris Conner, president of Franchise Marketing Systems, advises, “Right from the initial training with the franchisee, the franchisor should be educating and informing franchisees how brand management and reputation management are important and part of their operational responsibilities in running the franchised business.”

Conner adds: “Once a franchisee is operating and running day-to-day, the franchisor should have regularly scheduled calls with franchisees where reputation management is part of that discussion and addressed in each interaction.”

“Franchisors who are able to grow their networks effectively typically have incredibly strong and consistent mechanisms in place to monitor, respond and execute brand management responsibilities,” he concludes.

Maintain digital consistency

In order to maintain consistency where franchisees communicate with customers online, you need a clear-cut digital marketing plan. The plan should include guidelines for how franchisees communicate via social media, blogs, emails and webpages. Make sure you provide franchisees with easy access to logos, font style, imagery & photos, brand tone and language.

Social media is an integral part of our daily lives. Each location should have a separate Facebook and Yelp page so customers can visit locations and leave reviews. Whether each location needs a separate Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+ or Instagram account is truly dependent on the brand.

Create a detailed social media policy answering questions like: What type of content should be posted—and what should not be posted? How should complaints and negative reviews be dealt with? You can streamline social media with a process to approve anything that goes out, create templates, or offer pre-approved content. That way, you don’t have to micromanage content for too many locations.

Let your franchisees know what your brand is

Franchisors need to feel confident about the brand before communicating what that brand is to franchisees. This encompasses everything from company-wide goals to how everyday operations are run.

Ask yourself the following questions, and once you’re confident in your responses, make sure your franchisees know it, too.

What is the brand?

Your brand includes the characteristics of your company that make it relatable to people. For example, popular sandwich franchise Subway is a casual, no-frills restaurant where customers can expect consistent, fast service with fresh ingredients.

What is the company’s mission? What are its values and goals?

Subway strives to serve fresh, delicious sandwiches that are made-to-order right in front of the customer. The team at Subway lists out three core values and principles on their website.

  1. “Always provide exceptional service to your valued guests.”
  2. “Provide the highest quality menu items at a price everyone can afford and enjoy.”
  3. “Keep operating costs low and ensure you have great systems in place and never stop improving.”

What story do you want to tell?

Subway offers healthy sandwiches at convenient locations around the world. Subway shows their customers that they have nutritional & community responsibility by “building stronger societies,” according to the company.

Who is buying your product or service? How do you market to them?

Today, it’s easier to understand who your customers are and what they’re looking for. According to customer identity company Signal, personalization is an important part of marketing for brands. When it comes to franchises, that means being able to speak to people in different markets on a personal level. For example, franchises can offer personalized online communication experiences (e.g. paid advertising, personalized emails, etc.).

Don’t forget the details

It might be obvious, but staying consistent in a franchise is about every little detail.

Gary Findley, CEO at Restoration1 and established franchise sales expert, writes that consistency is the most important factor when it comes to business success.

He writes, “Balancing brand uniformity while respecting franchisee independence and regulating brand messages while effectively targeting local communities are two of the struggles that often arise.”

To help achieve this balance, there needs to be a consistent aesthetic, product & experience at each location.

Strengthen franchisor / franchisee communication

Determining how each franchisee should operate and what brand consistency looks like is only half the battle. The real challenge comes in longevity: making it last. To build long-lasting marketing and operations, use the following process.

Key takeaway

It can be difficult for a franchisor to maintain consistency across marketing and operations within a franchise… while also targeting local customers in different communities. Don’t give up on making your franchise marketing consistent.

For the best results, make sure franchisees know the importance of reputation management. Stay consistent with messaging across digital platforms, educate franchisees about your brand, pay attention to the details, and keep the lines of communication open.

Give your new franchisees a head start with our free ebook: The franchise owner’s field guide to success

What is brand authenticity? Well, generally speaking, it’s when brands act, illustrate and feel (or be) genuine to their customers. 

The byproduct of brand authenticity is more important than brand authenticity itself — i.e., brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is the emotional affirmation of your brand’s authenticity. And brand loyalty is what drives your revenue. 

But brand loyalty requires hard work and patience. And it involves understanding your customers’ core values and delivering on them. 

So, what makes a brand authentic? 

Brands that do all three are brands that customers prefer and trust. How can you adopt these qualities and make your brand more authentic? 

We gotcha!

TIP 1: Be reliable – Quality over quantity, and keep your promises

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, there’s an authenticity deficit in the global marketplace today. Not all brands keep the promises they make, not all communicate honestly, and not enough place the customer’s interests above their own. 

Take any variety of tech companies for instance (with admittedly the exception of large-scale corporations like Google, Facebook and so forth… kindly ignore those!) PayPal comms SVP Franz Paasche said: “Tech brands combine the excitement of innovation with [making] the everyday living of life easier, and that gives you a trusted role in people’s lives.”

For example, even when Microsoft felt customers brand loyalty wane after the launch of its disastrous Vista operating system, they hit the ground running to find out why it let their customers down and focused its efforts on trying to right the wrong.

Kathleen Hall, advertising and marketing VP of Microsoft, said: “We went back to our consumers and did a global study, visualizing what the brand meant to them. There was consistency worldwide: Microsoft means opportunity, access and connection, a combination of strength and possibility.”

Ten years later, the company is still enjoying the fruits of that study. The idea is to take stock of what people need and expect from you, then deliver on your promises. What you do on the ground can sometimes speak more than your marketing dollars ever could.

TIP 2: Be respectful — Customer-centricity is key to revenue growth

By far, the most important aspect of a brand’s authenticity is its customer-centricity.

It’s crucial to treat your customers as the most pivotal part of your business. You don’t need a major PR push to show the world how much you care, instead what you need are genuine efforts to deliver the basics and help your customers.

Take the Patagonia brand as an example. The company mission statement is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” To that end, the company has many checks in place to ensure it hits on that mission statement. Such as:

Now, that’s just the beginning. To see for yourself, check out Patagonia’s core value page!

TIP 3: Be real – Personalize customer communications

Authenticity doesn’t come from the product or service you sell, but from how, why and where you sell it. 

Winning brands take great pains to communicate with customers in ways that feel personal. They see themselves as a productive part of the customer’s life, and each marketing message is personalized for them. They nail practices like cross-cultural marketing, localization, creating dedicated websites for different countries, and identifying as a local brand despite being a global brand.

By being real, you inevitably build trust and rapport with your customers. And to establish that trust, you need to be honest in your words and actions. Michael Boychuk, the former executive creative director of Amazon, said: “You can say whatever you want, however, you want to say it, but if you’re not interacting with people authentically, advertising is nothing.”

Be really reliable, respectful — and really real

Be reliable, be respectful and be real. That’s what gets customers to trust you and perceive you as an authentic brand. Revenue and profits are a byproduct of customer-centricity. Always remember that a good brand serves the customer. If you can take these ideas to heart, you’ll build better brand authenticity than millions of marketing dollars ever could.

Want to know more about the power of a strong brand? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

Brand management isn’t for the fainthearted. Even companies with well-documented brand-building strategies struggle to keep up with an ever-evolving list of marketing channels used to communicate with clients.

One of the core strengths of Lucidpress is that our platform helps you build a cohesive brand across your entire organization. Admins create templates and lock down the important brand elements. Users can customize templates but can’t change any elements locked into place to maintain brand unity.

The digital files marketing teams create with Lucidpress (or any other graphic design software) are commonly called marketing assets. The term immediately brings to mind the many software packages commonly referred to as digital asset management (DAM) or media asset management (MAM) systems.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at these systems and how they relate to brand management, including the benefits of keeping tabs on all that marketing content.

What DAM is and why it matters

Digital asset management is the process of organizing and making digital files available across an organization, managing them, and tracking their usage.

The term is often confused with marketing asset management, but digital asset management can cover files from other departments as well. Even though accounting may have ownership of a specific file — like a vendor setup form — managers from other departments might need to access the form or provide it to other parties.

Unlike the office environment of 20 years ago, paper is no longer the way people primarily communicate. Digital asset management is the online equivalent of an office filing cabinet.

Why does it matter?

DAM often involves a cross-functional team assembled from different departments including IT, marketing and operations.

When looking at DAM software options, most emphasize file management and organization for marketing departments. However, files can be shared across an entire organization, within single departments, or even with outside vendors & contractors.

Keeping content in order was originally handled by the marketing department. But as enterprise IT needs grew, so did the need for technical specialists to step in and help with DAM.

Very large companies often hire digital asset managers to handle this task for the entire company. Digital asset management is also gaining ground in the MarTech community.

There are some drawbacks to traditional DAM systems, including version control and poor customer experience. Since these systems run the gamut from very simple tools to complex custom builds, we’ve created a buyer’s guide to help you understand how these systems work.

Because Lucidpress is a branding platform, we take brand protection and file management very seriously. Our software can serve as a very simple DAM or integrate with more complex solutions, depending on the size and needs of a particular business.

Digital asset management (DAM) vs. marketing/media asset management (MAM)

We’ve touched on the fact that digital asset management and media/marketing asset management are different.

If you try to search for a DAM system that only handles files from accounting, you probably won’t find one. This is because, in most enterprise companies, the marketing (and sales) department produces the largest amount of digital assets.

That being said, the definition of digital asset management as a business practice differs tremendously from the definition of DAM software.

Additionally, marketing asset management and media asset management are often used interchangeably, even though they have different meanings.

Let’s clear up the confusion here with a few definitions:

Understand the difference now? It can be confusing when you spot all of these in the wild, but these definitions are something you can refer back to if needed.

Marketing asset management use cases

According to CampaignDrive, there are four generic use cases for marketing asset management that are typically handled by DAM software:

  1. Content creation. This is where Lucidpress excels and most DAMs fall short. Some DAMs assist with content creation, but marketing content usually requires graphic design or other programs built for professional creation.
  2. Version control. Most DAMs are focused on content storage, which means you only have access to the current version of any particular file. However, some do allow you to view file history, publish to the final channel and focus on version control.
  3. Print & offline marketing. Although companies often operate with a digital-first mentality, certain industries like e-commerce and local business services often need to invest in print marketing as well. DAMs really shine here, as print designers can pull logos, previously printed pieces, and other brand elements as needed.
  4. Local marketing. Enterprise companies with local branches (such as franchises and restaurants) have a greater need for customization & control, as marketing teams in the field might not always have or use correctly branded assets. A few DAM systems support “distributed DAM” or local marketing automation (LMA) to help with this.

Types of files typically included in marketing asset management

Your marketing department often handles many different file types, depending on the channels and campaigns it manages. Given how many there are, it’d be impractical to list every file type supported by a particular DAM or MAM system.

Instead, let’s paint this with a broad brush. Generally speaking, MAM systems are mostly used for audio & video file management. DAM systems are mostly used for file types that aren’t as large or complex, like documents & graphics.

That’s not to say you can’t use a DAM system to store videos. But, a MAM system is better built to support them, from the interface to search capabilities to storage capacity. It might seem like a small distinction now, but those factors become more important as your library grows.

Marketing asset management ROI: Who benefits from marketing asset management?

For enterprise companies, the marketing department directly benefits from having a formal system in place. It saves time for designers who are looking for branded templates and the latest version of your logo and other marketing materials. Brand managers save time, too, because final quality checks will be faster and easier.

Another practical benefit: Properly organized files with good version control will save you money & embarrassment by preventing incorrectly branded print & digital ad campaigns.

Another benefit of marketing asset management is that it improves the relationship with IT. Many art departments and in-house creative studios already work side-by-side with dedicated IT employees, and having a formal system to manage files can help both sides stay on the same page.

Overloaded servers, multiple versions of the same file, and other problems create real headaches for companies trying to manage computer networks and hard drive space. Marketing asset management helps alleviate that, especially if the company has a dedicated digital asset manager.

Employee productivity is another benefit of marketing asset management, since creatives spend less time looking for files and more time fulfilling creative requests.

Key takeaway

Marketing asset management is a fairly new concept, but it’s already distinguishing itself from digital asset management in a few key ways. Understanding whether your brand would benefit from DAM, MAM, or a combination of both will make it easier to build the right system for your business.

Learn more about digital asset management in our comprehensive buyer’s guide.

Our world has become a digital one. You see its digital fingerprints in virtually every aspect of 21st-century life. We stream movies & shows on smartphones, store photos & documents in the cloud, and create apps to cover a wide spectrum of activities. These digital assets are everywhere.

For a company, a digital asset creates or augments its brand identity. Understanding the role that a digital asset plays in your success is crucial when you’re managing or marketing a brand.

Identifying a digital asset

What is a digital asset in simple terms? At a basic level, a digital asset is content that’s stored digitally and holds value to the company who uses it.

This creates a broad spectrum of items that can be considered a digital asset. Photos, videos, images, slideshows, graphics, PDFs, spreadsheets, audio files, and even plain text documents all fall under the digital asset umbrella. For example, an .SVG file of your brand logo is a digital asset. So is the template for company letterhead. Advances in technology mean that what is considered a digital asset is always evolving.

For your company, digital assets are going to include everything related to your brand messaging, products offered, and services rendered. If you have digital content that is uniquely identifiable and provides value to your company, it’s considered a digital asset.

Benefits of a digital asset

Companies count on digital assets to serve a couple of distinct purposes. Such assets help build brand awareness. They can also influence a consumer’s purchasing behavior. When used effectively, digital assets can help brands do a better job of engaging consumers and earning their business by offering personalized, relevant content that fits their needs.

Think about it. Would you sell baby clothes & toys to a single person without any children? No. You would target parents with your products. Tailoring digital assets to fit the needs of your target audience sets successful brands apart from brands that fail.

What makes digital content so important? The rise of social media has put a premium on visual content. When you check out platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, you’ll notice a flood of visual posts featuring photos, short videos and GIFs designed to draw attention. These assets help brands connect with an audience via multiple channels and form the foundation of your brand identity.

How should you manage digital assets?

Making a good first impression and a lasting impression are both equally important in business. You want to manage digital files properly so you can always put your best foot forward in marketing and in communications, with vendors and customers alike.

Before the digital age, managing brand assets meant keeping file cabinets stuffed with all sorts of materials around the office. It could easily get cumbersome and hard to track. Today, digital asset management (DAM) software takes the place of the file cabinet. It makes it easier to store, edit, share and protect your content. Employees can play an active, collaborative role in modifying and sharing documents, images and other digital media while remaining true to your company’s brand voice.

DAM software exists for the purpose of making all digital assets identifiable, searchable and discoverable. It incorporates metadata into the process, which is data — such as keywords or phrases — used to describe a particular digital asset. This makes it easier for your company to build a consistent and strong brand voice across all marketing channels.

Take a holistic approach to digital assets

As a solitary tool, DAM software will not be completely effective in keeping your brand voice loud, strong and memorable. Think of it in terms of owning a car. Getting an occasional oil change isn’t the only thing you do to keep the engine running. You need to fill up other fluids, replace air filters, and do diagnostic checks to extend the life of your car.

Managing digital assets operates on a similar principle. You need to incorporate DAM software into a larger toolbox you use to create and share content. DAM software can be fully integrated to aid other functions such as web content management or digital advertising platforms. It can also be specialized to focus on a narrower channel like media production or brand management.

DAM software does come up short in key areas. It has no version control, no enforced brand guidelines, and no locked templates. The end result is chaos in systems where there should be order in building & maintaining a strong brand voice.

Lucidpress can pick up where DAM software leaves off. It lets you design templates with the latest logos, colors & other assets that align with your brand. You can update brand assets seamlessly and finally get old logos out of circulation. With our brand templating platform, you can create everything from newsletters to social media ads through cloud-based software and a user-friendly interface that promotes real-time collaboration.

Learn more about digital asset management in our comprehensive buyer’s guide.

Someone who cares.

When it comes down to life essentials, that’s all us humans need besides food, water, and shelter.

Our need for connection is wired into our brain because our own survival depends on it. As a result, we respond to and connect with other people who satisfy this fundamental need of ours.

There’s a big opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves not by being “the best” or “the first”, but the ones who care the most.

Is your company’s mission driven by the desire to help and support others?

If this your dominant characteristic, consider embracing the caregiver brand archetype. As the examples below reveal, there’s a lot you can achieve by growing into this narrative.

Does your brand fit the caregiver archetype?

As customers, we have an inevitable tendency to personify brands. This goes to show just how strong our need for emotional connection is.

If your brand personality already favors building relationships instead of coldly communicating product features, then you are already on track to become a caregiver.

Specifically, the characteristics of the caregiver archetype include:

Traditionally, these traits have been associated with NGOs, but there are several commercial brands that are true caregivers too.

In recent years, an increasing number of companies have grown based on these exact features. This strong foundation allowed them to develop a strong, recognizable brand with clarity and confidence.

The caregiver archetype examples below show exactly how they achieved this.

Truthful brand positioning has a ripple effect

We long for loving, secure relationships not only with people, but with other entities we interact. The more we depend on a company — for our water, safe travels or most sensitive data, the more we need to be able to trust it.

Organisations that embrace the caregiver archetype inspire trust due to their brand mission to help, protect, and care for others in ways they cannot do so themselves.

For example, Johnson & Johnson articulate mission clearly on their about page: “130 Years of Caring”.

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

In 2018, Johnson’s Baby (no affiliation with J&J) launched a campaign called “Choose gentle” that states their commitment to a similar idea:

“We believe in the immense, transformative power of gentle. Gentle is something the world can’t ever have too much of. #ChooseGentle”

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

P&G taps into similar values to articulate their mission:

“We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come.”

Another brand from the same industry, Honest, tells their story along the same lines:

“Our story began with a simple desire: to make the right choices for our families. We were parents in search of safe options, but unsure of where to turn. We needed one brand that we could go to for trusted products and information. And when we couldn’t find what we were looking for — and realized we weren’t alone — the idea for Honest was born.”

As you can notice, brands that fit the caregiver archetype seek to inspire others to act on the same nurturing tendencies. They do so by acting on their brand values and operating from a posture of:

NGOs are the best equipped to harness the power of this brand archetype in a significant, impactful way.

Unicef’s USP — “For every child” — speaks to their dedication of working to improve the wellbeing of children around the world.

“We campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all” states Amnesty International, pointing to the bigger picture and inspiring others to join their pursuit.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a similar position dedicated to selfless service:

“All Lives Have Equal Valuewe are impatient optimists working to reduce inequity”

For a caregiving brand, the core strategy is to do things for others. This can mean facilitating shared experiences or aligning people around common ideals. Also, this brand archetype excels at creating a feeling of belonging to something greater than oneself.

In this context, you can also achieve more clarity by assign a role for your brand to play in the market or in the community. You can be:

Developing your caregiver features can prove especially powerful for new brands seeking to build a recognizable personality. It can be equally helpful to companies trying to break out of their industry and reach a wider audience.

Being a constantly nurturing, supportive company creates a strong, consistent brand that customers are excited to endorse. That’s because these characteristics appeal to the universal values deeply embedded into our humanity.

Caregiver brands are good for everyone

When your company embodies the caregiver archetype, it:

To achieve these goals, pay attention to your brand voice. The caregiver is usually considerate, thoughtful, kind, positive, calm, and supportive. Can you identify these features in your communication?

Next, evaluate your visual identity. Do your color scheme, font choices, and layouts create experiences that reflect kindness and gentle understanding?

For example, Headspace — “Your guide to health and happiness” — breathes positivity into their users’ lives through their website, app, and all channels they use for communication.

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype
Guide to the caregiver brand archetype
Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

As you can see, their branding is remarkably consistent, albeit adapted to each channel’s specific communication style.

Another equally captivating example is Wistia, whose brand positioning empowers their customers to thrive: “Create, host, share, and measure your videos like the human you are. ?”.

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype
Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

Their branding is colorful but in a gentle, inviting way that combines feelings of calm and excitement in a way that feels healthy and balanced.

Wistia has also been recognized for their exceptional customer service which goes to strengthen their brand’s focus on helping others succeed.

Loyal followers will amplify your mission

Being a caregiver brand gives your customers a competitive advantage that’s associated with a powerful positive message.

Whether through shows kindness or empowering people to care for themselves, you will most likely attract people who value connection.

Those who have a lot of responsibility will naturally gravitate towards your brand as their tendency to look after other people is stronger.

If you make these customers feel loved, safe, taken care of, they will soon become thankful for your support. Nurturing that feeling of “we’re in this together” can lead to them becoming strong advocates for your mission who carry your message to their own circles of influence.

For example, The Salvation Army is top of mind for those who want to extend a helping hand to people across the world. When it comes to donations, they are also the first to come to mind.

Volvo launched in early 2019 the E.V.A. initiative which entailed sharing over 40 years of their own safety research so other car manufacturers can provide an equal level of safety for both men and women (who are at a disadvantage).

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

To make it easier for your followers to share your call to action, make sure you provide them with up to date, eye-catching brand assets they can use on their own channels.

Visuals always work best, especially when you combine them with a clear and compelling message. AVAAZ does a great job at this:

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

Ready to embrace the caregiver brand archetype and make the most of your resources to help others?

Start by unifying your communication around a clear set of values that will guide your strategy. Choose the role you want your brand to play in your community. Give it a voice, using words, visual assets, text and/or audio, and start attracting more loyal customers and supporters.

Strengthening your relationship with them puts you on a growth path that greatly benefits from the compound effect these acts of kindness have on everyone’s lives.

Is it time to update or refresh your brand’s identity? Learn more in our free ebook: How and why to rebrand your company

The main goal of your brand, as it is of any brand, is to make a profit and perhaps change some lives in the process.

But what if we said that every brand – whether intentional or not – has an underlying brand personality? And that this personality, sometimes referred to as a brand archetype, can actually be used to build deeper connections and drive more sales?

In this post, we’ll discuss the concept of brand archetypes. We’ll then highlight one archetype in particular – the magician.

Finally, we’ll show you how Lucidpress can help you to maintain a consistent brand personality across all of your campaigns and platforms. Let’s begin!

Why your brand archetype matters

The personality traits and characteristics of the magician archetype are well and good, but what does this matter to your brand?

It helps if you think of your brand as your company’s personality.

How do you want customers, potential customers, investors, and competitors to see you?

This is where the brand archetype comes in.

Humans like to connect with other humans. An archetype, then, helps your brand to appear more human. And this connection can lead to deeper, more fulfilling relationships.

Even further, this humanness can lead to more sales and higher profits.

The magician brand archetype

As the name suggests, the magician archetype is mysterious and somewhat elusive. They’re also incredibly persuasive and driven by the need to make positive change.

The magician archetype is far from the only one that exists, though. There are twelve brand archetypes in total. They are the:

1. Caregiver.

2. Creator.

3. Entertainer.

4. Explorer.

5. Girl/guy next door.

6. Hero.

7. Innocent.

8. Lover.

9. Magician.

10. Maverick.

11. Royalty.

12. Sage.

And while we’d love to dig deep into each one, we’ll be focusing on just one of these today: the magician.

A brand with the magician archetype is one that has lofty goals, but that also has the power and drive to attain those goals.

There are those who may say that the magician can even be a manipulator, but as with all things, balance is key.

Are you in need of brand inspiration? Let’s take a look at just three of popular brands with the magician archetype.

Example: Tesla

When you think of mystery and innovation, which brand comes to mind? For us, it’s Tesla.

Tesla is the American automotive and energy company owned by Elon Musk. Their goal? To change the world.

In fact, innovation and positive change seems to drive everything they do.

From mock-ups of their next vehicle model to their Instagram feed, Tesla is all about making an impact.

Example: Disney

When it comes to creating magical moments, who does it better than Disney?

Whether you’re watching their movies, cruising the seven seas on their liners, or strolling through their parks and chatting with your favorite characters come to life — Disney makes the impossible, possible.

Example: Red Bull

The owner of Red Bull doesn’t have plans to go to Mars (that we know of, anyway!), and they don’t own and operate the happiest place on Earth. But where Red Bull gets it right is in it’s lofty approach to brand marketing.

The brand’s slogan is simple, but explicit: “Red Bull gives you wings!”

In essence, they claim their drink is the magic potion that will help you to achieve your goals and even make a dream come true.

Which businesses would benefit from the archetype

You may have aggressive goals, and perhaps you even hope to change the world. But that’s not all it takes to become a standout brand that falls under the magician archetype.

Just as with the other archetypes, there are those that would benefit more from this angle. They include brands that:

That’s not to say that you can’t incorporate bits of the magician archetype into your overall brand strategy. But this is definitely not an archetype for the weak at heart!

How Lucidpress can help you to design your brand

A consistent brand design is crucial, but also difficult to achieve in reality.

That’s where Lucidpress can help.

Lucidpress is an online print and digital software program that helps you achieve your brand goals. How? Well, one way is with our brand management software.

As a brand templating platform, Lucidpress is a great way to help your marketing team stay on brand and generate the exact marketing content you need.

First and foremost, Lucidpress offers you one centralized location to store and manage all of your digital brand files. From anywhere in the world, your team members can access anything they need.

But Lucidpress is also a secure place to store your brand assets, including logos, fonts, and templates.

With Lucidpress, you don’t have to worry about finding the latest version of a logo on your computer, or uploading your brand-approved font for each digital design task. Just upload them once, and you’re all set!

And finally, Lucidpress enables you to design and distribute your branded content across numerous channels.

The drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to build brand templates, and you can then share with your team – or the world – with just a few clicks.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to bring your brand to life with the help of Lucidpress.

Your brand is one of your company’s most powerful assets. It encapsulates everything you want people to know about the business—what you value, what you stand for, and what you’re trying to do.

Which is why brand extension can be such a stressful process. Using the strength of your brand to enter a new market gives you a headstart that new companies can’t match.

Understanding how to extend your brand is crucial for engaging markets. Before you launch a new product or adopt a new strategy, you’ll need to think about a few things.

Before we get into those things, though, let’s agree on a brand extension definition.

What is brand extension?

Brand extension is the use of an existing brand name and logo on a new product. The original brand identity is called the parent brand, and the new products are called spin-offs. Companies use this strategy to capitalize on the brand equity of their existing brand to launch new products and enter new markets.

Let’s look at Apple. For 25 years, the company built personal computers. And they were good at it. That’s what they were known for—powerful, attractive computers that were easy to use.

And then they entered an entirely new industry: personal music devices. The iPod was an immediate and immense success. We’ll talk about how Apple pulled this off in a bit. First, let’s talk about why it was a good idea.

Why brand extension is so powerful

Apple had built a very strong brand over 25 years of making personal computers. Why would they risk diluting that brand by entering a new industry? The stakes are high, and the chance of failure keeps many business owners from even considering a big move like this one.

But Apple knew that building on their brand would be immeasurably valuable if they did it right.

Companies spend years and millions of dollars solidifying their brand. Marketing campaigns, social media interactions, advertising, public relations, and product development all contribute to a brand’s strength.

Why? Because consumers recognize and value brands. People are more likely to buy products from brands they know, whether they feel explicit brand loyalty or not.

This type of brand recognition means that the presence of a strong parent brand—like Apple—can significantly boost the sales of new products. Introducing a completely new product is hard. It’s much easier when that product is backed by a recognizable brand.

But sometimes his type of thinking can get companies into trouble.

Where brand extension goes wrong

Not every brand extension builds on a strong brand to create huge sales. Let’s look at an entertaining brand extension failure: Zippo Fragrances.

Zippo is a very strong brand in the world of cigarette lighters. Their name, design, and even the sound of the product is very distinctive. If you see a Zippo, you know it. Can you name another brand of non-disposable lighter? Probably not.

This is a strong brand. Zippo wanted to use their brand equity to enter a new field.

Why they picked perfumery is anyone’s guess.

The company actually used some good brand extension tactics. They kept the brand name and even used their distinctive lighter design for the perfume and cologne bottles.

But absolutely no one thinks of Zippo when they think of perfumery. Instead of seeing the brand and thinking, “I trust Zippo,” people think “Why would Zippo make a cologne?” That’s a failed brand extension.

Zippo missed a crucial ingredient of the brand extension recipe.

How to get it right

If you’re thinking about extending your brand, it’s worth looking at some recent successes. Look at Tesla’s expansion into trucking, for example. O, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine. Tootsie Pops. Virgin Airlines (and dozens of other Virgin-branded forays).

What do these brand extensions have in common? Above all, they play to the parent brand’s strengths. Tesla already knows how to build great vehicles. Oprah knows how to tell stories that capture the hearts and minds of her audience. Tootsie Roll knows how to make a candy that people love. Virgin knows customer service better than almost anyone.

Successful brand extension strategies place the new product as a logical extension of previous ones. That’s why Zippo perfume isn’t a household name. Everyone knows Zippo for their lighters. Their brand equity didn’t transfer to their beauty products.

Apple knew their brand equity would transfer to the iPod because their brand was already adjacent to the music device industry.

Be careful with brand extensions to reap their rewards

Brand extensions can be hugely valuable. But when used without enough forethought, they can also be disastrous.

It’s crucial to give any potential brand extension a great deal of thought. If you do decide to extend your brand, make sure to apply your branding consistently to take advantage of the loyalty that you’ve been building for years.

Don’t be like Zippo. Be like Apple.

How can brands stay competitive in today’s design-centric world? Explore the rise of the design democracy, then learn how your organization can ride it to the top.

Here’s a promise: by the end of this article you’ll know exactly what a brand promise is and you’ll have plenty of examples that will help you have your own in a matter of minutes.

And there’s something more.

Are you ever a bit confused about some of the marketing jargon out there?

Maybe you’re wondering:

I understand—everyone is using these terms with their own interpretation, right?

Fortunately, by the end of this article, everything will be clear. Promise.

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

What is a brand promise?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Las Vegas? Was it something related to gambling, poker, blackjack, casinos or nightlife?

What’s the first thing you think about when I say Volvo? Was it something related to safety?

What’s the first thought you have when I say Mercedes? Was it something about quality and luxury?

You see, a brand promise is your perception of how you feel about a brand.

A brand promise is not a tagline.

Do you know the tagline of Mercedes or Volvo?

Probably not, right? But you know what their promise is.

You know that they promise you a luxury car (Mercedes) or a safe car (Volvo).

And there’s one more important thing. You know that they can keep their promises.

But, this is starting to sound like a unique value proposition, right? You promise something that only you have, and people will remember you. Or… is it?

Let’s see.

A brand promise is not a unique value proposition (but it incorporates one).

A unique value proposition (or a unique selling point) basically says:

  1. What you do
  2. Who you serve (or sell to)
  3. How you solve your customer’s needs
  4. And how you’re different.

Here are a couple of examples:

For {target} who {statement of the need or opportunity}, {Name} is {product category} that {statement of benefit}.

For content marketing companies who always have tight deadlines, ContentBoost is the content creation software which helps teams produce long-form articles, blog posts and ebooks on high-speed because it lets you build on each other’s ideas.

We help X do Y doing Z

We help content creation teams write better and faster by dragging and dropping research into documents.

We do X, but the difference is {primary differentiator}

We help content teams put all their content together, but the difference is that writers are also able to pull from that database and add to a library of bite-sized research.

Is this enough to have a strong brand promise? Let’s do a quick imagination exercise.

You and I don’t know each other.

But let’s say we randomly meet at an event, and I tell you I recently started a company that creates the safest cars on the road ever — even better than Volvo.

Basically, let’s say I just tell you my unique value proposition. A simple statement that says what my company does for who and how we’re different.

Would you believe me? Probably not, right? You’ve just met me.

And if someone asked you half a year later what the top 3 safest car brands are, would you mention my company?

There’s probably 0 chance you have that instant association between my company and your safety. This is why a unique selling point is different than a brand promise.

So what is, in fact, a brand promise?

There are two kinds of brand promises: an implied one and an explicit one

For instance, an element of every airline company’s brand promise is that they will get you to your destination safely. You don’t have to promise that any more. It’s an obvious (implied) brand promise.

Let’s take another example.

A restaurant’s implied brand promise will be that they provide great food with great service. No one comes to a restaurant expecting an awful customer experience, right?

But, there are also other elements that are explicitly stated.

For instance, when FedEx first started out, they promised you that they “will get your package to you by 10:30 am the next day.”

This is a promise that 1) was different from what everyone else had, and 2) was also something people might not expect, so they stated it explicitly.

Here’s the most simple, short and down-to-earth brand promise definition:

A brand promise is what you instantly KNOW and FEEL about a brand.

But how do you create such a lasting brand purpose or promise? How do you get people to instantly associate your brand with a certain quality like safety, quality, luxury, or whatever you want?

How do you move people from being total strangers to trusting your brand?

You will see that a brand promise is, in fact, more like a process — and it’s part of the whole branding strategy and brand identity.

Let’s see what the essential elements you should take into consideration are if you want to create an effective brand purpose that people will remember.

1) Start with a promise that you would tell a friend

If you want people to remember something about your brand, it first must be clear for you what that something is.

And the way you do that is by actually telling it to a friend or an ideal customer.

Let’s do a short exercise that will help you create a first draft of your brand promise.

Imagine you’re drinking a coffee with your core customer. He is right in front of you, and he’s the best buyer in the world:

And now, he is just waiting for a reason to buy something from you.

What do you promise him in exchange for his hard-earned money?

It all boils down to this:

If you give me X amount of money I PROMISE I will give you _____ {this product / service} which will help you do / achieve / become _____ {introduce benefits} better than ____ {other services/products} because ____ {why you’re unique}.

Let’s say you’re the marketing manager or the CMO of an electronic e-commerce business.

Here’s an example of what your brand promise can be:

If you give me $1000, I promise I will give you this super-fast, octa-core laptop which will help you simultaneously work on however many engineering programs you want (without buffering or crashing).

What makes us unique is that we’re the only ones who use quantum computing, and we’re also the only ones who offer 10 years’ guarantee on every single product you buy from us.

You see, the brand promise isn’t a tagline. It isn’t “Just do it” or “Think different.” Because that’s not what you would say to a person face-to-face.

And this doesn’t have to be limited to a single product or service. It can be also adapted to a more general promise.

Let’s take the example above and apply it to the company level.

If you choose to do business with us, I promise you’ll never have to suffer from having a dysfunctional device, whether it’s a phone, laptop or any other electronic device.

This is because we’re the only ones who have developed special partnerships with all our suppliers, and we’re giving you not just a 10-year guarantee for almost any product you get from us, but free full service and support for the period your device isn’t functioning properly.

But is that all? This is the brand promise?

What if someone else comes along and says the same thing — or what if you don’t have something so unique to begin with?

What if, for instance, you want to create a brand promise for a restaurant, but you don’t have any special dishes?

This is how you start developing a more effective brand promise.

If you want people to remember it and instantly associate the quality you want — like great customer service, for instance — you also need the next elements.

2) Create a mental movie in people’s minds by making everything ultra-specific

One day, a friend of mine decided to do a little experiment:

He randomly called about 10 local pizza shops. He said something like: “Hello, I want to come to your place with 10 friends, but one of the guys insists on going to another restaurant. I need your help to convince him: why is your pizza better?”

Here are just some of the responses he got.

Response #1: (Annoyed) “Hmm… Not sure. It’s your call.”

That’s how not to make a promise…

Response #2: “We use high-quality ingredients.”

This sounds good, but what does quality mean? Plus, do you know anyone who says they don’t use high-quality materials, no matter what they’re selling?

You see, this is an implied brand promise. Quality, great customer service, great food, etc.

You don’t go to a restaurant and expect bad food, right?

So, there must be a better way to make a brand promise. Let’s look at another response my friend got.

(Full disclosure: the person who answered this time was actually the owner of the restaurant.)

Response #3“Oh, well, we use high-quality ingredients. For instance, our sauce and flour are made with true Italian ingredients.

Take the cheese, too. It’s not just cow-milk mozzarella. Instead, we use a buffalo-milk mozzarella.

And there’s also the sauce. Sir, we don’t use pre-prepared sauce. We use genuine San Marzano tomatoes right from Italy!

We’ve been handcrafting pizza for 5 generations. With every crispy bite you take, you taste 90 years of pizza-baking mastery!”

You see, the promise is really simple: You get tasty, Italian pizza with high-quality, authentic ingredients, and you can be sure it’s good because they’ve been perfecting it for generations.

See how it all changes when you actually put a picture in people’s heads about what those high-quality ingredients mean or what experience means?

Now, is this enough to earn a special place in people’s minds?

Well, it is a good start. But if you really want to get people to remember your brand promise, you need to apply element number three from our list.

3) Repeat it over and over again. Across all the channels.

By now, you’ve created the first draft of your brand promise.

You know what to promise if you’re face-to-face with your ideal client.

You also made it ultra-specific, and you can give people all the details on how you’re different and why they should choose you.

But, there are so many other brands that try to do the same. How do you get through the noise and get people to remember you?

Here is the simplest but most powerful thing you can do:

Repeat it as many times as you can. And keep it consistent across every communication channel you use.

Why is this so efficient?

Well, because each time you repeat your brand promise, you deliver it to people who might not have noticed it previously.

There’s more.

With each repetition of your core message, your audience gets more familiar with your brand, products & services, and company.

This leads to familiarity, to that feeling of acceptance.

Once people begin to accept your brand, and your promise, they also begin trusting you.

Ultimately, this opens the door to more sales with less resistance.

The bottom line is this: no matter how strong, unique or specific your brand promise might be, people won’t remember it unless you repeat it often.

How do you repeat a brand promise without annoying people? Here’s how.

4) Use the power of suggestion to make your brand promise memorable

How do you suggest to people what you want them to remember?

Metaphors, comparisons, analogies and stories are some of the most powerful persuasion techniques you can use. They’re like a backdoor to the human mind (see what I did here?), which make your ideas stick faster and longer than a rational explanation or affirmation.

By employing these little techniques, you can repeat your brand promise without annoying your audience.

For instance, here’s a visual metaphor used by Viagra when it began selling on Amazon.

Elements of an effective brand promise

As… bold as that was, you can still go a step further. Here’s a mind-blowing example.

Red Bull’s promise is that it gives you the energy to achieve whatever you want. It will help you do extraordinary stuff because it increases your performance, concentration, reaction speed, vigilance, etc. It empowers you to go beyond limits, right?

So, how could they express this better than a jump from the stratosphere?

During a 9-minute fall, Felix Baumgartner set records for both the height of the jump and the speed of descent (830 mph!).

Who gave wings to Felix? Red Bull — the event organizer and company that made all this possible.

The bottom line is this: let people get the moral of the story. This is how you build that instant association between a certain attribute and a brand.

5) Keep your promises. Even in the little details.

You know what they say: trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.

It’s true for human relationships, and it’s true for brands, too.

You spend a lot of money to get people to finally believe in your promise, but if you don’t pay attention to the little details, it can all fall apart.

Here are some photos I’ve taken over the years that perfectly illustrate brand promise misalignments.

For instance, let’s say you’re boarding a plane and you see this:

Elements of an effective brand promise

The implied brand promise — that they will get you safely to your destination — is gone. In an instant.

It’s possible the plane was perfectly safe and the window wasn’t a threat to anyone’s safety, but the message communicated by this photo screams anything but.

Or, here’s a sign that I saw posted by the side of the road:

Elements of an effective brand promise

They might have a class “A” office, but they definitely get an F for design.

Based on this sign, would you truly believe they have an impressive office?

Or, let’s say you’re waiting in a doctor’s examining room and you see this:

Elements of an effective brand promise

Is this where a doctor should keep his thermometer sleeves?

I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a used cup — but if you think about it, the implied brand promise of any company is (or should be) attention to detail, clean supplies, etc. By failing to pick up on that, you could be sending harmful messages about your brand promise without even knowing it.

Now, let’s see a positive example of a brand promise.

FedEx’s core promise is that they will go to great lengths to deliver your package on time. And they have stories to prove that. For instance, a driver called Mike O’Donal single-handedly salvaged Christmas for one of his customers.

The customer found out just a few days before the holiday that he sent the package to the wrong address, and it didn’t reach its destination.

The package contained the only Christmas gift the customer could afford to give her daughter, and now it was in someone else’s hands.

So, the driver tried to retrieve the package. When the person at that address denied receiving it, O’Donal decided to play Santa Claus.

Elements of an effective brand promise

He purchased a duplicate gift out of his own pocket in time for Christmas Eve.

Through his actions, O’Donal did more than just replace a gift — he earned the customer’s gratitude and loyalty.

A quick recap on how to create a brand promise that sticks in people’s minds

A brand promise is like the moral of the story. Just like in the fairy tales, the moral was rarely directly stated or called out, but it’s implied through every aspect of the story.

For instance, nowhere in Pinocchio does it say that lying makes you look bad — but in the end, that’s the message we take with us.

So, here are the most important elements of a successful brand promise:

  1. Tell your brand promise as you would tell it to your ideal customer face-to-face.
  2. Describe your promise in detail. What does “quality” actually mean?
  3. Repeat it across all the channels. Repetition works.
  4. Use the power of suggestion: start with analogies, comparisons & metaphors.
  5. Make sure you keep your promises, even when it comes to the little things.

Ready to start building your brand? Learn about the 10 assets you need to effectively manage a brand online in our free ebook.

Folder structures. Files by the thousands. Cloud sharing that goes awry when trying to search for something.

“Where can I find the latest version?” messages over Slack or email.

Download V5. Upload V6. Share it with the team for feedback.

“That doesn’t look quite right.”

If you’re familiar with this scenario, you’re most likely looking for an effective way to solve it and ensure a solid foundation for future growth. We’re here to provide clarity and solutions so you can streamline how you create and manage your visual assets.

We do this every day for our customers and believe your marketing team can become a lot more productive with the right tools and workflows in place.

You can use this practical overview to validate use cases for image management software in your organization to save time, money, and a lot of energy.

Let’s dig in!

What is image management software?

The contemporary marketer needs to deliver high-quality work in a visually compelling manner that fits every platform in a custom approach. This requires being able to preview, find, work with, and share images faster than ever before.

An image management system caters to these specific needs. It provides your marketing team with a platform where you can cluster and organize all your digital images and visual assets so everyone can view, use, and distribute them.

As your brand grows, makeshift solutions won’t do. You need image management software that’s tailored to your challenges so you can focus on growth instead of answering repetitive operational questions.

What’s more, using it means you’ll spend less time adjusting access levels as your team members change. It also helps to worry less about security issues which have become prominent in recent years.

A high-performance marketing team knows that the right software can boost productivity and free up mind space for valuable creative work.

Streamline your workflow with visual assets

Today’s best image management software options are cloud-based, built for accessibility, and highly flexible.

For example, marketing teams that create a lot of content want to be able to track the entire life cycle of their marketing materials. This means being able to:

An image management system that’s well implemented within a marketing team reduces friction by enabling content creators to both be self-managed and collaborate effectively.

Marketing managers can also improve their speed when reviewing visual assets and giving feedback. They can also:

Once you’ve experienced the challenges of not having a dedicated software solution in place, you know how valuable it is to align teams across departments and get them to use the right visual assets on the right channels, in the right formats (without being annoyingly repetitive about it).

The visibility and control image management software provides is fundamental for maintaining brand consistency. When everyone uses templates, images, graphics, and illustrations that belong to the same design iteration and have the same quality, your brand becomes stronger, stabler, and even more trusted.

Digital asset management vs image management software

Two main challenges have led to the creation of specific tools to address them:

Two of the main options marketing managers have are DAMs (digital asset management systems) and IMSs (image management software).

To make it easier for you to choose the right platform for your team, here’s the big picture comparison between their usual features.


image management features

While digital asset management software can handle most file formats your company works with, image management solutions may be a little less flexible.

DAMs usually support a variety of file types, from JPG to AI, DOCX, EPS, FLV, GIF, INDD, M4A, RAW, WMA, ZIP, TIFF and many more.

For security reasons, both DAMs and IMSs restrict uploading executable files (such as EXE, MSI or DLL).

Close the gap in your visual assets’ life cycle

As you can see, there is some overlap between image management software solutions and digital asset management ones, with the latter providing a richer set of features.

However, you should know that your choices aren’t limited to these two types of platforms.

In fact, if you find their core functions falling short of your needs, you can use a brand templating platform to close the gaps in their offering.

Say the design team has just wrapped up a set of illustrations for a guide your company created for customer onboarding. You might want to make those illustrations available for the content team that writes articles for the company blog.

You can upload them to your DAM or IMS, tag them, add a quick note for context and share them with the appropriate team.

However, you need to ensure they’re used on-brand and at the highest possible quality. (No one likes blurry visuals in blog posts in this day and age.)

Your team can use Lucidpress to create graphics that integrate the illustrations while respecting brand guidelines. In Lucidpress, you can store approved colors, fonts, logos, and templates and other elements content creators need to work with.

What’s more, you can lock individual elements or specific attributes in a template so that brand consistency is always on point. The elements you can lock include shapes, images, text boxes, and more.

Once your digital assets are ready, you can easily export them from Lucidpress to your DAM or image management software of choice in a variety of formats such as PNG, JPG, SVG, PDF, INDD, IDML and more.

Key takeaways

If you find yourself looking for solutions to improve your productivity, streamline processes in your team, and keep your brand consistent across channels and assets, know that you have plenty of options to choose from.

Moreover, you can set select them so that they integrate with each other, saving you even more time and energy spent on moving visual elements from one platform to another.

Hopefully, this kick starts a new era for your marketing team, defined by increased productivity and a stronger brand coherence every time you show up for your customers.

Learn more about digital asset management in our comprehensive buyer’s guide.

According to Bain and Company, the luxury goods market is set to double in size from 2020 to 2030, reaching over $617 billion by 2030.

From watches to condos, business is booming. Even discount retailers like Target partner with designers like RHODE to attract customers shopping for high fashion at affordable prices.

But what does it take to build a luxury brand? What makes good luxury branding stand out? Here you’ll find everything you need to know about building a luxury brand from the ground up. 

Let’s get started, shall we?

What is a luxury brand?

The definition of a luxury brand can change depending on the type of brand you’re describing.

In consumer goods, it’s Louis Vuitton and expensive couture fashion. In hospitality, bespoke travel experiences in exclusive or boutique locations would be considered luxury.


[Some of today’s most recognizeable luxury brands]

According to THAT Agency, five factors clearly define a luxury brand:

Ultimately, consumer perception plays a huge role in elevating luxury brands above others. People associate luxury brands with higher prices, higher quality, rarity, and a sense of exclusivity.  

Take Louis Vuitton, for example. Since 1854, the French brand has consistently worked to perfect their luxury brand. Today, they stand out for several reasons:


How to build a luxury brand

Ready to learn how to build a luxury brand from scratch? We’ve got you covered.

The brand leadership experts at Martin Roll suggest a five-step framework to build a strong luxury brand:

Get specific about who you’re targeting. 

There’s a niche audience out there that cares about your brand/product/mission. Figure out exactly who they are, and focus on one audience persona when you’re getting started. After your brand is well-established, broaden your definition of an ideal customer.

Do things differently. 

Differentiation is a key focus for emerging brands. Narrow down what makes your luxury brand unique? Do you specialize in custom made, bespoke products or services? Are your items handmade? Highlighting what makes you unique is essential to standing out.

Become a status symbol.

Focus on how influencers in a specific niche are using your product or service. By creating the perception that only the most discerning buy into your brand, everyone in your target market will too.

Create exclusivity. 

New luxury brands can tap into exclusivity by offering special perks to existing customers. High price tags and scarcity are other ways to employ this strategy. For example, Aston Martin combined a high price tag with scarcity when it created the Aston Martin One-77. The British car maker made a whopping total of 77 cars and sold them at $1.8M dollars each.

Consistently delivery on your brand promises

The bar for luxury brands is high. You’ll need to raise your game and keep your brand promises in every single customer interaction. Never compromise on your mission, purpose, and commitment to quality.

How to market your luxury brand

Once your luxury brand is established, it’s important to maintain a consistent brand identity through marketing.

Create a consistent brand from day one.

Start with a company style guide that gives your marketing team technical details about your brand’s look, including appropriate colors, fonts and styles. Keep in mind this is a living document that will evolve with your brand.

Make branded templates to protect brand identity.

Avoid a brand identity crisis by using brand management software like Marq. Create locked templates that keep logos from getting stretched and colors from being changed, no matter who’s working on your materials.

Engage in cause marketing and brand activism.

Cause marketing (aka brand activism) is a great way to get customers to connect to you on an emotional level. Consider your brand’s purpose and what it stands for. Are there any nonprofits or groups you can collaborate with or donate to to raise awareness?

Go all-in on SEO.

No matter how luxurious your brand is, no one will know about it if they can’t find it on Google. Invest in SEO strategies to increase visibility for your brand in the long-term.

Key takeaway

Building a strong luxury brand isn’t for the faint-hearted. With a detailed strategy and proper brand building techniques, you’re well on your way to becoming the next big thing on the luxury scene.

Need help keeping your luxury brand identity consistent? Marq has a template for that. Browse our brand template library here

Do you remember the dark days before cloud storage and internet searches? I know I do.

Today, if you have a question or need to know something right now, I’ll bet you do the same thing we all do… Google it. Gone are the days of the Dewey Decimal system and library searches that limit you to the knowledge in books they have onsite. Gone (thank goodness) are the days of inserting floppy disk after floppy disk (despite your best labeling efforts), madly trying to find that one photo you need for an ad or that flyer your team created last year that you to repurpose for a last-minute client meeting.

If you’re a young millennial or younger, you’re likely shaking your head no. You’ve grown up with the internet and all of its magical powers of information filing and seeking. But before Google became synonymous with finding things on the ‘net — and storing them for you via Google Drive (or Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive) — finding your files and sharing them sometimes felt like the hero’s quest for the grail.

Of course, this didn’t solve every file management problem. It’s one thing to have a system for storing your own collection of files and media — but what happens when you add more people to the equation? Predictably, it becomes much more complex. That’s the situation many companies and marketing teams find themselves in as they start to grow and build up their multimedia assets.

What is media asset management?

Details, please. A media asset management (or MAM) system provides a single warehouse for storing and managing video and multimedia files.

Think of it like your own private ‘Google’ that you can adopt for your media storage, brand integrity, usage analytics and team collaboration needs, helping you and your team easily find, edit, share and centrally store all of your media assets and projects so that the most recent versions are accessible to anyone (to whom you grant access), anytime, anywhere.

Yes, content is king. But asset management is most definitely queen.

The right media asset management software empowers you to build a strong, consistent brand and maintain its consistency across all types of marketing collateral. Most users are impressed by how intuitive, flexible, logical, and easy the software is to use. It’s a cost-effective approach that has proven very successful for the world’s most powerful brands in managing their digital assets.

Why it’s so important

So why is media asset management so important? If your organization is still depending on internal folder structures and email to manage content, it’s likely costing the company money.

This is money in lost time, inefficiencies, recreating the wheel over and over, emails back-and-forth between team members, and reduced production or ability to take on new work. It may also be causing the company less tangible side-effects like employee stress, breakdowns in brand compliance, loss of version control, and loose file security.

So much media, too little management. Much like the saying “With great power comes great responsibility,” today most of us have more media than we know how to (properly) manage. And it’s costing us big time. According to PR Newswire, inefficient knowledge sharing costs large businesses $47 million per year.

According to the Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report, “U.S. knowledge workers waste 5.3 hours every week either waiting for vital information from their colleagues or working to recreate existing institutional knowledge. That wasted time translates into delayed projects, missed opportunities, frustration among employees, and significant impact on the bottom line.”

Talk money to me. That’s one solid reason to switch your content management to a MAM system or brand templating platform. But what is the full ROI of media asset management?

Based on impact to the bottom line alone, it’s crucial for every brand to manage their assets properly, using media asset management software (or digital asset management software – but we’ll get to that later).

Have you ever had to find a flyer your team made sometime last year right now to impress a new client with samples of your work, with little regard for the 40,000 files in your internal folder structure? Or put a few grey hairs on your head trying to work with multiple players across your organization to storyboard, produce, animate, and record voiceover for a video highlighting a new product? 

If so, I’ll bet this took hours or weeks. With a MAM system, you can reduce this to minutes and days. Imagine the time (and sanity) saved by gaining hours of your life back for other tasks — not to mention the money…

MAM: What marketing managers, CMOs, and digital asset managers need to know. The leadership and tools you provide your team, and the instructions they follow, produce the future you create.

Next-generation media requires new ways to manage it. Lucidpress is revolutionizing modern media asset management that keeps companies in control of their content, regardless of industry, size, or the number of people on your team. Learn more >>>

Use cases for media asset management

A MAM system gives you and your team greater control with your media, digital assets, and content over how you:

The difference between MAM and DAM

I’m listening. So, what is the difference between media asset management (MAM) and digital asset management (DAM), you ask? The answer isn’t always clear.

First, the similarities: Both MAM and DAM relate to content management and are used to store, organize, and retrieve digital assets that must instantly accessible. You can think of them much like Pinterest and many other social networks and consumer sites, including Instagram, Canva, and Flickr that people use to store digital files. The goals are the same, while some of the features differ.

And the differences? In the past, DAMs wouldn’t typically manage rich media assets like audio and video (you needed a MAM for that), but that is quickly changing. With these changes, often the terms MAM and DAM are used interchangeably. The systems share similar features and there is a lot of crossover.

However, there is still a fine line between the two. DAM software takes the control, flexibility, portability, and access also found in MAM systems, and adds reporting to it – the ability to track and measure digital asset engagement across an organization and its potential reach.

In general, a DAM asset is defined as the media content and its metadata. The metadata can simply include the name, author, or creation date of a file, or track more complex information like extracted speech converted to text from a stored video, or the rights and fees around image use. Here is a page that explains the benefits of DAM nicely.

Which is better (DAM or MAM)? It depends. If you’re looking for audio or video storage and close integration with editing applications, MAM may be the way to go. Conversely, if you’re managing thousands or more assets of different types for many different users within your organization and want to allow different permissions for many of them and need to use analytics from metadata to tailor your content and reach your target audience, a DAM is a better bet.

Features to look for:

You want a straightforward solution to easily manage all of your content, videos, assets and graphics. You’ll also want to make sure the system is expandable later, as your company and your team grows, and provides enterprise-level functionality.

It goes without saying that you want a platform that allows easy migration from your current system while preserving your existing content archives without downtime or the need to restore media during migration.

Here are some must-have features to look for in a MAM or DAM platform:

The best asset management platforms have even more features to help your team manage your brand assets properly. With the Lucidpress brand templating platform, you can:

Who benefits from media asset management?

The short answer: everyone. The longer answer: every member of your team, from management to marketing to design to sales.

The proof is in the profit, and I don’t mean only the cash-money bottom line (though, as we’ve learned above, it definitely helps that, too). I’m talking about the importance of building a strong, consistent brand through employee and team efficiencies, stress reduction, data security, knowledge capture and preservation, and brand asset management.

The tools you use are just as important as the work you put into creating the content. Better outcomes. (Less swearing.) Sometimes the hardest work of all is figuring out how to make it easy.

A brand templating platform like Lucidpress is a great way to help marketing teams stay on brand and generate all the marketing content you need. In fact, Lucidpress can be an excellent partner or replacement for DAM software.

Key takeaway

If you’re doing it right, your brand assets are audience-ready. You have instant access to the most up-to-date files to deliver the right content and target your customer in the most effective way. And that should make any content marketer’s job easier.

No matter which MAM option you choose or currently use, by integrating Lucidpress with your stack, you can easily and quickly design on-brand content, then store and share those assets with your employees.

As secure technology becomes more important in many businesses & organizations, there is a growing need for new positions & roles so that there are plenty of people to manage all this new IT. One such role is that of the digital asset manager.

This position is now very important within any company that obtains & stores any kind of digital assets. These might be things like photos, videos, website content, and much more. If these aren’t stored, managed and used correctly, then it could potentially cause some really big headaches for the company.

Since digital asset managers are still a relatively new position, some companies are still unclear why they might need one. Here’s our complete guide to what a digital asset manager is and does.

What does a digital asset manager do?

First, let’s take a look at what a digital asset manager does. One of the first things to note is that you shouldn’t confuse this with digital asset management (DAM), as this refers to the software that helps with the job. The digital asset manager is the person who is responsible for all digital assets. Here’s an overview of their general responsibilities.

What skills should a digital asset manager have?

There are a lot of transferable skills that a successful digital asset manager will possess, as well as a few that are very job-specific. Not sure if you have what it takes to tackle this role? You might be surprised.

If you check out some of the digital asset manager roles advertised on sites like Glassdoor, you will see what companies expect from their applicants. Here’s a rundown of some of the main skills that are required in most digital asset management positions.

There are plenty of skills that a digital asset manager requires, but thankfully, most of them are ones that can be quickly picked up and learned on the job. You can give yourself a head start over the competition by searching for opportunities to practice these skills in your current work situation.

Key takeaway

As you can see, this relatively new role of digital asset manager is becoming more important to a range of companies, industries and sectors. If you run a company or manage a brand, then you should definitely consider hiring a suitable candidate as soon as possible. In the mean time, you can purchase DAM software to help protect your company’s brand and its digital assets.

Learn more about digital asset management software in our comprehensive buyer’s guide.

Creative briefs are a lot like lighthouses: they provide essential guidance and direction for creatives working on large and small projects alike. Without a beacon, it’s easy for your project to get moored or lost at sea — think Castaway but at your job. And no Tom Hanks or Wilson by your side for company or relief.

You want your creative briefs to be both concise and thorough. A good creative brief goes a long way. It helps maintain efficiency across teams and ensures individual contributors feel supported, happy and appreciated. But it also takes time. To help you maintain steam and produce creative briefs that (ahem) get the job done, we compiled a shortlist of questions to consider as you write:

Answering these questions provides you with the clarity and structure needed to fully flesh out your creative need. So whether you need a one-page press release or a 15-page ebook, you can trust your brief to communicate your project’s scope effectively.

Now, let’s cover some basics.

What is a creative brief?

A creative brief is a detailed summary of a creative project.

Typically a brief is filled out by whoever is making the request. At a baseline, it needs to include The Basics:

That said, different types of briefs have different kinds of requirements — but don’t worry about that right now, we’ll touch more on that shortly.

What are the benefits of a creative brief?

Two parties benefit the most from creative briefs: the requesting party and the creative team.

For example, say a sales agent needs a unique one-pager for an event they’re planning to attend in a month. That sales agent would fill out a creative brief and then send it to the creative team. From there, the creative team can slot the project into their production queue, quickly fill the request using a pre-templatized format, or temporarily backlog it depending on their workflow.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into how to write a creative brief for copy, design, and PR departments.

What are the main types of creative briefs?

Creative briefs are built to cover a broad spectrum of project needs. We’ve identified three different types of briefs:

What do I need to include in a creative brief?

A copy brief is going to be a little bit different than a design or PR brief. No matter what, you’ll want to cover your bases thoroughly. We recommend using a pre-formatted brief template to make your life easier. (You can mark the fields N/A if they don’t apply to your project.) And keep in mind all creative briefs need to include The Basics — plus a few extra tidbits.

But, how do you know what information goes into what brief? We’ve outlined what you’ll need to include in 3 different types of briefs (copy, design, and PR) to help you get the ball rolling.

Copy brief

Design brief

PR brief

Examples of creative briefs

In case you wanted a frame of reference before you get started (visual learning style, anyone?), we’ve included some modified creative brief examples from our template gallery.

Copy brief

Modified from our Simple project proposal template

Design brief

Modified from our General project proposal template

PR brief

Created in Lucidpress

In brief

At the end of the day, creative briefs bridge the gap between good ideas and polished projects. They empower creative teams to stay on-task, on-time, and on-brand. And with the help of a pre-formatted creative brief template, you can quickly and easily insert information, send and process requests, and do more as a team. After all, who doesn’t want to save time and energy — while getting more done as a company?

Okay, so, now that you’ve been briefed on how to write a creative brief, it’s time to let your colors fly. Show us your briefs!

Download a free creative brief template to get started

Making sure every touchpoint — from content to sales — remains on-brand is essential. But when you have seemingly limitless decisions to make regarding a new product, marketing campaign, or anything else related to your business, it can be difficult to keep all the moving parts properly aligned.

That’s where a brand positioning statement comes into play. A brand positioning statement is a helpful point of reference whenever you need to make decisions about strategy, marketing campaigns or products.

What is a positioning statement?

A brand positioning statement is a short and concise description that sums up your brand. It includes:

A brand positioning statement is designed to be used internally. That said, it can provide helpful context for any content being created by in-house writers, freelancers or creative agencies. And while a brand positioning statement isn’t necessarily very long, you should still dedicate a solid block of time to crafting it.

In addition to creating a positioning statement, you should also write a value proposition. A value proposition should describe the beneficial features of your product, services, strategy, or approach. It includes:

The difference between a positioning statement & value proposition

The key difference between a brand positioning statement and a value proposition lay within the who, what, when, where, how and why. In theory, each statement should answer the following questions.

Brand positioning****Value proposition Who is your brand? What are the benefits of your products and services? Who is your target audience, and what are their pain points? How does your company plan to solve (or resolve) your customers’ pain points? Which category or market does your brand fit in? How does your company benefit the customer?

In other words, a value proposition illustrates a brief overview of the benefits that the product or service provides. A positioning statement focuses more on what your brand delivers to customers and how it’s differentiated from your competition.

The importance of a positioning statement

A brand positioning statement is an internal aspect of your overall brand strategy as it defines your brand’s identity and personality. It also doubles as a guardrail to help test any potential business decisions. Some businesses choose to have more than one positioning statement, perhaps addressing different market statements or brand personas.

Ultimately, a brand positioning statement is important because it helps you keep everything consistent and in line with your brand — no matter what you’re doing. Every creative asset will be measured against your brand positioning statement, so it’s essential to take time to craft it.

How to write a brand positioning statement

If you’re ready to write a brand positioning statement, there are some essential elements for it to include. For example:

If you’re ready to start writing your brand positioning statement, feel free to use the following template:

For [your target market] who [the primary need of your target market], [brand name] provides [the main benefit that sets your brand apart from competitors] because [the evidence that you can deliver on your brand promise].

Most brands will adjust the template to fit their taste, like in these two examples:

The result may be short, but you can easily spend days or even weeks getting this short statement to feel just right. And remember — while your value proposition focuses on the specific benefits your customers will receive from your products, your positioning statement is about why your brand is the right one for your audience. Be sure to include the unique value you provide and how that differentiates you from your competitors.

Tips & tricks to writing a brand positioning statement

When writing and evaluating your brand positioning statement, you need to double-check to make sure the statement is going to serve its purpose.

By asking yourself these important questions ahead of time, you gain the clarity and groundwork needed to write a concise, compelling statement.

Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily hit the nail directly on the head with your first draft. Once you’ve written it, go over it with a fine-tooth comb and ask yourself whether it answers all the questions mentioned above. Should you find glaring errors or gaps, you can edit and rewrite it as you see fit.

If ¬— or, rather, when — elements of your advertising & marketing change, your brand positioning statement will still inform them. You might have a new tagline or different messaging, but the same guiding principle is behind these decisions.

4 brands with strong positioning strategies

When you look at how some companies handle their branding, you can also clearly see the brand positioning statements that stand behind their advertising and creative assets. Here are some of the top brands that have strong branding – and even stronger brand positioning behind them.


Amazon rapidly grew into an online retail brand that now dominates virtually all sectors. You can get just about everything you want from Amazon. Their audience is broad, with services offered to anyone who wants access to a large range of products all in one place — along with convenient delivery. Amazon differentiates itself from other e-commerce brands by putting its customers first, as well as being innovative and committed to operational excellence.


McDonald’s offers affordable, quality food choices for families who want fast food paired with efficient customer service. They provide a consistent experience across thousands of locations worldwide, following tight standards at every location. They’re set apart from other fast food restaurants because of their determination to continually improve both service and operations.

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is for families (and adults!) seeking unforgettable, magical experiences. Their goal is to help people of all ages make their dreams come true, and they work hard to create and promote a fun, exciting environment. As a company, Disney has been around long enough that it now inspires nostalgia in multiple generations. There’s only one Walt Disney World, and many people have come to associate it with their childhood.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods was created and inspired by people who care about their health, as well as the environment. They provide healthy, sustainable food products, using ingredients that are closely connected to those who grow them — and to the earth. Whole Foods sets itself apart from competitors by holding itself and the food they sell to high standards so that they can always deliver on their brand promise to their customers.

Key takeaway

At the end of the day, your brand positioning statement should inform your business decisions for at least a couple years. It’s worth taking some time to write it — instead of rushing it — so you have a statement that truly sums up your brand and what it has to offer. Once you’ve written it, make sure everyone at your company can access it, use it, and find creative ways to elevate your brand.

Ready to start building your brand? Learn about the must-have templates and assets to build your brand


Originally published in 2018 and 2019 and updated in 2021 to reflect updated data.


Brand consistency is the key to earning customer trust and elevating your ROI. And alternatively, inconsistent branding dampens brand status and creates confusion in the marketplace.

In an effort to better understand how exactly brand consistency drives revenue and growth, Lucidpress surveyed over 400 brand management experts to ascertain the analytical impact of brand consistency.

brand consistency infographic

Branding is crucial to every business, but it’s so much more than a few colors, nice fonts and a fancy logo. It tells people that you care about what you deliver, that you live up to what you promise, and it shows off a glimmer of your personality — after all, it’s the make-up for your public image; an identity that people can relate to.

Managed well, branding can meet customers’ expectations and drive your authority through the roof. You’ll see a surge in new customers, leads, and conversions if you do one thing to your entire brand: make it consistent.

Here’s why brand consistency is important, and four ways you can put your business in the hall of fame for excellent brands.

What is brand consistency?

To be consistent is to be reliable — and when you’re reliable, you’re also recognizable and more likely to earn new customers or repeat ones because you’re front and center.

Brand consistency is the act of delivering the same brand messaging, voice and visual elements in every graphic, and piece of content. This ensures visibility and recognition within your target audience groups, so you stay top of mind, especially when they need you most.

Why is brand consistency important?

Think about one of the world’s largest sportswear brands. You see a check and instantly think of Nike, right?

You associate Nike and their logo because they’ve been consistent with it. After all, you’ve seen their signature tick on every piece of clothing they produce.

A brand is what people will remember most about your company, so it needs to be representative, strong, consistent and instantly memorable if you want to make a lasting impression.

You want to be their go-to company: customers should feel as though they could recommend you to friends and family, or call on you when they need additional products or services. Plus, your customers expect great design and consistent branding. For today’s customers, consistent branding and good design are key components when evaluating whether or not they do business with you.

Overall, constituents from our survey estimated that if their brand was consistently maintained, they would expect to have a 10-20% increase in overall growth, which in turn offers companies the additional revenue required to hire much-needed staff members or access to technology or software they otherwise might not have.

Ultimately, brand consistency has an extensive trickle-down effect that, when implemented correctly, can boost your bottom line, brand status, and employee morale. But unfortunately, inconsistent branding jeopardizes all that.

Impact of inconsistent brand usage

When you’re building a brand, the last thing you want to do is confuse the market. Those people could be your perfect customers: ones that drive your business’s bottom line and deliver great ROI on your branding efforts.

However, not using a consistent approach to your brand could limit your chances to generate leads or sales. That’s because people buy from brands they connect with, and brands which feel authentic. It’s hard to connect with a brand that doesn’t have a consistent appearance.

Advice from brand managers on maintaining brand consistency

How to maintain brand consistency

So, you’re looking to keep your branding consistent at every stage in your customer’s journey. But how do you do that, and which elements should you focus on?

1. Set branding guidelines for your company

Branding guidelines include details about your tone of voice, preferred professional terms and general code of conduct. Every business should have one, no matter their stage in the journey to perfect branding.

But once you’ve created them, don’t let them slip.

While 85% of organizations have brand guidelines, only30% are consistently enforced… hence why these companies aren’t seeing results. [Tweet this] Not only does this mean time creating them is wasted, but staff might not understand your true brand, which will make it hard to stick to.

Treat these guidelines like the core of your entire branding activity. It’s a central document that all members of staff should use when creating marketing materials or representing your company.

2. Give staff a branding masterclass

We can all relate to the feeling of sitting in an hour-long meeting which could’ve been a 15-minute email conversation. That’s the beauty of office life, right?

However, as soon as you’ve created your branding guidelines, you’ll need all members of staff to be onboard. You can do this by giving them a brand masterclass meeting, detailing everything they need to know about the business’ history, core values and tone of voice.

Once this masterclass is over, everyone will be on the same page. Store your brand guidelines centrally and remind staff to check back on this document if they’re unsure about how to represent your brand.

Say goodbye to a mismatch of marketing messages that confuse potential customers, and hello to consistent branding. Whether staff are speaking with a customer or crafting a blog post, each stage in a customer’s journey will be perfectly branded when staff understand what you’re trying to achieve.

3. Provide staff with branding resources

All staff have been given a branding masterclass and understand what your brand is about… but how can they maintain consistency if they need to create things for external use?

The answer: provide them with branding resources.

Think about the marketing material that your customers will see. Whether it’s social media graphics or whitepapers, branding resources can keep these consistent and avoid confusing potential customers.

In the same folder as your branding guidelines, provide staff with:

You can also create branded templates to save time and keep a high level of consistency. Lucidpress offers a large assortment of free brochure templates, social media templates and more.

4. Think wider than your website

Did you know that the average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 10-20%? You could see a huge uplift in revenue if you’re always referring back to brand guidelines—not just for your website.

Many businesses assume that a logo and a website are enough to put the cherry on the branding cake. They think a simple website theme is enough to give a great customer experience, but that couldn’t be further than the truth.

That’s because every stage in your customer experience should be branded in order to maintain consistency. So, think about the typical journey that your customer has. That might be:

  1. Found your site on social media
  2. Visited your website
  3. Subscribed to your email list
  4. Purchased from you

…But if your branding isn’t consistent across the first three platforms, a purchase is unlikely to happen. Remember how we said people buy from brands they feel connected with?

On social media, it’s easy to just rattle off a series of posts to make it look like you’ve been doing it for years. But remember: all communications need to be consistent. Consumers are savvy—if there’s an out-of-place tweet that doesn’t fit your brand, it’ll stand out like a sore thumb.

People will wonder what is going on if you don’t have a consistent voice. They won’t know the team behind your company (or trust them), leading to asked questions and cash spent elsewhere.

Key takeaway

Once you’ve implemented these five steps into your branding efforts, you’ll soon see a surge of results. From paying customers to feedback like, “I love everything about your brand!”, remember that consistency is key.

Stop changing your message repeatedly and losing your customers’ interest. You want them to remember your brand—not forget it.

For a real-life example of a company mastering their brand consistency, read about Club Pilates and their experience using brand templates here.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency and the impact it has on your creative teams, brand reputation, and more? Download our 2021 state of brand consistency report and gain insight into helpful analytics and key takeaways to ensure your brand stays consistent and visible.

*Please note that while we provide insights and tangible takeaways, this survey and corresponding ebook are designed to shed light on the intricacies, theory, and data science behind brand consistency rather than provide hard-and-fast facts. Each company, and therefore branding, is bound to encounter unique obstacles relative to consistency.

Not too long ago, universities didn’t have much need for a strong brand. But as the market for funding, recognition, academic talent and even student recruitment has started to heat up, the need has become critical.

survey by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup showed that in 2017, only 34% of schools polled had met their enrollment targets for the fall term on May 1, which marked a decline from 37% in 2016 and 42% in 2015. With recent setbacks like Covid-19 affecting enrollment, more universities have begun to focus on branding. At the moment, 85% of university leaders are concerned with accelerated rates of student attrition in the short term and 88% are concerned about a decline in overall future student enrollment due to Covid-19.

A strong brand and message can easily convert to higher enrollment, but with the current approach to education branding, it’s easy to see where many universities fall short. To build a stronger brand and improve student retention, follow these steps to develop a stronger brand and message.

How to develop stronger university branding and messaging

1. Collect brand perception data from every group

Universities have a lot of different stakeholders from every corner of campus. If you focus on only one group, it’s easy to miss out on some great university marketing opportunities. In order to solidify your brand and make it accessible to the majority, you need to collect brand perception data from every facet of your campus.

Most universities can be broken down into the following groups:

2. Identify student personas

Once you’ve collected perception data surrounding your university’s brand, you can begin identifying student personas. Developing these personas is a key part of your university branding strategy because it will prevent you from generalizing your brand decisions.

Your established personas will help you recognize the specific attitudes, concerns and criteria that drive prospective students toward you or your competitors.

Follow these steps to build the right personas:

By building these personas, it can give you insight into current trends other competitors may be using for recruitment.

3. Identify unique traits

Once you’ve created your student personas, you can start to identify unique traits among them. Begin by considering student niches, your location and your history.

How to maintain your university branding

Follow these steps to maintain your university’s brand:

1. Keep brand assets in one place

A critical part of university branding is consistency. If your staff or faculty can’t access your brand assets easily, you run the risk of having marketing items developed that don’t follow your brand. This in turn can undermine all the research and work you’ve put into building a brand that drives enrollment. To avoid this, keep your brand assets in one place.

2. Use lockable templates

Lockable templates will also help keep things consistent across campus. By providing lockable templates, you can put a stop to any rogue designers and ensure that everyone is using your brand assets correctly. Lockable templates don’t have to be rigid — you can provide templates that different departments can personalize.

3. Share templates with faculty and staff

Finally, be sure to share your templates with all faculty and staff. With lockable, easy-to-use templates, anyone can quickly create posters, brochures, flyers and more that can be used throughout your university.

A university’s brand is key to driving enrollment. Your brand is what draws in students, and during a time where enrollment is dropping, it’s more important than ever that your university’s brand is solid and enticing. To get better insight into attracting the modern student, check out our free ebook that will teach you how to evaluate your brand and also offers tips for delivering a consistent recruitment experience.

As a non-profit organization, your brand isn’t just a logo or text. It’s a symbol and a feeling — one that resembles hope, inspiration or kindness.

For your program participants, non-profit branding is often associated with the experiences they have while enrolled in your program. For your volunteers and donors, your brand is deeply connected to the feeling they get from giving back to the community and to others in need. 

To that end, non-profit branding and its image are synonymous with a mission and message because the brand doesn’t just serve the non-profit — it serves communities, too. 

For instance, when people see your logo or branding, whether you’re a YMCA or a garden project non-profit, you want them to remember what you’re working towards and call on you to help or be helped.

Why does non-profit branding matter?

Just as financial or food insecurity can prohibit growth, brand insecurity can have a similar impact. Writing grants and fundraising takes time, money and energy. Not only that, but it also requires you to tell a story, one of which you may not have the luxury of iterating again and again. But, if you find yourself worried that your non-profit is missing critical (and digital) fundraising opportunities, you’re not alone — 66% percent of charities share that concern.

However, a strong brand helps tell a non-profit’s story.

To quote the folks of Stanford Social Innovation Review, “a brand is a psychological construct held in the minds of all those aware of the branded product, person, organization, or movement. Brand management is the work of managing these psychological associations. In the for-profit world, marketing professionals talk of creating ‘a total brand experience.’ In the non-profit world, executives talk more about their ‘global identity’ and the ‘what and why’ of their organizations. But the point in both cases is to take branding far beyond the logo.” 

So in sum, there are two core components a strong non-profit brand can lend a hand in:

  1. Fundraising
  2. Identity

For many non-profits, these two components are inextricably linked. The stronger presence and identity you possess, the more likely people are to donate money. And the more money you can accrue, the more you can build your brand presence. 

By building a brand, you extend your capacity and reach. But, how do you do that when you’re already strapped for resources and time?

How to build your non-profit brand

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. 

The work you’re about to do (i.e., brand building) might sound counterintuitive, but it’s not. Take a minute and remember that your non-profit brand experience contributes to your collective community effort, which in turn empowers you to build a brand that lasts.

Maintain long-term brand authenticity

Whether your non-profit is well-established or relatively new, you must maintain long-term authenticity for branding to be effective.

Authenticity, while a relatively played out terminology, is a critical component to ensuring your non-profit messaging can stand the test of time and resonates with donors, program participants and volunteers. Authenticity can manifest itself in many forms, for example:

Evaluate your current impact

Having a clear, measurable impact translates into a clear, memorable experience, as well as more donations or grant opportunities. So, start building your brand strategy by evaluating your impact effectiveness.  

To do so, ask yourself, board members and core staff:

While this might be a time-consuming task at first glance, answering each of these questions ensures your organization has an appropriate and solid foundation from which to build your brand strategy from. To learn more about basic marketing strategies for non-profit organizations, check out our comprehensive (but approachable, we swear) blog post.

Make a statement

There are two statements worth making — a brand positioning statement and a value statement. 

As we mentioned in one of our previous blog posts, “a brand positioning statement is a short and concise description that sums up your brand. It includes: 

Whereas a value statement (or proposition) “should describe beneficial features of your product, services, strategy or approach.”

Keep in mind, both your brand positioning statement and value proposition are not intended to be used or seen by folks outside of your immediate organization. Both are intended to serve as a north star for branded content creation. Whether you’re writing a grant or creating new program collateral, leveraging these two statements can help content stay on-mission and helpful.

Be consistent

We can’t stress this one enough. Being consistent is your key to unlocking access to new donors, volunteers and program participants. To be consistent is to be recognized. Because being consistent not only helps set the stage for future content creation, but it also helps ensure your message is understood loud and clear.

Consistency can mean a lot of things. For example, consistency is:

Streamline and templatize

Making do with very little is the M.O. for most in the non-profit sector, so it makes sense to streamline, templatize and craft easy-to-duplicate (or copy and paste) content wherever possible. While it might feel redundant, empowering colleagues with cut-and-paste (with some customizable flair) content ensures that collateral and messaging stays true to your north star mission.

non-profit report
non-profit report

(Screenshots are from the Philanthropy report template found in the Lucidpress gallery)

Do your non-profit branding justice

Your brand, and more importantly your community, deserves a proper foundation from which you — and your colleagues — can build out from. Doing so not only ensures your ability to successfully create content in the future but it also ensures you remain visible, consistent and memorable to your target audiences. Regardless of whether or not these folks are donors, volunteers or program participants. To learn more about how to specifically create a consistent brand story from touchpoint to touchpoint, check out our ebook on nonprofit messaging and how to make do with very little.

When you think about Coca-Cola, what pops into your head — is it the taste? The fizziness? The dark caramel color? Maybe you think of a classic ad. If you’re like me, it’s the vivid red-and-white logo adorning the label.

When you think of all of these things, you’re thinking of Coca-Cola’s brand as a whole. If lots of different Coke-related images popped into your head just now, then Coca-Cola’s marketing team has done its job.


Too many people think branding begins with choosing a name and ends with picking a logo — but it’s much more than that. It affects everything.

So, when a company wants to rebrand, it’s not about just changing the logo. It’s also about changing goals, messaging, tone, voice, style and anything else that contributes to your image. It can be a tricky thing to get right, because ultimately, you can’t control what people think. But a well thought-out and defined brand is the backbone of many successful companies.

If there’s so much to it, why would anyone dream of rebranding? When is rebranding the best option?

Well, you could have gotten it wrong the first time. Many businesses overlook branding when they’re starting out and later find they need to rethink it. For some, they need to appeal to a broader audience. Others need to change tack when they decide to expand into other markets.

Long-established companies aren’t immune to the need to rebrand, either. It might be necessary after an acquisition or merger. Changing industries, attitudes and new competitors can also ignite the need for a fresh image. When a company needs to reposition or rejuvenate itself, rebranding makes sense.

Deeper issues, like an antiquated image or a negative reputation, can spur a rebrand. Sometimes, it can even come down to involvement in a damaging public scandal.

When you face challenges like these, you have two options. You can cling to the old branding that you had, or you can put together a rebranding strategy and work towards a new image.

Whatever the reason, make sure you have a strong case for the rebrand. Though there’s a lot to it, rebranding is part of the life cycle for many growing companies. Very few of us wear the same clothes now as we did in high school — so why wouldn’t a brand evolve as well? 

Reasons to do a rebrand:

Reasons to do a brand refresh instead:

Considering the points above, it may be that you don’t need to go through an entire rebrand: Your current brand may just need some polish, also known as a brand refresh. A refresh is a much lighter version of a rebrand, and though they both entail a lot of the same work, a refresh simply updates your current brand instead of making the sweeping changes that a rebrand does.

If you’re still not sure if rebranding is right for your company, check out our rebranding questionnaire

Rebranding strategy

Rebranding a company doesn’t happen overnight. You need a solid rebranding strategy, testing and approval, and then you need to roll it out internally before your big debut with your customers. 

Here’s our advice on the five steps to follow to get rebranding strategies right. 

1. Research before you rebrand

Before making any changes, you’ve got to do research to find out how your brand can improve. What do people like about your brand? How can it connect with modern consumers? There are endless questions to ask when building a new identity. The more knowledge you have, the more effective your rebranding strategy will be.

During this process, find out what attracted customers to your brand initially … or why they went to a competitor instead. Figure out the problems you need to address with the rebrand.

Coca-Cola once decided to rebrand, but its New Coke campaign flopped. Coca-Cola didn’t have any issues with its product’s taste or image, but it decided to change both. The result wasn’t an energized image but confused loyal customers. So, make sure to do your research.

Burberry’s rebranding strategy is a great example of how to strike this balance. After a century-and-a-half of success, Burberry’s image started to suffer when — through no efforts of its own — the brand became associated with gang wear and fashion for older generations. Thanks to this double punch, clubs in the U.K. wouldn’t allow entry to anyone wearing the brand’s iconic plaid.


Faced with this unsavory situation, Burberry decided to rebrand, but it did its research first. The company hired an anthropologist to rediscover its roots so that Burberry could highlight its heritage in a way that would appeal to younger audiences (while also disassociating its name from gang wear).

2. Set out clear goals

From your research, you’ll know what’s wrong, and this should help you figure out what you want to achieve. Burberry needed to disassociate its brand from gangs and build a modern youthful image.

Knowing it needed to appeal to younger audiences, the label added more modern styles to its line and recruited well-known celebrities like Emma Watson to promote them. This led to a boost in sales and an image readjustment for the brand, which once again became a luxury name.

There’s no point rebranding a business if all you change is the name. When it became The Shack, RadioShack did exactly this. The business wanted to stem the flow of losses, but a name change just didn’t cut it. Maybe if it had gotten to the root of the problem and set out more strategic goals, the brand wouldn’t continue to close its doors.

With thorough research and clear goals, your rebranding strategy will be well-informed and should make an impact.

3. Get all company stakeholders on-board

To get customers on-board with a rebrand, you’ll need to get all stakeholders involved first. Your employees are the main touchpoint between your brand and the outside world, so they need to understand the importance of your new brand. You want to make sure what they say and do is in keeping with your new image.

The CEO who led Burberry’s turnaround, Angela Ahrendts, knew there was a problem when she saw that none of the company’s managers wore the brand. How can expect your customers to love your brand when your own staff doesn’t?

If your rebranding strategy aims to address a bad rep for customer care, you’ll have to invest in training and resources to deliver better customer experiences. In situations like these, it can be a good idea to rebrand internally first.

When setting out a rebranding strategy for a client in the financial sector, consultants Spyglass Creative decided to do just this. To convince the board of management of the importance of stellar customer service, waiters with silver platters served lunch to the members and introduced the idea of “sterling service.” With a clear view of the vision for the rebrand, they supported the new approach.

4. Have a process planned out

Once you’ve got stakeholders on your side and know exactly what needs to be achieved, you can put together a plan of action. In the case of Burberry, the company was active on many fronts. It introduced new designs and bought back licenses for its classic plaid pattern, so it could protect the brand’s image and make it exclusive once again. The company also created a brand story, which it told through videos and in-store displays.

Your rebranding strategy might require you to take up social media. Or, it could impact the networks you already advertise on.

Prior to 2010, Old Spice was seen as a retro brand for older men. While its reputation was sound, it simply didn’t appeal to younger audiences. It decided to change this.

The brand set up a YouTube channel and posted dozens of fun, humorous videos featuring actor and former athlete Isaiah Mustafa.

The rebrand was a massive success, opening up the traditional product to a new demographic by making the most of new trends. Old Spice did its research, rebranded for sensible reasons and set out clear goals.

5. Build trust for your new brand

Once you’ve rebranded, don’t slip backwards. Familiarize your audience with your new brand personality by staying consistent and building trust around it.

If you have a new name or logo, don’t leave a trace of the old one around. Create new brand guidelines and make it easy for staff to implement them. A brand templating platform like Lucidpress can help by making brand assets easily accessible during the content creation process. When any files are updated, everyone will automatically have access to them, too.

Use your new brand in all your communications to build awareness of it. Use a link shortener like Rebrandly to create branded links for your emails and social media posts. This will build brand visibility and trust. Content marketing and native advertising can also build familiarity and trust in your new image. Be consistent with your new tone, and don’t flip-flop between your old brand and the new one.

Branding is an important company asset, and it can leave a lasting image in consumers’ minds. Make sure your rebranding strategy sticks, because it can rejuvenate a business and even turn it around when the chips are down.

How to rebrand a company

Follow these steps and plan how to successfully rebrand your business.

1. Define your audience

If your audience is 70-year-old retirees, you probably don’t want to alienate them with something that feels so modern it’s out of their reach. The same goes for a millennial audience. If you’re rebranding, it might be because you’re redefining your niche and ideal customer. Make sure your branding speaks as much to that ideal audience as your sales copy does.

2. Stay true to your mission

A rebrand should be a makeover, not a botched surgery. Before you begin, go over your mission and value statements. Come up with an idea of where you are now and where you want to go — without losing sight of who you are and what your customers have come to love. Project your mission and personality in your new branding so you feel like a refreshed company, not an unrecognizable one. If you’re having trouble finding your brand’s voice, try this tool.

3. Rethink your name

Name is the first and most recognizable brand element. Rebranding doesn’t always involve a name change, but it can be a powerful strategy — especially if the company is looking for a fresh start. Did you know that the infamous Philip Morris company changed its name to Altria to disassociate itself from bad press and controversy? Considering how a number of journalists reported on the obvious change, it’s hard to say whether it was successful, but only time will tell.

One more thing to consider is the possibility of alienating or losing older clients with a name change. A fresh start is a double-edged sword, so make sure you’re ready to give up your established legacy in favor of a new brand identity.

4. Revamp your tagline

Slogans and taglines often go hand-in-hand with a brand’s name. Usually, a tagline is a catchy sentence that summarizes your business and is easy to remember. If you decide to change your name, you should do the same with your tagline — especially if the business has changed. Over the years, FedEx has had several long and unmemorable taglines, so it changed to “Relax, It’s FedEx” in 2004 and “The World on Time” in 2009, both of which are simple and effective.

Rebuild your brand identity

Your brand identity is how you present your company to the world. It’s everything that customers recognize your brand for, from visual style to voice and personality. Be sure to include these key elements of brand identity in your rebranding strategy.

Since people are visual thinkers, updating your logo is the easiest way to demonstrate change to your audience. As for the logo design, you have to follow (and subvert) trends if you want to appear fresh. But, be careful with it. You don’t want to drift too far away from the original logo unless you’re trying to conceal your past. You want people to acknowledge the change but also recognize the company’s continuity.

Color palette

Color psychology is real — and different colors make people feel different things, so consider how you want your brand to make people feel. Blue is a calming color, pink is soft and romantic, black is bold and sophisticated, etc.

It’s best to go for a simple color palette with no more than 3 primary colors. You can also choose secondary colors to create your brand palette. You’ll be experimenting with tint, shade and saturation to get the look and feel of your brand just right.


Typography is truly an art, and choosing the right fonts for your brand can help you stand out and be easily recognizable. Just like colors, font styles can make people feel a certain way. You want to find a pair of complementary fonts that reflect your brand’s personality, whether that’s modern and youthful, bold and innovative, or however else you’d describe your brand. You’ll need to consider things like font size, kerning and line height, readability and licensing requirements.

Shapes and imagery

Along with colors and fonts, your other visual assets communicate who you are to your customers. Again, think about what visuals will communicate your brand’s identity, personality and feeling. Is your brand angular, rounded, flat, soft, natural, futuristic? Are you using animations, photographs, GIFs, videos? All design elements come into play here and there’s a lot to explore.

Brand guidelines

Once you have your new brand identity outlined, the best thing you can do for your rebranding efforts is create a clear and easy-to-access set of brand guidelines. This will ensure that your team can reference the new guidelines and keep your rebrand looking consistent. Without full compliance from your internal teams, it can be hard to have a successful rebrand.

Tips and tricks for a successful rebrand launch

1. Know your limit — err, budget

Creating content, running tests and paying for ads all costs money. Around 10-20% of your annual marketing budget can be spent just on rebranding efforts. Developing a well-designed content calendar will help identify where most of your money will be spent and give you an idea of when you’ll need to be prepared for these expenses.

2. Testing: 1, 2, 3

Taking the time to run tests on your content will help to solidify your marketing strategy. It’s not always a guarantee that a rebranding effort is going to be successful. The best way to prevent a failed rebranding is to test your assets before releasing them to the public. Study groups and A/B testing can uncover and strengthen any weak points in your rebranding strategy.

3. Demand consistency

Branding should be synonymous with “consistent messaging.” When you rebrand, you need to go back through every webpage, design element and evergreen brochure to update it with your fresh look, tone and feel. Don’t dilute your new branding by confusing it with the old. Get everything polished in one fell swoop. Brand consistency was important before the rebrand, and it’s even more important now. Consistency establishes company-client trust, which leads to higher revenues.

A platform like Lucidpress can be a huge help in your rebranding and consistency efforts. It gives a central place to put all your brand assets and files, providing easy access for anyone who needs them. You can put all your new colors and logos in the brand assets hub, so when people are creating content, there’s no chance of them using an old logo or font, etc.

You can create a template library with all of your rebranded and updated materials, so spanking-new content is right at everyone’s fingertips. Plus, when you decide to refresh your brand again down the road, all the content will be in one easy-to-update location. A centralized platform for branded content creation will make it easier to roll out your rebrand to internal teams, so can ensure that everyone’s up to speed before your public debut. 

Is it time to rebrand your business or organization? Learn more in our free ebook: How and why to rebrand your company

The best storytellers know that a good story is more than telling romanticized tales about a life lived. Good storytelling knits together polarity — people, spaces, emotions, conflict and impact — and transforms it into something visible and tangible. While there is a time and a space for waxing poetic, truly compelling storytelling is defined by authenticity and the sum of many parts.

Furthermore, let’s be honest: Try as we might, we can’t all be like Walt Disney. Sometimes we simply can’t feign magic when it’s not there, or perhaps the nature of our work prevents it. Alternatively, we have to practice active listening and cobble together stories from there — because your audience is people too.

To help dispel the myth that we can or must all be like Walt Disney (someday when we grow up), we reached out to the best storytellers we know and asked them to tell us their secret storytelling recipe. Naturally, they delivered.

So without further ado, we’re bringing the TLDR, best-of-the-best storytelling tips to you, so hopefully, you can take something from them and apply it to your stories.

Storytellers featured in this article

How to create compelling stories

Some stories come to life quicker or easier than others. However, regardless of the speed with which you create stories, our blog post participants recommended the following initial tips to nurture an evocative storytelling experience:

Nurture a human connection

“We look for the human element in every piece. Every person has different experiences, but we can connect so quickly through shared emotions. Heartache, love, failure and triumph all feel the same regardless of the circumstances that cause those feelings.”

Natalie Ipson

Remember to center the storyteller’s voice, not your own

“I think that good storytelling from a nonprofit, or even journalistic, standpoint has to be unselfish.  When crafting a client story, you are merely a conduit to someone’s story, giving them a voice and platform to be heard. When presenting an organization’s story, you are offering someone an opportunity to support something they are passionate about and believe in. While it certainly doesn’t hurt if you are also passionate about and believe in that work, YOU as an individual aren’t a part of that relationship except as a conveyor of information.”

Leidy Wagener

Leverage technicalities and data when it works

“Everything I write comes back to two questions: How can I most effectively resonate with our customers, and how can I best embody our company mission? We can track the former through analytics. We use all the fancy metrics like click-through rate, ROAS for paid media and so forth. On a technical level, I know what keywords tend to convert better than others when describing our coffee, or which value propositions to use when targeting a higher funnel audience. And I know which CTAs will lead to the most sales. It’s mad science.”

Matt Halpin

Validate passion through messaging

“Especially on the product side, we normally come to stories with a lot of passion, and I do believe that this is an important component of the story: We care. It’s our legacy. Our innovations show that. But passion needs to be validated through straightforward messaging (there’s room for clever, too); it’s easy to forget that not everyone lives and breathes this stuff. I’ve found that one of the most effective ways to demonstrate this is by articulating Problem — Solved.”

Hanna Reichel

The storytelling production process

Jumpstarting the storytelling process can be trying, but our storytellers brought to life their go-to approaches to the storytelling production process without fail. We’ve inverted these suggestions to be reflected as questions for you, the reader, to leverage as an internal checklist as you create stories yourself.

Do I know my audience?

“Every piece of content I create starts with first understanding who my audience is and what that audience needs and wants from me. It’s Communication 101 (so basic!), but so many of us often skip right past that step.”

Natalie Ipson

Do I understand my audience’s triggers or stressors? What can I share that relieves that stress?

People consume content because they want to obtain something. This “something” can be educational, informative, or offer reinforcement for what they already know. Understanding the so-called turning point that pushed your audience into the content consumption phase of their experience is critical. In other words, good storytellers comprehend people’s stressors or triggers, and these folks know how to share information that offers relief or a solution.

What does my audience care about, and am I connected with that passion?

Intersectionality is a critical concept when exploring what your audience cares about and is passionate about. Because for every general group of people, there will be smaller subsets of audiences who experience impact differently. By knowing what your audience cares about (or is impacted by), you can create stories that reflect that passion. Be wary of falling victim to disingenuous gestures or stories — i.e., avoid performative activism, allyship, or storytelling to get content out there.

What is the medium or format I’ll be telling the story from?

“The format in which a story’s told is critical to how you structure your story. A 30-minute speech means you might have a 5-minute intro, 15 minutes for the core content, 5 minutes for a conclusion, and 5 minutes for Q&A. Suppose you are writing a letter to the editor for a newspaper. In that case, you may only have 300 words to tell a story, meaning you are likely limited to focus on just one theme, for a general audience, who you are trying to sway with emotion rather than facts. Facts require lengthy data points. Emotive content requires relatable and experiential content.”

Jon Carter

Do I have a conscious audience, and does my audience care about the story? Why or why not?

“I got the chance to participate in a brand overhaul — we realized that on top of needing a new look and feel, we had to build a conscious audience. We didn’t lack a following, but it wasn’t cohesive or aligned along a particular plotline. This [the overhaul] was cathartic: it was almost as if the audience motivated us to build the product — and the story resonated with our heritage and our audience’s ethos. They inspired us as much as we inspired them. I think being open to what the audience has to teach you is a critical part of storytelling.”

Hanna Reichel

Have I answered key questions? Do I need to explain the basics?

Avoid making assumptions about what your audience knows or doesn’t know. Complicated issues, or uncomplicated ones, can take time to understand, and everyone processes information differently. Guide people through the story with kindness, compassion and attention to detail. Unpack whether or not you need to approach the subject or story from different perspectives or angles. Knowing your audience will help with this part of the storytelling process.

Have I created a “before” and “after” for the story?

“What distinguishes good brands is their ability to deliver common-sense solutions to common problems. So with my product development and marketing teams, I always ask them to do the “Before” and “After” to distill what the design impetus was and what they were able to resolve through innovation. Often this looks like a bulleted list, and honestly, that’s the scaffolding for a good story. The narrative comes alive with human touchpoints: testimonials, personal anecdotes, etc.”

Hanna Reichel
best storytellers

What makes the best stories?

The best stories are immersive ones — the ones people read until the very last sentence. But what exactly goes into making good and great stories? According to our proverbial “Storytellers Board,” it lay in your ability to:

Illustrate relatability and human emotion

“The anecdote of Ernest Hemmingway winning a bet by writing a compelling story in six words is a perfect example of this: “For Sale: Baby shoes,  never worn.” Though the attribution to Hemmingway has never been substantiated, the point remains the same: you leave a lasting impression on your audience by connecting with their emotions as quickly as you can (e.g., the initial eight minutes of Pixar’s Up).”

Natalie Ipson

Use conflict as your aid

“The best story has conflict. It gets your attention, it’s entertaining and simply put, it’s like life. Life is full of setbacks and challenges and obstacles. Conflict.”

Jon Carter

Show what’s at stake

“The higher the stakes, the higher the suspense. Great conflict without great stakes, the audience is wondering why they should care.”

Jon Carter

Illuminate all aspects of the story

“A story is great when it is whole, which is a little hard to explain, I suppose.  When I think of a great storyteller or story, I think of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk “The Danger of the Single Story” and how she explains all that we are missing out on when only one aspect of a story or person is told.  She is a great storyteller herself, but I think a great storyteller doesn’t fall into the trap of the Single Story and works a subject until it’s illuminated in entirety — even if all of the components aren’t necessarily part of the final result.”

Leidy Wagner

Connect with the audience’s values

“Not all stories we tell in the brand space are emotive at first glance, but we know that purchases — and brand loyalty — are ultimately emotional decisions, so it’s important to connect with the audience’s values. Speak their language, but also stay fluent in yours.”

Hanna Reichel

What makes the best storytellers?

Every storyteller has their unique approach to pulling threads in a story and experience. However, what it boils down to is your capability to demonstrate voice, likability, active listening and authenticity.


“Voice gives your story character, and provides a feeling of authenticity and trust that this story is coming from the heart.”

Natalie Ipson


“The best storyteller is a sympathetic character. One whose relatable to the audience. If an audience is going to listen in and pay attention, why stick around if the storyteller isn’t likable. Why are your friends your friends? Same concept here. If the storyteller can also provide character change through experience, that goes even further in keeping your audience entertained and ready to act.”

Jon Carter

Active listening

“A great storyteller also has to be a great listener; only then can the subject [or story] be told completely and genuinely.”

Leidy Wagener


“Companies have so many pixels or seconds to convey their stories, and the most successful ones cut through the ordinary by tugging on our heartstrings. That could come through humor, a connection over a shared value or experience, or anything else that resonates with us [as humans] more than consumers.”

Matt Halpin

The best storytellers are all around you

The reality is we all have the capability of being storytellers.

However, the best storytellers are the folks who see the heart of a story, do the research and imbue words with rapt attention, tenor and authenticity. Good storytelling, and thus good stories, requires patience and the use of active listening. Keep in mind not all stories resonate with everyone, but (in part) that is the key to creating and nurturing a story — imparting education, conflict, development and relief.

Magic, try as we might, is not always given, but it is earned.

Check out our ebook The rise of the design democracy: How to maintain a consistent brand story.

Preface: Welcome to the race—Quantity & quality of content

We work in a race. A design race.

At the root of that race lies the simple fact that the design process has fundamentally changed.

It used to look like this:

The old design process

But now it looks like this:

The old design process

Instead of a simple process where a single person requests a limited amount of content, many people now create marketing & sales materials on behalf of your company. Vendors, salespeople, partners and employees are all creating content across a variety of channels for an increasingly fragmented audience.

The race is about who can push out the most content and the best content. Who can innovate with design? Who can present a broad, united front across an ever-growing number of media channels? These are questions we have to figure out, and fast.

Additionally, we’re in a world where consumers have become increasingly aware and discerning about graphic design. When a popular company changes their logo, it becomes mainstream news, bringing everyday consumers in on the conversation about what makes good design.

With the higher demand for content, and a more discerning audience, how can in-house creative teams keep up with the demand to both work quickly and deliver quality content?

This situation puts in-house design teams in a pretty tough spot. In this post—the first in a three-part series—I will introduce a best practice and share three related tips to get the most from your in-house design team. Each post in the series will follow the same structural format.

Fueling up the creative tank

The first practice: Fueling up

Your creative team is given the difficult task of being creative, original and inspiring on demand every single day. It’s essential that they’re able to turn on their creativity when it counts.

To do this, creative teams bring a level of practical science to the table. They’re trained on hierarchy, grids, typographic theory, best practices, and so on. But to find those truly creative “lightning in a bottle” solutions, your design team will need a full tank of ideas, concepts, jokes, random facts and insights to pull from. This tank is what puts creativity on tap, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Here’s how you help them fill it.

Hone their craft

Tip #1: Hone their craft

One of the biggest traps creatives can fall into is becoming complacent, using the same techniques and ideas over and over again. The world of design is rich and deep. One could spend a lifetime learning the ins and outs of all the different designers, movements and techniques, but the demands of work can stunt this learning.

Encourage your team to expand their knowledge base. This can be done through tutorial programs like SkillshareLynda or Udemy. On Netflix, there are many documentaries about design worth watching. There are also plenty of free tutorials and documentaries on YouTube. And even though it’s not a visual medium, podcasts can be a great source of inspiration. Finally, you could offer to purchase books about graphic design, so the designers have a small library on-hand to help bust through the occasional creative block.

Another way to help your design team develop new skills is to send them to conferences like Adobe MaxHOW DesignAIGA and Brand New. There, they can hear from key figures in the industry and mingle with their peers. They can keep a pulse on the state of the industry, and often, it is a much-needed morale and creativity boost.

If you don’t have the time or budget to send them to those bigger conferences, there are often local meet-ups that offer many of the same experiences. Check out Creative Mornings or your local AIGA chapter to get plugged in.

Break out of the design box

Tip #2: Break out of the design box

For design teams to stay sharp, they need various inputs channeling new information into their creative tanks. Keeping this tank full of fuel is essential to solving creative problems at a moment’s notice.

One way to help is by encouraging your team to stretch in ways not directly related to their day job. They could learn a new hobby, try out a new sport, or seek a new cultural experience. Push your team members to get out of their comfort zones. There are a million suggestions you could make: learn to rock climb, weld, or change a car’s oil. Adopt a dog. Listen to new kinds of music, travel to a new part of the world, volunteer at the local food bank. Read the collected works of an author, join a book club, take improv classes. The possibilities are, as they say, endless.

Here’s the catch. The creative tank requires a natural ebb and flow of work, rest, exploration and collection. You can’t get the best work out of your design team if they’re stuck staring at their computers all the time. This requires you, as the creative director, to limit the amount of time you’re demanding them to be in the office. Much of the creative field demands a huge commitment of time, late hours and constant connection. But the best work isn’t going to come from exhausting your team members—it comes from letting them momentarily step away from their ongoing tasks.

Connect with the customer

Tip #3: Connect with the customer

During my time here at Lucidpress, I’ve been able to attend various conferences with our sales team.

In 2017, I traveled to conferences with AIGA, HOW and Adobe. I sat in on a bunch of sessions, which was fantastic—a critical part of practicing my craft and learning new skills, right? But to be completely honest with you, the best learning experiences came from manning our booth and meeting potential customers.

As a creative director, sitting at my desk all day, I’m far-removed from the experience of our users. But after interacting with potential customers, answering questions, hearing their frustrations and connecting with them, I’m better able to inject empathy into my work. I’m more motivated to serve them, and I make better decisions by knowing where our customers are coming from.

Make sure to connect your creative team with your customers. Bring in a few clients for an interview session and lead a “design thinking” workshop. Include your design team in meetings with clients, and send your creative team out with your sales team when it makes sense. It will be immensely helpful for them to hear all the questions, complaints, praise and criticism first-hand. You’ll soon find that your team members are more invested and bring better solutions to the table.

Key takeaway

The first step towards getting more output from your creative team is to keep their tanks full. Don’t make the mistake of letting them run dry when there are so many opportunities to refuel.

The second practice: Streamline your process

All the creative fuel in the world isn’t going to help your team if you have a lot of inefficient drag that’s slowing them down. Drag isn’t unique; our research on design team processes shows that creative teams spend a significant amount of time doing mundane work and revisions.

Streamline your process

We’ve also found that for virtually half of the organizations we studied, the turnaround time needed to complete a request was at least one week, with 19% saying it would take 3 to 4 weeks or even longer. That’s crazy-in this design race, we have to move faster and be nimbler than that. So, what can we do?

Clear goals

Tip #1: Clear goals

As a creative director, your job is to make sure your team don’t start working on a project without clear goals that are well-defined. But clear goals can be surprisingly hard to narrow down. It takes having one vision and one voice. Give your team a single, clear objective to work towards. You can’t expect them to read your mind, or the mind of anyone else in the company. Be very explicit in what you are trying to accomplish.

Without clear goals on a project, the creative work will suffer. One of the most common errors marketers make is trying to pack too much information into a single piece of collateral or ad. It’s tempting to try hitting every selling point, feature and competitive advantage, but all the messages cannibalize each other-ultimately making the piece less effective. If you don’t have a clear goal, your design will be full of dense text boxes competing with each other for space on the page.

Even worse than cluttered design, without clear goals, there will be arguing and disagreements about the point of the project. And as you know, in this situation, creative teams will bear the brunt of endless revision cycles. Clear goals prevent this waste of time and talent.

To sum up, the best goals are short, punchy and narrowly focused.

Clear ownership

Tip #2: Clear ownership

Any given project probably has a number of interested parties, and they’re usually more than happy to offer their input and thoughts. Some of these parties can be pretty demanding.

It’s up to you as the creative director to cut out all the different voices and determine the person who will have final approval, then focus on them. Others may have good ideas and valuable insights, but if they try to influence the decision-making process, they will only be in the way.

If clear approvals and ownership are not established, the design process can get bogged down-or worse, become a proxy power battle among different egos in the company. You’ll probably find some individuals pulling you aside or emailing you directly to make requests. Push back at those attempts. For the benefit of the creative team, and the company, there can only be one person who has final say.

Demand to know who that is before any work begins.

Clear creative brief

Tip #3: Clear creative brief

The creative brief is the next step after clear goals and clear ownership are established. We all know that creative briefs are essential, but often, they’re not implemented or are implemented poorly. The best creative brief is just that: brief. The worst is long and hastily thrown together, and no one considers it binding. Distilling all of the available information, competing goals and differing opinions into a succinct document is the magic that makes creative briefs powerful.

The distillation process forces everyone involved to really think through the project, to voice their opinions and make hard decisions. Any disagreements about the direction of a project should come up at this stage, before any design work starts.

At the end of the distillation process, the brief becomes a sort of contract. All parties involved should agree to the contents of the creative work, and all creative work should be compared to the brief. Is the creative work meeting the needs and goals outlined in the brief? If it is, great; if not, back to work.

For you and your design team, the brief becomes especially important if and when disagreements arise. Then, you can point to the text and say, “We are completing what was agreed upon in the brief.” It becomes a shield to protect your designers from being jerked around or wasting time. [Tweet this]

So, if your account manager, sales team or marketing team gives you a bad creative brief, it’s your job to talk to them about how to make it better. It can be an awkward discussion, but in the end, a strong brief saves headaches, revision time and frustration.

Put the work in to make your briefs powerful. In the end, it’s the only sure way to cover your ass.

Key takeaway

Your creatives can be fueled up and ready to make great work, but without a streamlined process, they will soon burn out with frustration. It’s up to you to make sure they can work supported and unhindered.

Now, there’s one big thing we’re still missing. Even with those significant improvements, there’s still a snag-and that’s the inescapable fact that creative teams are a bottleneck.

Design race

How often has this happened to you: Your designer takes on a new project, she’s excited to get started, and, using a strong creative brief, she comes up with a good design solution.

She exports a PDF and emails it to the account manager for review.

The account manager has a few revisions and shoots an email back.

Your designer happily makes a few changes and sends it back for approval.

This time, the account manager sends it to other interested parties, and guess what-legal has some changes, the marketing manager has changes, and one of the partners has changes. Oh, and some of these changes conflict with one another.

Legal has printed out the document, written illegible notes in the margins, scanned it back in and emailed it to the designer. Now she has to sort through all the different changes, decipher legal’s notes, and try to harmonize the conflicting edits.

Meanwhile, new projects are queuing up, and your team member is feeling pressured to get this project out the door, stat.

Oops, now there’s miscommunication between legal and the partner, and the marketing manager feels miffed that his changes got lost in the mix. After nearly endless revisions, conversations and confusion, your creative is burned out and everyone’s feelings are raw.

This scenario plays out almost every day in the corporate world. The problem is that the design process repeatedly routes through a single person: the creative.

The big question here is how do we eliminate this bottleneck, take extra workload off the creative team, and make the entire process more efficient?

Integrate your design process

The answer starts by changing how we think about the role of creative teams in a company. We need a new design process: one that is more inclusive, efficient and smart. A silo-busting process that works across disciplines. One that recognizes the need for speed in today’s environment while keeping creative teams firmly in the creative driver’s seat. We need creative team members to break out of their isolated roles to better create, collaborate, and control their content.

Here are three tips to help your creative team break out of that deadly cycle of revisions.

Integrated design

Tip #1: Informed, collaborative, integrated design

We’ve already established that the best work comes from strong creative briefs that all interested parties agree with. Now, let’s take that one step further. Rather than the creative team being the only one who cares about design, what if everyone from the creative team to HR to legal and especially to the executive team were invested, educated and involved in the design process? I call this integrated design.

Integrated design means everyone in the company is:

Integrated design means the creative team can engage everyone involved in an effective, collaborative way, greatly reducing the amount of revision time.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting design by committee. Design by committee happens when people believe they have authority over the design process, or parts of the process that shouldn’t involve them. That’s the last thing your creative team needs. Instead, integrated design elevates the process into a business essential, putting creative team members in control so they’re no longer the bottleneck.

Host a short, smart training session to review the brand standards and why they matter. Show examples from competitors of how their branding is succeeding or failing. Paint the picture for your company that a strong brand is essential to success. Then, get commitment from everyone to help enforce brand standards. That way, your creative team will feel less pressure to constantly police everything your company puts out.

Show the best way for employees to give feedback. Do they need to be trained on certain software programs? Do they need to learn a little design vocabulary? Since you’ve established that strong branding and design are essential, everyone will be open to learning a new process.

Brand guidelines

Tip #2: Rev up your brand guidelines

To reduce the time design teams spend on recreating work, you need to set up strong brand guidelines. And by strong, I mean that they are thorough and easily accessible.

Branding isn’t just a set of colors and typefaces. It’s a system based on a company’s core values and traits. [Tweet this] Pointing out the logical connections between company values and branding will strengthen employees’ commitment to using the brand guide.

Equally important as having strong guidelines is making sure they’re accessible. What good is a brand guide if no one can use it?

A PDF with your brand guidelines is a good start, but it’s limited because it has to be emailed back and forth, and, if it is ever updated, you run the risk of employees referencing old guidelines. An even better solution is to have a living brand guide. A living brand guide is a centralized, dynamic system that lets your creative team update the brand standards (which instantly updates them for everyone else).

One of the reasons I love Lucidpress is that it serves as a powerful living brand guide. It stores brand logos, colors, fonts and other assets, making it super easy for creative teams to set the standard and keep everyone on track.

Designers can set brand assets as the default settings for each new document in Lucidpress, making it super easy and convenient for employees to design with the right brand elements from the start. Since Lucidpress lives in the cloud, designers can make updates on the fly and sync them company-wide.

Doing it right the first time

Tip #3: Do it once, do it right

One more story. How often do you have small, recurring design requests? For example, maybe your sales team needs a flyer updated every time they go to a convention. It’s a simple change, but for the creative team, the time adds up.

What if you need to make promotional materials for all of your franchise locations, and your creative team has to spend a ton of time simply switching out addresses and hours? This is a huge waste of time and talent. Your creative team should be focusing on delivering great creative work, not sorting through countless edit requests.

One solution is to give everyone in the company access to Publisher or InDesign… but then the creative team has no control over the brand standards. Plus, everyone will be sending files back and forth, managing their own fonts, and losing track of assets. Once again, your design team becomes the bottleneck.

The key to freeing them up is through cloud-based, lockable templates. Lockable templates empower employees other than creative team members to create and update branded content.

This is a special feature we’ve built for Lucidpress. Creative teams can make templates, then lock down the fonts and colors, the position of text boxes, logos and legal copy-whatever you don’t want others to change. Because it’s all cloud-based, creative teams can easily manage, update and find all the files different employees are working on. Anyone can customize the content to their needs without adding to the creative team’s workload.

This is a huge breakthrough in the design process, and our customers have enjoyed great success in real-life applications. An art director from Reinhart Realty told us this:

“Some agents didn’t feel it was necessary to include the Reinhart logo on their content. But now that we can lock down our brand assets on the templates, agents and brokers can’t accidentally mess things up.”

The results are pretty stunning. Both Reinhart admins and agents agreed that Lucidpress saves them about 2 hours of work per week. With 160 Reinhart employees using Lucidpress, that’s 320 hours of work saved per week-or 16,640 hours saved per year.

That is the real result of an integrated design process.

Wrapping up

As a creative director, your designers are one of your greatest assets. Focus on fueling them up, incorporating an integrated design process, and providing the tools to create great, on-brand materials. It’s the only way you can win this big design race we’re in.

The lure of the hip advertising agency is becoming outdated as more creatives move in house to meet the demands of nonstop content. In 2018, 78% of members of the Association of National Advertisers used some form of in-house agency services. This is up from 58% in 2013 and 42% in 2008 — so you can see where the trend is heading.

What qualifies as an “in-house agency”?

A lot of businesses have internal creative teams, but how is that different from an in-house creative agency? As you can imagine, an in-house agency is bigger in every capacity and more complex than a creative team.

Internal creative teams are often specific to a department, so different departments will have their own teams who all answer to a different manager (and this setup can lead to siloed creative work).

An in-house agency operates as its own department that the rest of the company turns to when any creative work is needed. It also has its own management structure.

In-house agencies differ from external agencies in a lot of ways, but the primary difference is that external agencies service a bunch of different companies and brands, while an in-house agency has only one client.

What are the benefits of an in-house creative agency?

Among the many benefits of having an internal creative agency, Digiday found that 75% of brand marketers think moving services in house improved speed and agility, and 68% say it reduced overhead.

When you keep things in house, you’re eliminating the middlemen, and the fewer people you need to relay information to, the faster your turnaround. Because of this, your projects are also less likely to suffer from the “telephone effect” where the message or outcome gets further and further skewed from its original intent.

But the biggest benefit? Your in-house agency is focused on only one thing: your brand. It’s going to be far more knowledgeable and more invested in your company than any external agency could be.

What are the challenges of an in-house creative agency?

According to a study from the In-House Agency Forum (IHAF), 78% of agencies report having a “clear mission, purpose and/or objective,” yet 42% of marketers report they don’t know what their agency’s mission is. Clearly, those numbers don’t quite add up.

On top of that, in-house agencies are often missing the specialized talent to get the job done. “Three in four IHAs (79%) say specialty talent and capabilities need to advance internally over the next two years, with video, digital, social media and analytics skills topping the list of what’s needed.”

Only 31% of corporate marketers saying IHA leadership is “highly” effective, and 53% think it’s just “somewhat” effective, showing room for improvement in leadership.

There are also challenges with scaling marketing efforts. Growing content needs and edit requests can overwhelm in-house creatives, especially if there’s not enough budget to hire more people.

Tips for building an effective internal agency

So how can you set up an in-house agency that thrives? Here are the basics:

Know your brand

This goes for pretty much any endeavor, but the more clearly you can define your brand, the clearer your mission will be and the better your agency will understand its goals.

Know what you need (and what you don’t)

Not every agency is going to need a team of videographers or savvy social media mavens. Do you want account executives? Producers? Media buyers? A PR team? Your agency can be as simple or complex as you need.

Expand where you need to and don’t skimp on the roles whose specialties will make great work possible. But save where you can by knowing what will and won’t give you return on your investment.

Hire the right people

Diversity is king — especially when you’re working in a creative field. To make your agency dynamic, you want to have people with different backgrounds and professional experiences.

You also want to invest in good leadership. The right leaders will steer your brand in the right direction and keep your staff happy.

Focus on a culture of creativity

Once you’ve got things in place, the work’s not over. Agency culture is extremely important, and you want to make sure your creatives feel like they have the freedom to pursue big ideas.

Encourage out-of-the-box thinking and risk-taking. It’s also beneficial to regularly give employees time to explore creative pursuits that are tangential to their roles.

Building a successful in-house creative agency will take vision and an inspired sense of leadership. For more tips on how to master creative leadership, check out our free guide How to manage creative teams, where you’ll find advice on advocating for and building a good rapport with your team, as well as info about leading with a creative vision.

Storytelling has the incredible ability to connect people on a deep, emotional level. It brings us together as we feel empathy for one another, laugh together and relate to someone else. Figures and stats aren’t emotionally charged and interesting. People want to hear stories that are relatable and trigger feelings within them. And, in the world of marketing, brand storytelling can have a massive impact on your company and the following you receive.

With so many competing brands out there, it’s essential that you set yourself apart from the crowd, make yourself known and tell your brand story. A brand with a compelling story can connect with people in a way that draws them to you and gives you their loyalty. So many companies fail to see the importance in relating to their customer base this way. But, it’s not that difficult to build strong emotional connections with your customers with a captivating history of your reason for being.

How to write a brand story

1. Why do you exist?

There’s always a reason why you’ve made the decision to start your business. It could be something as simple as providing a high-quality product, because you had been disappointed by what was already available—or perhaps it’s something with a deeper, more introspective meaning. Regardless of the reason for your existence, you’ve got to tell your story.

2. Explain your history

Although it may not seem so interesting to you, your customers want to hear the history of how you went from the idea of your company to what exists today. A hard-fought underdog story can be incredibly relatable to many people who have gone through hardships or struggle, and it can be inspirational for someone currently in the same position.

If there isn’t much behind your history, a fun and fantastical story always makes for a memorable experience. As long as you aren’t misleading your customers into thinking you are something that you’re not, a fictional story is a great way to add some interest to your history.

When you’re building a brand story, you’ll also develop your own tone of voice and other assets. Make sure to keep those all in one place so they’re easy for anyone to find. Create a brand style guide using this handy template from Lucidpress.

3. Who are the characters involved?

Every story needs to have some characters in it. Your brand story will have at least a few characters: those individuals who were involved in some way or another with the conception and development of the brand. Any number of people can be a character in the story of your brand, including:

When you’re looking to dig deep into the core of your brand story, first identify who was at the heart of the creation of the brand. And, as the brand evolves and continues to grow, more characters may be added into the story as they emerge. Keep your story and characters updated as needed.

4. State your mission

Your mission statement is essentially your basic reason for being. It outlines several things for your customers to learn about your brand:

In outlining your mission statement, you’ve got to remember to stay true to yourself. After all, you and your company must live and breathe this mission statement in order to stay true to the brand and protect your brand’s reputation. If your mission statement includes environmentally friendly practices, but you drive a gas-guzzler or are found to be improperly disposing of your waste, you will significantly tarnish your brand and mission statement. But, when you live your mission statement, you show yourself and your brand to be more authentic and trustworthy.

5. What are your failures?

There are few stories of success that are without their fair share of obstacles, downturns and downright fails, so don’t be afraid to share that part of your story with your customers. After all, conflict is what makes any story interesting.

Some of the most successful people you’ve heard of have been through their fair share of failures:

Oftentimes, we feel the urge to skip over these failures and just leave a gap in our stories. But, it’s generally within those gaps that the most change and development takes places. Don’t sugarcoat the tough times, but instead be honest with your customers. You’ll be shocked at how well honesty about failure and struggle is accepted and appreciated.

Brand story example

At Lucidpress, our mission is to help every person, business or brand present themselves, so they are understood. We developed our brand story as follows:


In two decades, the digital landscape has transformed the way brands present themselves — and the world now expects great design.


However, design isn’t a universal skill. Combine that with nearly everyone in an organization creating content and you get bad design and inconsistent branded content.

Due to this, many companies turn to strict brand controls, creating large content request backlogs for central creative teams, or else employees are allowed to create content in the wild with little direction.


We created a brand templating platform to offer a better way. Through Lucidpress, companies scale content creation while protecting their brand.

When brands stay consistent through brand templating they last longer, grow faster, and drive more revenue.

Creating a brand story using these steps can help solidify that emotional connection with your customers, to build a bond that is hard to break. Don’t overlook the importance of writing your brand story and building that relationship.

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Download our free ebook on how to build a brand in 2020.

Advancements in technology and the power of the internet have leveled the playing field for most, so the need for a creative & effective real estate branding strategy is more important than ever if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Consumers today are market-savvy, and it’s brand authenticity, social proof and genuine human connection that drive our purchasing decisions. We all want to buy from real estate brands we know, like and trust, and so the Person-to-Person (P2P) stance on marketing has never been more important.

Above all else, buyers value real estate brands they have confidence in, and that means delivering integrity, knowledge and strong communication.

While this suggests that real estate brokerages must leverage their real estate agents’ personal brands to win over buyers, the importance of a consistent, brokerage-wide branding approach cannot be ignored.

Without the support that a strong, dependable real estate brand offers its realtors, demonstrating integrity and knowledge becomes harder, and putting effective communication practices in place can be a challenge.

What is real estate branding?

Ultimately a brand is a summation of the feelings and experiences an individual associates with a real estate brokerage. Many components work together to create a real estate brand including visual components such as the brand font, colors and logo. Other important brand elements include your brokerage’s values, processes, reputation and unique value proposition.

How to build real estate brands for agents, not just clients

In real estate, your brand isn’t just for your clients or potential clients. It’s also for your real estate agents.

Think about it: if your brand is your story, then your agents have to see themselves as players in that brand story. Where you came from, who you serve, what you do well… All of these things are part of your brand story. Agents need to relate to this brand before they can see it as valuable and worth protecting. [ ] Are you telling them this brand story, and if so, is it resonating with them?

Of course, real estate agents also carry their own personal brands with them, which adds a new layer of complexity. If they can’t harmoniously combine their personal brand with the brokerage brand, it’s going to be very difficult to maintain brand compliance.

Not only will brand compliance suffer, but your retention rates might, too. If staying on-brand is too much work for your agents, they might leave for greener pastures. We heard a lot of concern about agents leaving one brokerage for another, especially independent brokerages whose agents switch to a national brokerage.

Our advice is to cultivate a real estate brand that is consistent but malleable. The core elements of your real estate brand should always remain the same, but in other areas, give your real estate agents the opportunity to add a personal touch.

This is one big reason why Lucidpress performs so well against “form-fill” software. Our templates support drag-and-drop design, so real estate agents can customize their own marketing materials. But we also provide template locking, so corporate designers can lock down logos, colors, fonts and other assets that make up a brand. It’s a win-win scenario: real estate agents can quickly and easily make marketing materials that they’re proud of, while designers can rest easy knowing the agency’s brand is protected.

In this way, it becomes much easier to tell your brand story—to buyers, to sellers, to partners, and crucially, to your real estate agents.

How to build real estate brands for clients

What about the other side of the equation—building real estate brands for clients? We’ve heard again and again that building a strong real estate brand is critical for success today. In particular, real estate agencies need a strong brand to:

  1. Hold their footing in the marketplace
  2. Stand out from their competitors

So it’s no surprise that real estate agencies and brokerages are looking for ways to stand out above the pack, and branding offers an effective way to accomplish just that.

National real estate brokerages usually have the advantage when it comes to brand awareness and legacy. Because many of them have been around for decades, they’ve achieved high visibility and built up good brand reputations. To preserve this goodwill, it’s vital for these companies to protect their brands from poor design and off-brand marketing.

On the other hand, independent, local brokerages might have a leg up here—because they’re small, they can adapt quickly. They also have the home-field advantage when it comes to fitting into the community and knowing the neighborhoods. All of this knowledge can be leveraged to create a recognizable, trustworthy real estate brand.

Key takeaway

Although real estate is more competitive than ever, it’s possible to pull ahead with a strong, consistent brand. When your branding is consistent, it’s easier to innovate and branch out to new technologies and business models without diluting your message. By building and telling a brand story that resonates with real estate agents and clients, your brokerage is laying the foundation for future success.

Real estate branding techniques

To balance the brokerage brand with the realtor’s personal brand, agencies need to develop a system for creating content at scale and storing it in a central hub that everyone can access.

Consistency is key in branding, but as the number of channels and mediums continues to grow, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brokerages to manage.

With designers left fighting an overflow of requests and rogue real estate agents taking it upon themselves to create content, the quality of a brand and its message can quickly become diluted.

By taking a hands-on approach to producing top-level brand assets and distributing them well, you’re giving your agents the resources they need to develop a personal brand without breaking from the brokerage’s branding.

The real estate brokerages who do this well understand that branding & marketing departments need ultimate control when it comes to producing content, but giving agents the flexibility to adapt and personalize that content is the way forward.

By creating branded, templated designs (where a brand’s logo, slogan, colors & fonts are locked in, but text, photos & contact details can be changed), marketing directors can oversee brand consistency while also streamlining workflows.

The key is not only to create this central bank of branded content but to give agents both the training and the guidelines they need to use it effectively. To make it work, you’ll need to think long-term and be consistent.

Once your brokerage has implemented a process based on this principle, the next step is to look at how you can use content to establish and develop a strong brand.

Real estate branding & content ideas

Forward-thinking brokerages know that their digital spaces are much more than online brochures. Publishing photos of properties—however appealing—isn’t enough if you’re looking to play big.

To level-up and move past publishing only the expected collection of real estate listings, you’ll need to look for ways to add value, be informative and provide inspiration.

Upgrade your website & social channels by putting some of the following ideas into practice.

More than just showing off the building or the rooms inside it, how can you help your buyers imagine themselves living or working there? What is it about the area, the facilities, the amenities or the community that will have a positive effect on their overall lifestyles or businesses?

Perhaps you could conduct interviews with existing residents or produce a feature on local restaurants, schools, and stores? The possibilities are endless; you just need to tap into the right audience and understand what makes them tick.

Give your audience a reason to trust you by providing them with answers to the questions they have surrounding real estate.

The key here is to ensure you’re adding true value and not just pushing out sales messages disguised as advice. Put your real estate clients at the forefront of your mind when you’re creating this type of content, and again, try and get to the heart of who they are and what they want.

The National Association of Realtors found that 85% of buyers and sellers prefer to work with an agent who offers video marketing, but only 15% of agents actually use video to market their listings.

In today’s digital-first landscape, where posts containing imagery and video gain the most traction online, embracing new media is essential for brand survival.

As well as looking for ways to support your agents in building personal connections, you should also find opportunities to have them contribute to the company’s brand.

Engage your best real estate agents and bring them onboard with the content creation process. Put them in front of the camera for a Q&A or discussion, then broadcast it live or record it and use it across your platforms.

In summary, if you want to build a respected, trusted and engaging real estaee brand, remember to:

Common real estate branding mistakes

Building a recognizable real estate brand your clients can connect to is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Everyone knows you should be unique and offer great service, but many brands start off by making the same mistakes.

To help you start your real estate branding journey on the right foot, here are a few common missteps and how to avoid them.

1. Not having an authentic brand identity

Authenticity means staying true to a brand’s essence. Without this kind of transparency, your brand might seem untrustworthy (or even too cookie-cutter) for customers to pay attention to.

The first step towards learning how to build brand authenticity is to answer the following questions, which will help you better envision your brand’s identity. Then, take all those notes and find ways to put them into an actionable plan.

Questions to ask yourself:

2. Not using the full power of the internet

Because so many consumers shop online these days, it’s easy for them to imagine finding their realtor or their next home the same way. Phones, tablets, laptops—these are our new shopping malls. If you’re not harnessing the far-reaching power of the ‘net (such as social media), then it’s safe to say that you’re missing an entire sector of the market.

There is good news, though: It’s not too late to jump in and reap the benefits of digital brand-building. If you’re a newcomer to the scene, here are the most impactful ways to get started.

Videos for real estate

People are very visual when it comes to shopping around for a purchase. Clients want to see what a real estate listing looks likes.

Videos that demonstrate the value of your service can be invaluable to building your overall brand. Periscope and Meerkat are two video-creation apps that stream your videos right to Twitter. (You can use a smartphone to record a YouTube video, but you can’t edit or make it look more professional without video-editing software.)

Perhaps you’ll decide to hire a video production company to assist you in creating your videos. For example, you might want to create video walk-throughs of all your properties to show prospective buyers what they have to offer. A company with extensive experience filming apartments, homes & offices will know how to make your property look great on video.

Instagram for real estate

If you use Instagram for social purposes, then you already know how powerful it can be for brand marketing. This strategy is common among influencers, and for good reason. Instagram images can demonstrate and advertise your brand’s products & services, but they’re also the perfect place to show off your brand’s philosophy and personality.

Because of its unique visual format, it’s important to create content specially for Instagram. A few quick snippets will only take a few minutes of your day to make, so make sure to update this platform regularly and keep your followers engaged.

Facebook for real estate

Creating a Facebook business page or group is a popular starting place for social media marketing. It’s a reliable way to ask questions and provide customer support, and it creates a sense of community among your followers.

How can you tailor Facebook to real estate branding? Offer first looks at new properties, exclusive discounts, and valuable industry info that will encourage newcomers to follow you. Remember to be visual here, as well: posts with photo or video attached outperform those without.

3. Not building your real estate brand luxuriously

Choosing the right colors, design elements, logos, typography—everything matters if you want to create a luxury brand that represents quality and credibility. But, here’s something that might surprise you: You can create a luxurious brand on a smaller budget than you think. That is, as long as you’re thoughtful and deliberate about what you’re building.

Your brand identity should harmonize with your brand’s essence. (Remember authenticity?) It all works together to communicate your mission, your passion, and your unique selling points. Start with your brand values and work towards a logo that represents them well. As you add in new elements, like colors & fonts, make sure they all work together to send a clear, professional message about the quality of your brand.

Finally, remember that your clients can be some of your best brand ambassadors. They know what it’s like to work with you, and their story can inspire others to do the same. Collect testimonials from your satisfied clients and from other real estate professionals. (Pro tip: Consider recording them as video testimonials.) From there, you can post them on your website and social media channels.

4. No genuine connection with others

According to Harvard Business professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, social media is one of the best ways to build connections to your target market. However, it’s not just about being present—it’s about finding ways to spark genuine human connection.

This could mean publicly supporting a cause that reflects your brand’s values and that others will want to support with you. Another idea is posting original, behind-the-scenes content that helps your audience to get to know you and your brand. There are lots of things you can do and new ideas to try.

The point is, by genuinely connecting with your followers, you create positive brand experiences that aren’t just about making a profit. Instead, you’re putting yourself out there as a real estate brand that wants to help others and to serve your community in a positive way.

5. Not going after free press

Did you know you can jumpstart your brand awareness with local media? Make yourself available for interviews in specialty newspapers, magazines and podcasts. You can easily create a stellar one-sheet bio in Lucidpress (here’s a good template) to share with interviewers, so they understand your areas of expertise and how you can demonstrate them for their audience. This can be a great low-cost way to start building a name for yourself.

Lastly, don’t forget that you can amplify your own expertise as well. Create and curate content that your audience will want to read and share. You can do this with a blog and with your favorite social media networks, like Instagram or Pinterest. It doesn’t all have to be your own content—discovering and sharing others’ content can help you establish a presence and build new relationships. Just make sure you share thoughtfully and give the author credit.

Key takeaway

Don’t get trapped in the same pitfalls other real estate brands have fallen into. Master these principles so you can think outside the box, make real connections, and breathe life into your brand’s unique philosophy.

Examples of quality real estate branding

The real estate industry boasts many great examples of recognizable brands. In fact, a Lucidpress survey found that a large majority of the average consumer recognizes the top real estate brands.

Re/Max Rebrand

Rebranding is risky business. There’s so many ways for it to go wrong, and we’ve all seen it happen — Tropicana without the orange and Gap with its one pixel of color. (Here at Lucidpress, these make for great lunch table discussions on brand consistency.) But sometimes a gentle refresh propels a brand into the next couple generations.

Before 2017, RE/MAX hadn’t seen a change to its branding in over 40 years. A new logo was in order, one that looked cleaner on a digital screen and represented a modern brand trusted by today’s buyers. Before even going to the drawing table, the brand sent out developers to research what it was about the old brand that made it so iconic and trusted. There’s no sense starting from scratch when certain elements of a brand keep the customers coming back.

The developers took to the streets and surveyed over 20,000 people. They found three “fan-favorite” elements: the “red on white on blue” color scheme, the famous slash between syllables and the all-caps wordmark.

Backed by consumer research, RE/MAX fearlessly took to the drawing table to refresh its brand design. Anchored by the elements that proved to work already and inspired by modern design, it brought to life its new balloon that is more conducive to digital marketing and online shopping.

If you’re looking to buy property in Cabo, I’ll bet Cabo Cribs’ logo catches your attention.

The logo design is simplistic, but it doesn’t scrimp on the essentials of a good logo. It’s easy to understand, elegant, and has a small graphic that makes it obvious they’re selling homes.

Best real estate logo designs

Branding, and especially brand consistency, is important to us here at Lucidpress, and we’ve put a lot of effort into understanding how that resonates with real estate businesses.

To learn more from us and some of the first-rate agencies we’ve been lucky enough to partner with, check out the following resources for tips.

Learn how to elevate your brand and ensure consistency with this free guide to real estate branding.

The world’s most memorable brands didn’t build themselves overnight. What today’s juggernauts like Uber and Walmert did do, however, is spend time cultivating their brand identity through consistent messaging, design, customer service, and more. Together, all of these elements form your brand. And as such, it’s important that you control all of these touchpoints. Everything you do sends a message, and as a brand manager or creative lead, it’s up to you to guide and direct what messaging gets the green light. This is where your brand guidelines come in. 

At Marq, we’re obsessed with branding, and we like to keep a close eye on what the most recognizeable companies are doing to maintain — and to change — their brands. Lucky for us, a lot of these businesses post their brand guidelines online, giving us an inside look into how they do what they do.

Every brand guideline is unique, but they all share the goal of teaching people how to properly and consistently use the building blocks of a brand’s look, feel, and language. Some stick to these basics, while others give a comprehensive look into a brand’s story, philosophy, inspiration, and positioning statement. Sounds pretty useful, right? It is — and if you want to see how brand guidelines work in the real world, read on to check out some of the best brand books we’ve encountered yet.

Sounds pretty useful, right? It is — and if you want to see how brand guidelines work in the real world, read on to check out some of the best brand books we’ve encountered yet.

What are brand guidelines?

We like to think of brand guidelines as a instruction manual of sorts for keeping your brand’s positioning, communications, and experience consistent. With it, anyone should be able to craft on-brand content and self-serve any creative requests they might find thrown their way.

If we were to whip up a brand book example on the spot, it’d likely include things like: 

A frequently updated and easily accessible brand standards guide will go a long way in making sure no one at your company is making off-brand collateral. If everyone knows how and where to find your brand guidelines, they can just quickly pop in and check the rules without needing to ask a designer or risk publishing something that doesn’t look or feel like your brand. 

And with that being said, below are some of our favorite brand guideline examples.

Great brand guidelines to inspire your team


We love that Skype’s brilliant brand book reads more like a cheeky comic than a stodgy brand style guide. Illustrations and speech bubbles are used throughout to convey exactly what vibe the brand is going for, and it’s a testament to what good creative can do for your branding. It’s fun to read, it’s colorful, it’s got jokes — what more could you want? When you need inspiration for adding fun into your brand, consider spending some time with Skype’s branding guidelines. View the full brand guidelines here.


Our favorite small-business-focused marketing platform got a new look in 2018 that’s still serving the brand well today. The brand offers both a peek at the visual style guide as well as an in-depth content style guide. Everything from the brand’s colors to tone to animation style relies on vibrancy and simplicity, and we couldn’t be bigger fans.

Scrolling through the style guide, you’ll see that the thought behind Mailchimp’s brand is well articulated and laid out. You’ll always find a “why” here. It’s a simple thing, but this really helps people understand the vision for the company, which in addition to laying out ground rules, is one of the most important things brand guidelines can do.

“Think of your brand style guide as a living document,” Mailchimp Art Director Jane Song says. “You want to give your brand expression room to keep expanding over time.” View the full brand guidelines here.

Why they work: Mailchimp and Skype’s brand guidelines manage to strike the perfect balance between fun and pragmatism. It’s easy to see exactly what makes these companies unique, but the cheeky designs and charisma never overshadow these guides’ true purpose: to educate and inspire.

Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America have a huge branding challenge: The organization needs a brand guideline that not only conveys its message (“Prepared. For Life.”) but also allows for the customization of the brand in literally hundreds of thousands of troops. Just for perspective, there are over a million scouts in America plus more than 800,000 adult leaders, and any of those leaders might want to make a flyer or poster or brochure.

Most of these volunteers don’t have graphic design experience, and that means corporate needs a clear, easy to use, and accessible set of brand guidelines. That’s why BSA’s brand book offers a lot of hand-holding, as it might be the only brand manual these volunteers will ever see. There’s more to this manual than just guidelines about font size and color palette, though. The book carefully explains marketing terms that the average scoutmaster or den mother might not be familiar with. And for each logo and trademark asset, there are ample do’s and don’ts to advise the layman on how to move forward.

These brand guidelines, which are built upon a rich tradition of imagery, slogans, and trademarks, are a perfect example of how an organization with many products and variations can clearly and succinctly build a cohesive brand platform that integrates common design elements into disparate categories of symbolism. View the full brand guidelines here.

Girl Scouts of America

We got our hands on Girl Scouts of America’s brand playbook, which differs from a traditional brand guideline in that it’s focused on the high-level messaging of the brand rather than design details. It’s a stellar opportunity to see how a sprawling organization with thousands of chapters all over the country maintains a consistent brand identity. 

The brand book’s specific purpose is to “help you understand how Girl Scouts functions as a brand and the key differences that set us apart from the rest of the saturated ‘girl power’ marketplace.” Look no further if you want to find out how a legacy brand tackles differentiation and keeping up with the times.

Inside you’ll find plenty of ideas on how to relay your mission, brand story, values, and voice and tone. View the full brand guide here.

Why they work: With a 100 year+ legacy and thousands of public members, the BSA and GSA face a unique challenge in upholding brand consistency at every level of their organizations. By prioritizing clear, concise, and down-to-earth instructions, they’ve made sure that anyone can take their brand and run with it.


Walmart has a separate brand guideline just for internal comms and marketing. The guide pays special attention to voice and tone, encouraging human, but not chummy, language: “We have a specific approach that captures our fresh, always-Walmart spirit.” The brand’s Associate Spark logo is designed to represent the various people, cultures, and careers across the Walmart brand.

This brand guideline example is a smart look at how a huge company takes its company culture seriously and works to maintain a good employee experience. View the brand guide here.


This tech giant has a hundred fingers in a hundred pies, which is exactly why we’re so interested in this case study of Google’s Logo, the Google G, and the Dots. The new logotype is imbued with “childlike simplicity” (a Google video shows the new logo being written as though it was on a grammar school’s middle-lined paper). It’s mathematical – an ode to geometry. What’s more, it was designed not only for a new brand aesthetic, but also to scale up and down while looking the same across many platforms — a problem Google’s previous logo struggled with.

Not to be outdone is the simple Google G: a circle with a small cut taken out and a reformed horizontal. It is designed for small applications where the full logotype wouldn’t have room to appear, but they’ve made it similar in many ways. The G is essentially the new G from “Google,” but with a thicker line weight, and it incorporates all the colors from the full word. It’s instantly recognizable as being the younger sibling of the full logotype.

Finally, Google introduced the dots, which are referred to as “a dynamic and perpetually moving state of the logo.” The dots are emotive: gently rolling when awaiting a command, expanding when being spoken to, forming a turning circle when thinking, and so on. The colors of the four dots are the same as the colors of the logotype and the Google G: blue, green, yellow, and red. View the full brand guidelines here.

Why they work: As giants of tech and commerce, Google and Walmart’s branding stretches far and wide. As such, they need a set of flexible brand guidelines that can not only adapt to different applications, but can still be instantly recognizeable at a glance.


You can check out Slack’s brand guidelines to see how this instant-messaging giant lays down the brand law. We appreciate how the brand book is designed to be as clear and user-friendly as the platform itself. It walks you through all the fine details of colors, icons, trademarks — the works.

This particular brand book starts by taking you through its values (empathy, courtesy, craftsmanship, playfulness, solidarity, and thriving) before moving you through a thorough discussion of color, type usage, and logo lockups. This brand guideline example has it all, including type adjustments for its international markets and rules for photography and videos. View the full brand guidelines here.


We love Uber’s very tidy brand guideline, divided into neat compartments like logo, color, composition, iconography, and illustration. It’s presented as an interactive webpage rather than a digital book, and this approach allows plenty of space to hash out details. You can even download templates and assets directly from each section, making the guide a functional DAM of sorts as well. View the brand guidelines here.

Why they work: Sometimes simplicity is the best thing you can give your creative teams. We appreciate Slack and Uber’s no-fluff approach, and love how easy Uber’s brand book makes it to download templates and assets. 

We hope these brand guideline examples inspire you to imagine all of the things your own brand guidelines can do for your company. While the idea of a brand book might seem restrictive at first, the reality is that a good set of brand guidelines will help you tell a compelling story and create a character for your company. They’ll help you remember exactly what you’re all about, and help your customers understand you better.