We’ve been kicking around the term “brand enablement,” and the lightning-bolt level of excitement we have about it is unmatched. We can’t help but think about the teams who often feel handicapped by their own brand. We consider the number of times content is produced that doesn’t align with brand initiatives, guidelines, or even strategy. More often than not, the cause is poor communication channels or teams running in silos. Implementation of an internal brand enablement strategy is crucial to your overall brand strategy. This means brand accessibility and visibility across your organization is how you can deliver on brand strategy initiatives more effectively and efficiently. 

Brand enablement is when anyone can put your brand to work, no matter their team, role, or function within your organization.

In this article, you will learn 

This topic excites us and we hope it delivers the momentum you need moving into the new year. Let’s go!

What is brand enablement?

Brand accessibility, visibility, and usability across your organization are the core of what brand enablement is and can do for your business. When you equip every team with the ability to implement your brand in the channels they use daily, with confidence that they can execute? You’ve eliminated hundreds of hurdles, from creative bottlenecks to the brand/sales game of telephone.

We consider brand enablement to extend beyond a simple brand guide. Brand is more than a logo. Your brand story encompasses your visual identity, messaging, voice, and strategy. These unique brand identifiers that make up your brand get created by your people and then held by a group of brand owners, leaving the rest of your organization handicapped. We get it. Brand matters. Rogue content and off-brand materials aren’t an option.

We also know that creative and design requests are an important part of modern brand management workflows. With that said, it isn’t realistic to dump every idea on your designers to execute. Not only is so much lost in translation, but this leaves organizations in a position where they cannot act quickly, especially when their design teams are overwhelmed with requests. 

Brand enablement allows you to have both. You can have a design team that executes creative ideas while fueling cross-functional teams with brand assets that they can use AND a highly productive organization that creates its own branded content to fulfill strategic initiatives. 

According to CMI’s B2B Content Marketing Report for 2023, 

71% of marketers believe content marketing will be more important than it was in 2022.

83% reported that differentiation from competitors is dependent on quality content production. 

Bottom line, you need everyone in on strategy, aligned, enabled, and operating like a well-oiled machine. Sounds like a dream, right? Let’s talk about how you can make this dream your reality. 

What are the Benefits of Brand Enablement?

Let’s face it; even the most design-savvy cross-functional team member can misinterpret or have difficulty understanding how to implement a brand effectively. The best brand strategy is one where teams’ are enabled and encouraged to take action on their ideas without concern about producing off-brand materials. We consider internal brand enablement rather crucial for organizations to produce at the pace needed to keep up with demand. 

Brand enablement doesn’t just benefit your design teams, it benefits your organization as a whole. What if your designer(s) could equip your team with the brand assets, templates, content types, messaging, etc. ? What would this do for your organization’s growth?

Benefits of Brand Enablement

The benefits of enabling your people with your brand are hard to argue with- you will save time in the back-and-forth shuffle between designers and requesters, and you can also iterate on ideas faster. 

Brand enablement will help you

Think about it this way, you provide tools to your sales teams for example, to enable them to execute their roles. From industry one-sheets to pricing matrixes, empowering your sales team with the right materials and tools enables them to share your product/service and close more deals. These crucial assets greatly benefit their ability to provide customers with information. What if you did that across your entire organization, giving everyone the ability to share ideas and tap into the content that your designers are already creating?

Brand enablement encompasses those sales assets and takes it a step further. This concept creates brand awareness internally and allows any team member to access brand assets thoughtfully created by your design teams. 

Content built for sales could also be incredibly impactful for growth teams. An RFP that was built for a particular customer could be repurposed for another if there was exposure and visiblity to know that it exists. Now, before you say it, we’ll say it first. We aren’t just talking about centralizing assets in the form of digital asset management. That is but one component of brand enablement, and we see the true value of your brand enablement strategy when every component is thoughtfully considered across teams. 

Characteristics of a Successful Brand Enablement Strategy

It isn’t hard to immediately see the benefits of what a well-executed brand enablement strategy could do for your organization. When we think about time saved across teams and this idea that everyone in your organization is a creator, the growth potential is wildly exciting. So, how do you do it? How do you enable your people with your brand? How do you make your brand accessible and useable across your organization?

Brand enablement is made up of three core characteristics.

Is your brand accessible?

When we think about the question, “is your brand accessible?” it is best to start with the foundational elements of your brand within your brand identity. The elements that make up your brand identity should each be included in your brand enablement strategy to ensure that your most critical brand assets are available across your organization. 

Elements of brand identity include

  1. Your logo/wordmark
  2. Your fonts
  3. Taglines / Key Messages
  4. Your brand voice
  5. Supporting visual elements like photography, iconography, etc. 
  6. Branded content templates

How often have you seen the wrong logo attached to a piece of content? Instead of assuming user error, consider this a failure in your brand enablement protocols. Perhaps all logos were provided when your primary logo was the only one your organization needed access to. Or, perhaps your logos were not made accessible at all, so team members had to pull your logo from the internet instead. Yikes! It sounds crazy, but these failed brand interactions happen all the time for even the most sophisticated team structures. 

Establishing a brand identity takes thoughtful execution, but protecting your brand identity is often the most difficult. This is typically why creative teams are given the responsibility of protecting it and why they hold it so close. However, modern brand management and the concept of brand enablement require design teams to find creative ways to bring everyone in on brand activations.

It is next to impossible to keep up with growing content demand without enabling teams to help fill the gap. Accessibility is the first step to bringing cross-functional partners in on brand activities. 

Are your brand activities visible?

Lack of visibility easily leads to duplicate content efforts, wasted resources, and mismanagement of time across your organization. It is like the ages-old saying, does the left hand know what the right hand is doing, but worse in many ways because it costs your organization money and time. When different teams are running on their own initiatives and multiple pieces of content are created that almost mirror each other or share competing messages, you risk delivering a mixed message to your audience. This error can be detrimental to brand equity over time. Further, you could miss out on opportunities by not sharing valuable assets that could be effective for your cross-functional partners. 

Make your brand assets visible to all teams. This will allow anyone, like your sales reps, for example, to utilize graphics that your marketing team made. It will extend the shelf life of your content by allowing anyone to tap into content that has been created and quickly personalize them. 

It will enable your organization to use the branded assets that your team worked so hard to create.

Is your brand usable?

Lastly, ensuring that the assets your creative and design teams have created are usable is essential. It is challenging to take off the designer hat and consider if a non-designer can easily handle your brand assets, but brand enablement depends on it. The expectation should not be that everyone is a designer; instead, are your designs fool-proof and created with the end creator in mind and the intended audience? 

The mechanism for the usability of brand assets is often branded templates. 

When you check your brand against brand enablement standards, you should ask the following questions.

  1. Is your brand identity accessible to teams?
  2. Is your brand usable across your organization?
  3. Do you have templates available for teams to personalize?
  4. Are your brand guidelines accessible?
  5. Can non-designers understand your brand guidelines?
  6. Are your brand assets (including templates) centralized and organized for teams to find what they need easily?

When you consider brand accessibility through the lens of your brand enablement strategy, you can create design assets your organization needs and will use while making those designs accessible so teams can execute confidently. How do you do this? Let’s take a look. 

How do you create brand enablement at your organization?

When you shift to make brand enablement a part of your brand strategy, you’ll want to look for tools that meet the characteristics of brand enablement first and foremost. To review, these are:

  1. Accessibility
  2. Visibility
  3. Usability

You’ll also want to look for easy-to-use solutions that require minimal training and are easily scalable.  You will need a place to store your digital brand assets, an editing tool for content personalization, and an avenue to collaborate on projects. There are several options for DAMs, design tools, template solutions, and collaboration tools, but Marq delivers on all of the above. 

We are more than just a template solution for organizations. Right off the heels of our big Marq Analytics launch, which gives customers insights into which content is used and how often, we are more excited than ever about offering a brand enablement solution for organizations. 


Our CEO, Owen Fuller, just shared in our 2022 Wrapped about where we are headed, and brand enablement is at the heart of it. We’d love to discuss how we can partner with you to help you do more in the new year. 

Click here to schedule a 1:1 with someone from our team. Or, you can try Marq today, for free

Your brand’s voice can be one of your most vital marketing assets if you do it right. The unique characteristics that make your brand stand out can come down to the words you use to define your brand’s product and position. What you say is just as valuable as how you say it. So, what is a brand voice, and why does it matter so much?

In this article, we will talk about brand voice and how to make your brand’s voice stand out in the turbulent sea of competitors. Your words should inspire your audience to engage with your product/service and generate loyalty; your brand voice helps with that.

You will also learn

Let’s dive deep into the words behind your brand. 

Building a brand voice and why it matters

Who are you? The art of personifying a brand takes shape when we transform it into a romantically crafted superhuman that executes on its characteristic profile 100% of the time. Tackling the wishlist of traits your brand will ooze when communicating with your customer will help guide you in just about everything. 

What kind of characteristics should your brand possess? So glad you asked! That is entirely up to your intended audience. Your brand persona should share and exude the traits you want your audience to feel when engaging with your brand. 

You want these traits to come through in your content, from marketing to deeper product messaging. 

Confidence. Knowledgeability. Cleverness.

You choose but identify the ones that are most important to your organization and check your content against those as you form your product messaging, campaigns, and strategy. These key characteristics will bring your brand back to itself and keep you honest about your content goals. They will help your team creatively concept messaging with a clear guide on how your brand communicates. These characteristics will be your brand’s key pillars and should start there. As you continue to develop content, consider a regular cadence for brand audits to ensure you are maintaining consistency in your brand voice.

Consistency in your brand voice is important because your audience will come to expect these traits as they interact with you. Over time, consistently delivering content builds brand equity– when your customers can repeatedly depend on the same experience, you build loyalty over time.

Brand Voice Development

Like Meryl Streep and her cold-hearted method with her co-stars in the execution of her role as Miranda Presley in the Devil Wears Prada, running your brand’s character through various scenarios will bring your unique voice to life.

Take a look at these important questions as you develop your brand voice or tweak the one you already have. 

As you think through each of these channels and situations where your brand voice will have the opportunity to shine through, you may revise your character traits, making it easier for your team to deliver consistent copy. This crucial part of your brand development process, as “method” as it may be, will help you land on brand voice traits that will truly resonate with your audience.

Humor only works if it is smart. 

Confidence only works if it isn’t all ego. 

If going ‘method’ with your brand means you and the brand become one and the same, we highly encourage it. Dress in your brand colors and role-play in the office. Document it. We absolutely want to see it. Around here, new Marq puns surface every week, and our entire team feels invested in the Marq brand. 

The Importance of Brand Tone 

Tone is that thing we attempt to smooth over with emojis when we are chatting via text message. Your mood when you say the things you say will give your audience an impression of who you are and what they can expect from you. It should be noted that if you ever feel like you need the help of a smiley face in your marketing copy, you are in trouble.  

Your tone is different from your brand’s personality. Your persona may be confident, but you don’t want that confidence to sound cocky or egotistical. Balancing your brand’s tone alongside its characteristics will help you deliver your message with clarity and precision. 

When you say, “we know what we are doing,” make sure your tone isn’t going to alienate your audience. Does it sound off-putting? Do you wish you could include a wink? It may sound crazy, but the emoji barometer is one you should listen to. 

Examples of tone in practice (one of these is better than the rest)

Brands that deliver well in tone are the brands that we want to hear from. The kind of brand marketing you look forward to clearly indicates that their tone hits the mar(q). As you communicate with your audience, your tone should also be consistent. 

Some modern brand management tools that can help you deliver consistently on brand voice are available. Grammarly, for example, allows you to input tone profiles so you can check for sounds of confidence and enthusiasm while also receiving feedback if your tone sounds negative or unsure. 

Before we released the Marq brand, we had months of exercising with copy and editing. We tested it and made new rules based on how we felt after reading and re-reading the brand copy. We thought about how we could relate to our audience and what words we would use to personalize the message while staying on brand. Your brand voice will come alive differently depending on the channel. Your brand’s words should always stay true to your voice profile, but the layers of personality may appear in varying orders depending on the platform and the message’s intention.

Defining this balance will help dictate your brand messaging across all channels and will make it easier for your team to implement your brand as they execute their various initiatives. 

For example, your website will inform and educate your audience. It should be clear and concise, so visitors to your website immediately know who you are and what you do. You may utilize more playful language in subheadlines while keeping your main headlines more clear. Your social content might reverse this formula in favor of going bold to grab your audience’s attention faster, with supporting copy delivering the confidence and informative language that you want to ensure your audience consumes. The balance in brand voice should prioritize the audience outcome you want to drive. 

How to measure brand voice success

Your brand voice out in the wild for consumption is exciting. As you publish on your content channels, follow it closely. You will know if your voice resonates with your audience through engagement and metrics. Don’t be afraid to test your wordplay and recognize that not everything needs to be measured. Sometimes, you trust your gut. Other times, you follow the data. In both cases, the groundwork on brand voice should allow you to confidently execute your messaging. Hopefully, you put the voice through the wringer and came out on the other side, confident that you’d be friends with your brand. 

Admire how your brand’s words bring your product/service to life. Celebrate its cleverness and take opportunities to be creative with its persona. Just like humans, your brand can evolve; but stay true to your core traits. Let those traits guide your messaging, and be sure to measure your content effectiveness by focusing in on the outcomes you hoped to achieve. 

Success can be found in your brand metrics, but you also may notice success in the comments of a social post or a reply to an email.  When your customer is happy to hear from you, entertained by how you shared your message, and excited to hear from you again, you know that you’ve done it. After all, words matter.

What is a Brand Audit?

A brand audit, also known as a brand assessment, analyzes your brand’s performance and market position relative to its objectives. It helps businesses to answer the question: Are our branding strategies achieving our marketing objectives? If not, why not, and what can we do about it? 

Brand audits study how consumers interact with a brand and how those interactions shape perceptions and feelings. They allow marketers to discover weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities for innovation.

Brand audits differ according to the company’s current objectives, but audits typically result in:

Why You Should Audit Your Brand

Branding aims to generate positive feelings, perceptions, associations, and beliefs about a company in the minds of consumers. It achieves this by crafting a culture, products, brand assets, and touchpoints that express and embody certain values and experiences. 

But there are several ways brand strategies can fail:

Brand gaps are a useful way to conceptualize the problem. Brand gaps happen when customer experiences fail to align with brand values. The brand wants to express values and create experiences in the belief that they will elicit positive feelings, thoughts, and behavioral responses in their target consumers. 

A brand gap indicates a mismatch between what the company communicates and what consumers perceive. When that happens, the brand is unlikely to benefit from the behavioral responses that motivate branding in the first place. 

For many brands, inconsistency is the root cause of brand gaps. Brands interact with consumers through touchpoints, and inconsistent touchpoints send mixed messages, leading to misunderstandings and confusion. 

For example, consider a potential customer who sees a video ad for your product on YouTube. The cinematography, messaging, and overall feeling communicate an impression of contemporary, high-energy innovation. 

But when they click on the ad, they are taken to a landing page with design and copy that communicates traditionalism, stability, and steadiness. Both sets of values are effective in the right place, but mixing them is confusing, and the brand is likely to repel consumers attracted by either set. 

The above example is fairly extreme, but even minor inconsistencies create a negative perception. Mismatched color schemes, typography variation, divergent communication styles—these give the impression that a brand hasn’t quite got it together. 

 A brand audit helps brands identify gaps and other shortcomings, giving marketers the information they need to build consistent and effective branding strategies.

8 Essential Brand Audit Elements

No two brands are the same, and brand audits should be tailored to meet each company’s unique needs. However, every brand audit should include the following essential elements. 

Devise a Brand Auditing Framework

Before embarking on a brand audit, you need a plan. Essentially, you need to know the questions you are asking and why they are important. Some brand auditors use a formal framework—such as a SWOT analysis—to guide the auditing process. But however you choose to organize the audit, this phase establishes the parameters that will guide you through the process.

First, consider the values and messages your brand strategy is supposed to communicate. Can you articulate your brand values and explain what the organization stands for and is trying to achieve? What do you want consumer perception of your brand to be? 

If you can’t answer these questions, you may have discovered the problem already. Establishing a consistent brand is impossible when you are unsure what the brand is supposed to be. 

Typically, a well-organized brand has these assets:

If your brand has these assets, you know what you’re looking for during the brand audit. Are they consistently implemented across all touchpoints? Do consumer perceptions match the intended messaging and values? Other questions you might ask include:

Once you have established a framework to guide the brand audit, you can begin interrogating your brand strategy and implementation. 

Identify and Evaluate Brand Touchpoints

A touchpoint is any point of contact between a consumer and your brand. Touchpoints play a critical role in branding: they are how brands exert an influence over consumer perceptions. Consumers form ideas and feelings about the brand whenever they connect with a touchpoint. Branding is the art and science of shaping touchpoint interactions to create perceptions that motivate behaviors. 

Touchpoint is a very broad term. It’s impossible to give a complete list here, but many businesses interact with consumers through the following touchpoints.

Each of these touchpoints embodies a set of values and messages about your brand. Ideally, they are the values and messages you want to convey. If they aren’t, you fail to create the experiences that support your brand strategy. 

For example, a business may invest in creating products tailored to a niche but fail to invest in packaging that appeals to that niche. The consequence will be a weakened brand and a missed opportunity. There’s a reason Apple invests so much in expensive, high-end packaging; it provides sensory experiences that strengthen the company’s brand perception. 

Identify and Evaluate Brand Assets

Brand assets are items and processes that establish a brand identity. They are the elements that allow a brand to create consistent touchpoints. Basic brand assets include names, logos, slogans, color schemes, typography, design patterns, imagery, content management and language guidelines, and other features that embody and communicate your brand. 

These basic assets are combined to create other assets, such as webpage layouts and designs, web copy, white papers, print brochures, packaging design, physical location decor, and so on—these are typically referred to as external brand assets. 

Internal brand assets, in contrast, include the elements we discussed in the ‘Framework’ section: brand and messaging guidelines, values, positioning statements, and so on. They can also include assets that impact touchpoints but that are not seen outside the business, including sales enablement content and training programs for sales and support staff. 

Your brand audit should assess all brand assets and brand asset management software to verify that they conform to the brand’s values, image, and messaging. 

Survey Your Customers

Branding aims to shape consumer perceptions and experiences. The consumer’s experience is where the rubber hits the road. It doesn’t matter how carefully and consistently your brand strategy is implemented if consumer perception diverges from desired brand perception. Surveying customers will help you to identify branding gaps and discover opportunities for improvement. 

Customer and consumer research can provide insights that include:

Analyze The Competition and the Market

Every brand competes against other brands for mindshare and business. You need to understand how your brand is positioned relative to the competition. What are they doing that you’re not? Is it working for them? How is your brand differentiated from competitors? 

To analyze the competition, you can use the same touchpoints, assets, and surveys procedure outlined above. Look at competitors’ touchpoints and see how they embody values and messages. Survey external assets for the same indicators. Conduct consumer research—or hire a consumer research firm—to find out how consumers perceive their brand relative to yours. 

Some of the questions you should consider are:

Target Demographics: Are You Reaching The Right Audience?

We have already covered surveying customers and researching customer perceptions, but what about consumers who aren’t customers? They’re a growth opportunity, but first, you must understand who they are, how you can appeal to them, and why they aren’t buying from you already. 

Conduct consumer surveys within the target market to find out:

Scrutinize Web Analytics and Social Media Data

Most consumers will find your brand via a Google search, visiting your site from search advertising or organic results. That makes your website both a crucial branding tool and a bellwether for the effectiveness of your branding strategy. 

We wrote in-depth about useful web analytics metrics in 10 Brand Metrics To Evaluate Your Brand Marketing Strategy, so we’ll highlight just the most important to your digital brand audit:

Plan Post-Audit Actions

Once you’ve gathered information and analyzed it, it’s time to consider your next move. A brand audit is only useful if you act on it. One way to tackle planning is to identify the changes you need to make and prioritize them. You’ll likely have discovered some major brand strategy shortcomings alongside potentially dozens of smaller issues. It pays to tackle the big problems first.

When prioritizing and planning, think about the following:

Achieving a Consistent Brand Identity

Throughout this article, we’ve emphasized the importance of consistency in branding. Consistency across brand assets and touchpoints is vital but also challenging. Marq can help. Our brand templating platform empowers brands to deploy consistent brand assets and content across many online and offline touchpoints. Request a demo to see how Marq will transform your branding implementation.

The real estate industry boasts some of the most iconic brands: Re/Max, Berkshire Hathaway and Coldwell Banker to name a few. But how recognizable are those brands’ logos to the general consumer? And does it match real estate professionals’ views of the industry’s branding? That’s what we sought to find out in our latest two surveys.

We quizzed 395 people on their recall of well-known industry brands and followed up with a survey of 36 real estate professionals to get their thoughts on the industry.

Executive summary

When it comes to real estate professionals, they value their brand’s position within the industry. They ranked positioning as the most important branding element of a real estate company’s success, closely followed by user experience on the app or website. 

Only 11% of real estate professionals said the logo was the most important branding element for their company’s success.

When it comes to consumers, logos are crucial for brand recognition. The majority of respondents were able to correctly identify top real estate brands like Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway and RE/Max by their logo alone. However, some elements of the logo were more identifiable than others:

Century 21’s recent rebrand didn’t just throw off consumers. The majority (56%) of real estate professionals also did not think the rebrand was successful and expected consumers to be confused. The real estate professionals were also right about how well consumers know and can recognize these top brands: 84% of professionals believed consumers could recognize top real estate brands very well at a glance.

Here are how the top brands ranked in order of most to least recognizable

real estate rankings

Breakdown of consumer quiz results

Consumers were presented with several variations of a brand’s logo, font or imagery and asked to identify the correct one. Results are displayed below with a green checkmark identifying the correct answer. 

Question 1:


Question 2:

Berkshire Hathaway

Question 3:

Coldwell Banker

Question 4:


Question 5:

Century 21

Question 6:

Keller Williams

Breakdown of real estate survey

This survey was distributed to real estate professionals. 45% of respondents identified themselves as realtors or real estate agents, 38% identified themselves as marketing or creative professionals in the real estate industry and 16% had another role in the real estate industry.

Question 1:

Branding Elements

Question 2:


Question 3:

Real Estate Branding

Interested in real estate branding? Learn more from our real estate branding guide or our comprehensive real estate marketing guide.

Brand and creative teams invest valuable time in designing, building, revising, and distributing content. Audience demand for relevant content requires rapid insights into what is working across your organization. Establishing an easier way to audit content and build more of what your teams want and need is crucial in driving growth. You must rely on communication and ongoing feedback as the only way to know if your team utilizes the content your designers worked so tirelessly on until today. 

At Marq, we know that your organization’s primary growth driver is your content, and optimization is critically important. Today, we announced the release of Marq Advanced Analytics. Now, you can see how individuals and teams across your organization use your branded templates, giving you the valuable insights you need to build better content. 

In this article, you will learn: 

With that, let’s get into it.

Manage your branded templates with confidence

One of the cornerstones of a modern brand strategy is a term we like to refer to as brand enablement. You win when your brand is accessible and usable by teams across your organization. Brand enablement encompasses everything from brand standards built for non-designers to brand asset accessibility to branded templates, so your teams can build their own content. 

55% of successful content marketing strategies focus on improving the quality of their content (Semrush, 2022). Quality content assumes that it is an ongoing process with several iterations. Final is never final, but imagine how much easier it would be to improve content if you could combine content effectiveness analytics with content usage data.

At Marq, we’ve helped businesses and brands make it easier for teams to build their own branded content by enabling them to manage their brand through one centralized platform. Our customers across every industry have benefitted from implementing a brand management strategy that includes branded templates.   

When your teams have access to templates, they can personalize content for their specific use, and your organization can move faster to connect with your audience. You likely already have the data to measure if your content is successful once published, but do you know what templates your team uses most? Your template library should be managed well and filled with relevant options that your team will use and celebrate. Brand enablement assumes that you provide your organization with suitable templates optimized for design and use cases. To equip your team with your brand, you must know how they engage with it. 

Some of our customers have dedicated administrators who field template requests from cross-functional teams. While this is a great strategy, it relies heavily on communication and doesn’t give a complete picture of what templates are actually used. It is a large task to continuously audit your template library and gather information from template users across your organization. 

You want to provide templates that your team will use, and you want to know if a template isn’t working for them. You also want to save your designers valuable time, ensuring they are not wasting it designing templates that will go unused. The bottom line? To manage your templates well, you need time, and depending on the size of your organization, you may not have the time to give.

At Marq, we are all about saving you precious time so you can focus on strategic projects. We want to give you time back! Marq Advanced Analytics helps with that. Most importantly, it gives you visibility on the templates used (and used often), so you can improve your content strategy and enable teams across your organization.

The benefits of content visibility

So often, organizations work extra to ensure teams are not operating in silos. Communication is critical, and collaboration to optimize your templates will allow your team to move on content initiatives confidently. But, to do this, you have to rely solely on communication channels and ongoing feedback. Work gets busy, and this level of consistent communication is sometimes difficult to maintain. 

They say the left-hand wants to see what the right hand is doing. In this case, designers want to ensure that their templates do not go unused. They also want to know if the use of templates varies from team to team; if regions require different templates because of their audience or use case. There are so many factors that could impact how and if a template is utilized. Visibility by user, team, region, and beyond is the kind of insight needed to supercharge your brand strategy and allow you to create better templates.

Building branded content is a task in and of itself. You shouldn’t have to make decisions in the dark and rely on team members to deliver prompt feedback to optimize your content. 

Meet Marq Advanced Analytics

Useful data makes a difference. Starting today, in just a few clicks, you can report on template usage from user to user, by team and region, across your organization. Marq Analytics gives you the visibility you need to make better design decisions and equip your teams with templates they will actually use.

With Marq Advanced Analytics, you can:

And so much more. 

Marq Analytics Template Adoption
Marq Analytics Template Adoption

Now, you can track content activity, measure template adoption, quickly and easily identify stale templates, and speed up content approvals. This means that, finally, you will have insights at your fingertips and access to content analytics specific to your organization. You know, the sort of metrics Google can’t measure. 

Marq analytics approvals dashboard

You can look at outstanding template approvals, pending requests, and published content, to keep your teams running and on track. You can now see a breakdown of content usage across all teams globally and make decisions on the kind of content based on region-specific needs and uses. You’ll also be able to see which users are utilizing Marq, giving you the perspective you need to help teams execute consistently and confidently.

Brand template audits just got more manageable, and now, your team can build more of what’s working to drive growth for your organization. 

Marq Analytics Unused Templates

Here are the finer details. We are launching two levels of analytics. 

Marq Analytics includes foundational insights for implementation. These fundamental insights will be helpful as you roll out Marq to your organization. Marq Analytics looks at high-level template engagement, total projects created, downloaded, published, and shared. This level of analytics will give you insights into the foundational state of your templates and is for organizations with a template library of -10. 

Marq Advanced Analytics is for organizations with a more robust template library (+10). You will benefit from deeper template insights, understand what teams are using, quickly see the most popular and unused templates, and gain access to look at outstanding project approvals. Marq Advanced Analytics measures content output and gives you the complete picture of the most effective templates for which teams. 

We are excited to see our customers benefit from these crucial insights and thrilled to take the Marq platform to the next level. To learn more about Marq Advanced Analyticsschedule a 1:1 with our brand-templating experts.

Marq Analytics Insights for Better Branded Content

We all know content is the “fuel” for your business. The case is often made for consistency and connection with your audience. But how do you measure content marketing effectiveness?  It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of vanity metrics. If you focus on clicks and visits instead of quality leads, you may find your fuel is actually just burning the candle from both ends. 

You want to build content that converts, and your goals depend on it. In this article, we share insights into how to measure content marketing effectiveness so you can better shape your content strategy. 

You will learn:

  1. How to reframe the way you think about content marketing effectiveness
  2. How to shift from content output to better content outcomes 
  3. Content metrics your CEO actually cares about

Read on as we answer the questions about how to measure content marketing success by narrowing in on what objective you set out to do in the first place.

Reframe how you think about content effectiveness 

On the most basic level, we know that content delivers valuable benefits for businesses far beyond website traffic. Audience retention depends on it. It is used to demonstrate thought leadership and build industry authority. We rely on it for SEO, and we deem it reigns supreme with the title “content is king.” 

Whether you are new to measuring content effectiveness or have been at this for a while, remembering the benefits of quality content can help you shape it to deliver on your objectives. 

Some of these benefits include:

  1. You’ll generate more leads.
  2. More website traffic (through SEO).
  3. Builds brand awareness.
  4. Builds audience trust. 
  5. Establishes your business as an industry leader.

These benefits only scratch the surface of what quality content can do for your business. So often, though, despite understanding the many benefits of content, businesses fail to deliver impactful outcomes because they are hyper-focused on quantity and consistency. Don’t get us wrong, we believe consistency is important. And we’d even say that the more you can connect with your audience through your content, the better. But, the aim should be focused on strategic thinking regarding your content. 

How do you know if your content is effective? We care about clicks and build-out tracking models. Hence, we properly attribute revenue, but when your intention is broader, or your initiatives are harder to track, how do you measure content success? 

Rather than focus on the metrics tied to a piece of content, it’s important to look at your broader marketing goals first. While this step may seem very basic, too often, the content-building and publishing process becomes so chaotic that it is easy to lose sight of your objectives. Perhaps you are committed to a specific velocity, and the pressure to deliver moves you to a place of producing content to demonstrate participation over strategy. The most important thing to remember when you are faced with content demand is to remember that your content will only be successful if it drives growth for your business. The content volume will not matter if it isn’t resonating or delivering on the objectives you set out to do. 

When you think about content success in this light, you can better align your content strategy and keep your goals top of mind as you create new content. In practice, this looks like a deep focus on outcomes instead of output. While you may have published a lot of content this quarter, was the goal about frequency or were there larger outcomes tied to this initiative? We bet that the initial objective had nothing to do with frequency and instead had a more tangible result in mind. 

Leads that turn into pipeline and revenue that you can attribute to your content is fantastic, but to do this successfully, your content has to be comprehensive and of the highest quality. If your strategy is to increase frequency without looking at the impact of the content that you publish, then you are missing it and likely spending a lot of time on content that isn’t helping your business. 

Think about it this way. If your content isn’t delivering on the objective you set out to accomplish, then it is wasted effort unless you are using it as a benchmark to iterate and improve upon. The cliche quality over quantity is actually true when it comes to measuring content effectiveness. Your content will perform better if you focus on the outcome.

Ask yourself about these outcomes before you hit “publish”:

What do you want your audience to do?

Which stage of the buyer’s journey will this content piece influence?

Does your content support your strategic initiatives?

This outcome focus on your content will help you build your content better. And still worth mentioning, how important it is to let your content creators know the impact of their work. Pulling them into the larger objectives will help them deliver more strategic content and create with the overarching goals in mind.

Strategic content is king 

Sometimes, the content will meet quality standards but fall short of delivering on your initiatives. This happens when the content isn’t threaded to your goal. That is why we can’t just say that content is king, rather, strategic content is. 

A well-planned content strategy is pivotal to the success of your content. When you set specific goals, whether they be related to increasing website traffic or building brand equity, your content should be tied back to that specific initiative. Then, your initiative is the marker for success, with content fueling it. 

So, if strategic content is king and to measure content success, you need to have a specific initiative, how do you set an initiative? 

Characteristics of a well-planned initiative:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Drives revenue for your business

When you plan initiatives that are specific, measurable, and drive revenue, you can always come back to them when checking your content to see if it fits the bill. Now, your questions about content effectiveness are tied to a specific goal, making it easier to track and understand. 

For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic, the content that you create and share will have to deliver a powerful CTA to bring your audience to your webpage. While other aspects of your content will be important, the CTA should inspire your audience to click through. If you do not see the increase in traffic that you had hoped, you know that you need to revise your content. 

A simple way to think about this is to look at your content with these questions in mind. 

  1. What is your initiative?
  2. Did you achieve it?
  3. What metrics prove it?
  4. If you missed your target, how can you adjust your content to help support this initiative?

The truth? This is the kind of reporting structure that your CEO cares about. While perhaps there is interest in looking at the specific content, the reality is that, you want to be able to present a strategic plan and be able to explain how your content supports your initiatives. And, if you are thinking about this in advance, the chances are, your content will be more effective and more likely to drive results. 

Consider this structure when you are developing your strategic iniatives:


Predicted outcome: 

Use this structure as you build your marketing objectives and consider implementing this structure as a way to better report on content performance. Now, instead of talking about impressions and clicks, you can look at your content through the lens of driving growth.  

We have a tip here, so listen up. 

Demonstrate creativity with your content. 

You can deliver on your initiatives and likely blow your goals out of the water if you get creative. Don’t be afraid to try things that don’t have a predictable outcome. The initiative is there, you check your content against it, but that doesn’t mean your content is dry. 

There is also something to be said about balance. If you are writing content solely for the purpose of SEO for example, you are likely going to product content that isn’t appealing to your audience. We can apply this idea of balance across all content channels. Your objectives inform your strategy, but your content still has opportunities to demonstrate creativity. The best of both worlds is the best kind of content, and likely, the highest performing. 

To recap, the ingredients for strategic content:

  1. Goal.
  2. Creativity.
  3. Balance.

Now, there are a bunch of factors and formulas that influence content creation. Insights about CTA language and formatting to best capture attention; we won’t dive into those now. The main idea here is to rethink how you measure content effectiveness and consider the metrics you thread from your content to your larger business goals. They should be linked and working together to drive growth for your organization. 

Effective content that drives results

We discussed how to think about your content differently to measure success more effectively. We also gave a format for reporting on your content marketing. We talked about outcomes instead of output and gave you ideas on how to structure the way you review your initiatives. 

As you review, keep in mind the opportunity for endless iterations of your content. We put so much time and effort into developing new content, but optimizing existing content is just as valuable. Make adjustments as you monitor your initiatives and leverage your content to help drive successful outcomes.

71% of B2B marketers say content marketing is even more important in 2023 (CMI). The demand for content is no secret, and the interest in ensuring success is more relevant than ever. With a reframe on measuring content effectiveness, you can better implement adjustments and more confidently make changes to drive results. 

To learn more about the Marq platform that helps you deliver consistent content to your audience, you can schedule a 1:1 with someone from our team.

The landscape for marketing and brands is constantly evolving, with market shifts that require your teams to operate with agility. The ecosystem for design and creative requests has stayed relatively consistent, resulting in more work for design teams in desperate need of a straightforward way to scale easily. The term “brand template” has been kicked around a bit; we talk about it a lot.  But we won’t pretend like this is standard terminology. It’s relatively new, and when we talk about it, we are often asked, what is a template?

This article answers the big question: What is a Brand Template? 

You will also learn

It’s time to modernize, and your brand (and organization) will be thanking you for introducing the next best thing since _________. We were going to say sliced bread, but we’ve since developed things like electric vehicles and knives made to cut avocados in perfect slices, so we’ll let you fill in the blanks as you see fit.  

Let’s dive in!

What is a Brand Template?

A brand template is a design file created to brand standards by designers for cross-functional partners to customize for their intended use. Powerpoint and Keynote templates were among the first, allowing organizations to create brand-consistent presentations without importing the design elements and taking liberties with animations or word-art title slides. Jokes aside, the ability to create an audience-ready presentation that represented your brand well was magic. 

The expansion of brand template use across organizations is growing. The social media coordinators no longer need to design their own posts but instead can leverage a pre-designed template from their design team to ensure brand consistency. 

The success of brand template use and the ability for teams to build their own content from a template increases the potential for more template creation. If brand templates work well when the use case is considered in the design, cross-functional teams can iterate more quickly on projects and initiatives, and design time is reduced significantly. 

With the use of brand templates, copy changes are easily made by non-designers, rather than submitting design requests to personalize messages or adjust changes in data on a form. 

What are the benefits of Brand Templates?

Time-saving is certainly one of the more obvious benefits of brand templates for designers and those who typically rely on creative requests to fulfill their project needs. But, beyond time savings, there are so many larger benefits to the organization as a whole. 

A list of key benefits of brand templates:

Let’s discuss each of these benefits in a bit more detail. 

Brand templates ensure brand consistency.

A brand template is a completed design that leaves certain areas of the document to be customized. This means the brand colors, logo placement, character sizing, and length are all input into the brand template. When brand template users customize the template for their intended use, all of the brand guidelines are already implemented for them. This leads to brand consistency no matter who is distributing the content and eliminates concerns about whether the brand guidelines are easily interpreted by individuals who are not trained in design.

Brand templates allow you to automate design creation.

There are varying levels of automation, but when most of the design work is completed aside from copy or data customization, the process of creating content is expedited. Some brand template solutions have even more sophisticated automation tools allowing you to input the data rather than manually entering it into the document. Automation with brand templates is a clear benefit and immediately saves your team precious hours on content creation. 

Brand templates can be localized with speed.

Brand templates made available for your team means speed and ease of use. Teams already have what they need when you rely on templates to support them, and they can quickly personalize for their intended audience. This means you can scale content production easily because everyone builds content, not just designers. 

Brand templates support compliance standards.

When you can include compliance-related requirements in your brand templates, you immediately reduce risk for your organization. Legal language or required logos and disclaimers can be built into the brand template, ensuring that the end-user doesn’t make a mistake or forget to include this crucial information in their document.

Brand templates allow for the reallocation of time toward strategic initiatives.

Time savings also means time can be spent on other projects when you use brand templates. Designers will have more time to focus on strategic work because they are not required to make small copy changes or personalize assets for their team. Template users can move on to their initiatives more quickly with the help of templates, giving them time back for strategic work as well. No one is waiting on anyone, and overall, time is treated more valuably when brand templates are leveraged to help meet objectives. 

Examples of Brand Templates

So much of the content and collateral that you use daily can be templatized for your organization. Flyers, brochures, social posts, one-sheets, proposals, business cards, etc. The list is endless. The added benefit of brand templates is you can provide multiple options for each content piece to give your team the power of choice. While all of them would be designed to brand standards, you can provide various layouts and design options, which ensures better template adoption within your organization. 

Below are just a few examples of brand templates so you can think about which assets your business should consider templatizing. 

Social media template

social media template example

Employee Report Template

employee report template

Flyer Template

flyer template

Template Library

template library

Is Brand Templating Right For Your Brand?

If your organization creates content of any kind, brand templates are likely a great way for you to save your team time and produce quality content more efficiently. The benefits of brand templates are clear and often hang up on implementation is, typically due to resistance to a change in process or concern that no one will use them. We have partnered with hundreds of customers, helping them implement brand template use across their organizations. Our customers are better able to build content quickly and find that their design teams operate more effectively when production design work is offloaded with the help of brand template use. 

If you want to learn how Marq can help you implement a brand template solution at your organization, you can schedule a 1:1 with one of our brand templating experts today.

The internal battle between creative departments and everyone else is far too familiar. It isn’t personal.  Right?! The disconnection is frustrating for everyone. But, if we pull ourselves out of the nitty gritty situational circumstances of it all, we can narrow it down to one thing: process, or, lack thereof.

The steps for a creative process can get sticky but hang with us and we will help break it all down for you.

In this article, you will learn

Problems to inspire creative process clarity

It isn’t personal. It’s process. 

Without a dialed creative request and fulfillment workflow for content operations and creative initiatives, inspired energy is instead earmarked with stress and chaos. We can talk about burnout, workloads, bottlenecks, and our personal fav, holding the creative hostage, but these debates ignore the actual problem. 

Creative systems and request processes often take a backseat to performance, creativity, and conversion. That is a reality. But, the backbone of consistent brand delivery and content efficiency begins with a solid creative process. 

The Content Marketing Institute reported 66% of marketers are asked to do more with the same resources. That is, multiply output without providing additional investment to make that possible. What happens to creativity when you are asked to do more without additional support?

80% of people reportedly feel increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work.


It is hard to prioritize creativity when you are flush with creative requests and always behind. How is it even possible to do more and meet demand without a functioning and cooperative creative process to back it? This state of overwhelm creates that chaotic environment and, more often than not, creates tension between designers and creatives, and, well, everyone else.

Now, before you assume that the pressure to produce is more important than creativity, pause for a moment, and consider this statistic.

81% of marketers value creativity and craft in content creation.

Content Marketing Institute 2022

The creative touch matters. If content reigns supreme and creativity adds value, then your designers need to not only produce content, they need to produce creative content. 

The intersection between production and creativity demands a smooth process. A well-oiled creative machine supported and trusted by your organization. 

Want to say goodbye to that chaotic creative process? Read on! 

We know success for your business is more easily achieved when your teams are working in sync with each other. The kind that simply works with productive progress sitting front and center. The creative and cross-functional teams can’t just co-exist, they have to collaboratively function as one in order to meet demand and produce quality work. 

Collaboration over competition.

This collaboration over competition mentality drives growth for your organization and ignites the kind of energy that inspires creative thinking. At some point or another, your team has likely suffered from creative process friction points. The good news is that it’s fixable. 

Bring an open mind and perhaps a pencil sharpener. If you are like us, you love to write things down. 

Why the chaos?

Dissecting the disconnections 

Whether you are a creative director, designer, marketer, or content supporter, it’s possible you regularly suffer from stress dreams about the daily pain of design requests. We all have them, so let’s talk about them.

As a designer, you are buried, and the requests upon requests never seem to dissipate. No one seems to understand how much time it takes to do anything, and why should they? While you are spending your days in Illustrator and InDesign, cranking away at production design requests that empty your creative cup, your team thinks you are scrolling through Pinterest. 

As a Creative Director or Marketing Manager, you are fielding complaints about slow turnarounds, while trying to support your team members that seem to be working double time to meet demand. You asked for visibility and are constantly interrupted to answer questions on project status and estimated timelines. To make matters worse, resources are limited, and uncertain economic environments mean less budget to hire or outsource. Visibility feels impossible and you want to support your team when they say they are working hard. 

Marketers and sales teams have pipeline initiatives and sales goals to meet. They need content and creative collateral that will stand out and attract new buyers and customers. They submit a request (assuming your organization has a formal process for that) and are met with the question they hate the most, “when is this due?” If they answer candidly, it would be, right now. It is always due, right now, but instead, they respond with “how much time do you need?” 

Now, you may not have a creative request process in place at all. This is a safe space. No judgment. Sometimes other priorities take precedence. Or, maybe your team is small, and a process hasn’t seemed necessary? 

53% of organizations have small (or one-person) content and marketing teams.

Content Marketing Institute 2022

This means that creative production to support content and marketing initiatives for half of organizations falls on the shoulders of small teams. It may seem obvious but we’ll say it anyway. Successful teams have to function as a team in order to get s*** done! The steps of the creative process may not have been top of mind when you got started, but with high demand and that dysfunctional chaos we mentioned earlier, it is necessary. 

So, how do you help a creative and design team of one or a few from fielding request after request? How do you stop the scrambling and the constant struggle to prioritize? How do you make time to produce effectively?

How do you fix the mess?

Let’s start with the basics.

  1. Understand the roles of your team members and their level of ownership of projects
  2. Define the types of projects that require a creative request
  3. Build the creative request form and establish a process for request submission

Process efficiencies abound when you start with the basics. It may seem elementary but role clarity and responsibilities make it so much easier to deliver on requests more effectively. Let’s walk through it, step by step. 

STEP ONE: Define roles and responsibilities.

Understand the roles of your team members and their level of ownership of creative requests.

Creative requests often vary in scope; the responsibilities and level of involvement of requesters and designers will change from project to project. This has to be communicated clearly and everyone has to be on the same page. 

Here are some questions for you to ask as you are determining who should own the project and how to filter responsibilities throughout your team.

Who is driving the project? Who is delivering the strategy? Who owns which pieces and parts, and ultimately, who is responsible for getting the project launched?

Some questions to ask:

Ownership can vary from project to project and as your team thinks about who owns the project as a whole, you should also be thinking about how these roles and responsibilities could shift per project.

Requests will come in with project details, but that does not necessarily mean that the requester will own the entire project or visa versa.

Here are a few examples of projects and how the areas of ownership could vary:

types of creative requests and project ownership

STEP TWO: Define the types of projects.

Define the types of projects that require a creative request and agree on which ones don’t. 

This conversation can easily cause a bit of friction but at the end of the day, the goals should be universal:  to ensure the best outcome for every project

Goals to keep in mind:

  1. Achieve process efficiency
  2. Prioritize clear and concise communication
  3. Elevate creativity
  4. Aim to drive results that move the needle

Ultimately, only you can determine which projects warrant a request. But generally speaking, if you can put projects into buckets, like “requires graphic design support” or “creative tagline needed” then these parameters will help you decide if it should funnel through your creative and design team. 

Creative request criteria

The best part? As you think through the scope of the project to decide if it warrants a request, you’ll likely also develop a clearer plan for creation and delivery in the process, which results in a more thoughtful deliverable altogether.


Define the form and process for creative requests. 

There are a hundred different ways to execute a creative request. There are also many mediums to communicate the details of the request. We’ll touch on a few different methods of delivery, but we want to dive deep into the details of the request itself in order to ensure success for both the requester and the creator. 

Whether we are talking about design or copywriting, only the requester knows their full intention and goal for their project. If the requester wants the end deliverable to meet their expectations, they have to take what is in their head and communicate it. They also need to put on a different lens and understand that when you approach a project from the perspective of creative and design, the eye is going to be laser-focused on different things. 

This is a good thing! 

invite diverse perspectives to your creative projects

Now that we’ve covered the steps to build a foundation for a creative request process, let’s move on to the creative request form itself and the “how-to” in fulfilling those requests. 

Creative Request Process 

Things to include and how to develop a process around the request itself

In this section, you will learn how to build an effective creative request form and how best to distribute that information to your design team. Whether you are spearheading the creative request process reformation or you are on the receiving end of some lackluster creative requests, the bottom line is, the process should help your team work better, not harder. 

With that in mind, here’s tip #2. 

creative requests should balance ease of use with efficiency

Remember, the requester is moving quickly and they are hoping for a creative magic wand to quickly deliver exactly what they need in as little time as possible. At the same time, designers want comprehensive information so they don’t have a bunch of edits or need to start over because they were missing crucial information. This intersection is where the rubber meets the road. If your request process is taking too long to complete, it needs to be revised. If your designers are consistently missing the mark on projects, you should take a look at adding more detail to the request form. 

Typically though, it is better to build your initial creative request with a lean towards too much detail rather than not enough. You can always pull it back if you find that certain fields are not applicable. If it seems like too much information, this could mean there will be less follow-up needed for the project. 

Remember, the request should cover a multitude of lenses. It answers questions for the creative brain and serves as an opportunity for the requester to think through their project. 

Your request should encompass as much detail as needed to ensure success. Fast-paced environments don’t always have the opportunity to chat it out so build your request form with that in mind. 

Whether you refer to it as a creative brief, project brief, or creative request, the purpose is the same: detail everything needed to ensure a successful outcome. 

Below, we’ve outlined elements for you to consider when creating your creative request. Take them as suggestions and be sure to think about your organization’s needs as well.  

Ask yourself:

Contents of a creative request

It’s all in the details

What do you need?

First things first, what do you need? Design? Copy? Both? Make sure this is clearly indicated. 

Project Scope

In an ideal world, you’ve been around the block once or twice and can measure if this is a heavy lift or a light one. If you aren’t sure, that’s okay. But, if you know, let your team know. We like when projects are rated so right out of the gate, expectations are set that this project is either a big one or a task with an easier turnaround. 


This measure can easily get skewed, so it’s important that your culture is built on trust and respect. With everyone doing their part, it is likely busy, and that busy means, not every project can be given a high priority tag. 

Every project is important, but does every project need to be completed right NOW? Is this a project that will impact growth immediately? Is this a revenue driver with a more predictable outcome? Is this an idea that you are testing? 

Decide on a universal weighting for your projects, determine what measures matter to prioritize them, and then honor the scale. Rank your project from low to high, understanding that priority rankings do not equal the level of importance. It all matters, but every project requires an investment of time, and it is your responsibility to help your team execute wisely.


From a requester’s perspective, they should buffer in additional time so their date can be flexible depending on the workload of the creative team. A guide for harmony? Work back from your drop dead date with some wiggle room to allow for shifts in timing for both parties. Not possible? Well, that sounds like a high-priority project, and that happens! The goal is to make the creative request form for the ideal state. This doesn’t mean there won’t be exceptions to the rule. 

Details, details. Get specific. 

You want to make sure to include all design and copy parameters. If you are asking for copy, how many characters? Maybe it’s for an ad, and you only need a one-liner. Perhaps you’ve taken a stab at the copy already, and you just need an edit for voice. Be specific. 

Requesting design? Take the time to find out the specs. This can easily cause a bit of a communication breakdown because non-designers don’t always understand what designers want in terms of specs. It is okay not to know, but make an effort to find out. More often than not, your designers can help you nail down these details, but it saves tons of time if you come into a project with these already sorted out. What file type are you looking for? PDF? JPG? These are the types of questions your designer will ask you, so drop them as a line item in your request form so you don’t forget!

Specify your audience. 

Who is this going to be looking at this end deliverable? Is it internal? External? Is it for a specific client or customer? Perhaps it needs to be tailored for a particular group within your target audience. Be specific. This information matters to you, and it will matter to your designer.

How will this be delivered? 

Is this for social? Website? Print? All of the above?  Indicate the channel and placement as that will guide the design. It may also indicate multiple files with different sizes. Be clear and cover all of your bases

Should this be made into a template?

Templates will allow the requester to execute new iterations and be more agile. Indicate if this should be made into a template so the requester can make adjustments moving forward. 

Your creative request form should include:

  1. Type of request
  2. Project Scope
  3. Priority rating
  4. Deadline
  5. Design specifications
  6. Copy parameters
  7. Target audience
  8. Distribution and/or channel

Methods to submit creative requests 

Where should my creative request live and how can my team access it?

If possible, it can be helpful to leverage existing systems that are already in place to help facilitate your creative request process. That said, sometimes, existing systems are not reasonable solutions, and making a new process work within an existing system creates even more challenges. 

Ultimately, in its most basic form, you will want to make sure that you have these two components to ensure success:

A Form (Google Form, Jotform, etc). 

If your team already uses project management software like Divvy HQ for content or Monday as a catch-all, you can create a job form or request within the platform. 

A place to see all the requests submitted.

You want to make sure every request that comes through is dumped into a format that your team can access and download. If you are using a form, you want it to drop into a sheet or template that gives you full visibility. Bonus points if you can then sort it by priority and due date. This is going to make life easier for everyone, so the method for fielding these requests has to work within your existing workflow and work for your entire team.

Fulfilling creative requests

Sprint mentality to get through your creative to-dos 

The to-do list is always growing and more often than not, it is a sign that your team is producing the kind of work that will grow your business. The requests create formality and provide structure to get the project done well. That said, especially if your design team is small, it can feel overwhelming and sometimes impossible to keep up with the requests. While there are many methods for attacking the list of to-dos, we are going to focus on the sprint mentality. 

84% of marketing and creative teams prefer a sprint mentality to their approach to work.

Hochschule Koblenz, 2020

While this particular study focused on Scrum, the benefits of a sprint approach are universal.

Benefits of Sprints:

  1. Prioritizes projects
  2. Creates more focused to-do lists
  3. Gives a timeline for project completion
  4. Creates accountability
  5. Visibility on workload
  6. Factors time as a resource
  7. Creatives a structure for project planning and execution

The sprint approach focuses on what can be accomplished within a specific time period. The mentality ensures follow-through and condenses and prioritizes larger lists into shorter, more doable chunks. 

It provides visibility for requesters as they will know if their request has been dropped into the sprint for that period of time. This looks like a request submission by X day, which means it will be put in the cue for the following week’s or month’s sprint depending on your organization’s sprint parameters. 

sprint time for creative process efficiency

If your organization has a smaller team, it is likely that your designer(s) is turning around requests in days not weeks. If that is the case, you can make the length of your sprints shorter, or plan to break up the work in stages to accommodate these shorter turnaround times. 

This would look like stage one tasks completed in the first half of the week and stage two tasks completed in the second half of the week. By breaking up the work in stages, you can keep your sprint review meetings to once a week, rather than meeting again mid-week to recalibrate to-dos. 

If your company follows a request for proposal process, like many agencies, you may have a monthly sprint for these larger projects, in addition to a weekly sprint for the smaller design requests. 

At the end of the day, the guidelines will need to be determined by your team and function best for the kind of work you are executing. Consider the buckets of requests and priority ratings, then group projects together so you have clear marching orders with a plan to accomplish them. 

creative process success in realistic timelines

Sprint review time is not the time to let your ego dictate your to-dos. If you are able to do more in the time frame allotted, awesome! If you can’t or even under-deliver, this will help with future resource planning and set appropriate expectations for deadlines moving forward. 

Another sweet little bonus that comes with sprints is that feeling of accomplishment. The one that individuals need in order to keep their energy levels flying high. Burnout has a million contributing factors, but one that shouldn’t be overlooked is when the workload feels unmanageable designers are more likely to struggle. There is a reason why so many people create to-do lists and include things they’ve already done just so they can get the slight dopamine kick from checking it off. 

It feels good to get work done! Set yourself up for success by taking the time to gather all of the to-dos and make a plan to get it done in chunks. This organized process for completing tasks will also give teams room to add in last-minute requests, bump certain deadlines up or down, and work more effectively.

Ways to ensure creative collaboration 

Request formalities shouldn’t take the place of divergent brainstorming

It’s normal to worry that more formal requests and processes will remove opportunities for collaboration, especially if you work on a smaller team. While it may seem like the process eliminates collaboration, the reality is that the two should be working in step with the other. Formally submitting a request for work does not mean that stakeholders are removed from the creation process. Sometimes, yes, the request may be straightforward enough that collaboration isn’t required, but ultimately, a functioning team can balance both. 

Here are a few ways to ensure creative collaboration continues:

1. Plan a standup meeting and sprint review meeting

Once you decide on your sprint timeframe, set up a standing meeting where requests are reviewed as a team. In this meeting, you will look at the projects submitted, hopefully, ranked by priority, and determine which items will fall into that dedicated sprint. While this meeting isn’t for sharing ideas, it does bring the designers and requesters together and aligns everyone on what will be worked on and when the finished work will be completed. 

Additionally, it may make sense for you to set up a standup meeting in the middle of the sprint just to check in. This meeting shouldn’t be long and instead should be focused on what (if any) questions there are on projects. It also gives the team an opportunity to have visibility on how the projects are progressing and designers can get quick input. 

2. Share your unique perspective with confidence 

This is a less formal way to collaborate but just as crucial to creating a collaborative environment at your organization. Use your existing communication channels and share your ideas. One idea can spark thousands more and sometimes simply sharing something you saw or a half-baked idea can become a new initiative owned by your entire team. 

3. Set up a 15-minute brainstorming session.

Meetings are sometimes hard to schedule, but it is likely that 15-minutes can be found on calendars to come together and have a focused moment for brainstorming on projects. These are a minimal time commitment and an opportunity to mutually contribute. These quick meetings can help the requester feel like a contributor and provide the designer with even more context for the request itself. 

4. Collaboration requires communication. Just talk. 

Sometimes, talking to each other feels like it has to be formal. It doesn’t. A team that talks to each other works better together and the best way to ensure collaboration is to keep the communication channels open and flowing. 

Key benefits when your creative process is running smoothly

Work smarter not harder

Whether this article encourages you to implement a creative request workflow and sprint review into your daily grind or simply reminds you that process matters, we can all agree that working smarter not harder has a laundry list of benefits. 

The thing about a process is that it can be broken when needed. If you depend on it to inform your daily work, a break in flow when needed doesn’t cause major hiccups and allows your team to iterate quickly. Agile teams leverage strong work processes to respond quickly to the needs of their organization and happy creative teams work better when they have a clear path to success. Collaboration is easier when us vs. them tension is soothed by a universal creative process that keeps things running smoothly. 

It is the difference between a disastrous tornado and a well-orchestrated symphony. 

Well, that is a wrap! We hope you learned a lot about restoring creative sanity in your organization. By refining your creative request process and building out a workflow that actually works for your team, your team can level up on delivering quickly and effectively to your audience. 

If you need a pep talk before you take on this challenge, just remember this:  it’s not personal, it’s process. 

To learn more about how Marq can help teams execute creative requests faster, email sales@marq.com or schedule a 1:1 with a brand-templating expert here.

your brand matters

Imagine with us your typical weekday morning. Perhaps your routine begins with checking the news cycle- eventually making your way to your email inbox, thumbing through the latest, archiving, and tagging as you go. The first hour of your Monday is likely focused on clearing notifications on various channels and involves a bit of a slow scroll. This drone-like monotony is the ultimate challenge for businesses. It feels next to impossible to stand out.  

How can you capture your audience’s attention in a world of unsubscribes and endless content scrolling?

Yes, we are talking to YOU. Content personalization matters more than ever. Your customer demands a personal experience with your content to break through the noise. 

We’ve partnered with businesses in various industries, from real estate to finance to healthcare, helping them carve out time in their daily content operations to personalize their content. The urgency to focus on content personalization is one of the top priorities for our customers. We want to share with you the overwhelming data that proves content personalization shapes your content strategy and give you the basics in how to implement it well.

In this article, you will learn:

  1. What is content personalization and why it matters
  2. What levels of personalization should you incorporate into your content personalization strategy
  3. What types of content should you personalize
  4. How to scale your content personalization strategy
majority of customers expect personalized content

If personalization is demanded and expected by your audience, what exactly is it, and why does it matter so much? Let’s dive in!

What is content personalization?

Content personalization is exactly what it sounds like -the application of unique identifiers and characteristics about your customer built into your marketing and communications. It makes your content personal.  Sometimes, your content will speak to a broader audience, which has its place. Still, personalization allows you to relate to your customer more effectively and immediately provide a personal context to the problem that you solve. 

If you consider your scrolling habits and reflect on what stops you in your tracks, it is likely the messaging that speaks to you. At the very least, the subject lines that call out your name and your company deserve a pause. But true mastery of content personalization takes it even further than that. 

A quick example illustrates this best.  

Here we apply a broader message and input personal characteristics to the statement.

Generic statement: “This product will change how you connect with your audience.” 

Personalized statement: “This product will change how you connect with your patients.” 

This simple tweak lets your target audience know,  in this case, healthcare professionals, that your particular product solution is specific to them. Personalization, in this case, is “patients.” We’ll get into the layers of personalization later in this article. Still, the key takeaway here is to recognize the increase in content effectiveness when you take the time to relate to your audience on a deeper level. 

To summarize, content personalization is the application of characteristics to better identify with your unique customer and helps your content resonate.

Personalization matters. How much? Well, quite a lot, it turns out. 

1. 63% of marketers have observed personalization increases customer interactions and, ultimately, better conversion rates. (Statistica)

2. 97% of marketers witnessed a rise in business outcomes as a result of personalization (Salesforce)

3. 51% of marketers assert that personalization across multiple touchpoints increased ROI by 300% and more(KO Marketing)

Needless to say, personalization incorporated into your content marketing is a crucial piece of your overall strategy. When done well, your ability to capture your audience’s attention increases the potential for conversion. 

It also means opportunity.

While your competitors are sending canned emails and flooding your potential buyers’ inboxes with mass emails, you have the opportunity to stand out by identifying the actual problems that your buyer faces every day. These key differentiators could be related to their industry or position within a company; it can also be specific to their target audience and your ability to help them connect with them. In either case, the opportunity to level with your audience with layers of personalization makes a difference. 

25% of marketers attributed a spike in revenue greater than 20% due to personalization


There is a massive opportunity to drive revenue by incorporating content personalization in your marketing strategy.  That said, the level of personalization from your first contact with a customer to the subsequent interactions should also follow a rhythm. Unfortunately, many of us have fallen victim to a first-contact email that feels like a little bit “too much.” We’ve also received emails that feel canned and impersonal. The balancing act of personalization must be refined for your audience to churn the results you seek. 

A reasonable guide to follow is the more you interact with a potential customer and the further along in their buyer journey, the more personalized your messaging should become. Your initial connection could be by industry and role, but as the communication deepens, so should your personalization. Your content personalization strategy should include diving into those levels and layers and continually identifying how you can tailor your content even further. 

What are these levels and layers that we speak of? Let’s talk about them. 

Levels of content personalization

The layers of personalization can help you further relate as you continue to connect with your audience. Let’s first drop these into high-level categories to understand the levels of personalization. 

Levels of content personalization 
1. Industry/Market
2. Buyer/Customer Journey
3. Persona 

As we get into the details of these, keep in mind that the cornerstone of content personalization is considering your audience’s individual needs. Those details will make a difference in how you communicate with them; each of these levels is meant to guide you in discovering who they are.

Industry/Market Segment

Personalization by industry or market segment is one of the key ways to adapt your messaging to reach your target audience. To do this effectively, you need to understand your target market and your market segments. 

Even further, you need to understand the unique challenges each segment faces. This means that businesses in one segment may have deep teams with multiple managers and directors, but perhaps for another segment, teams are small and operating with fewer resources. By simply acknowledging their team size, you’ve incorporated a key factor that likely contributes to their buying decision.

Each segment will have specific terms and characteristics for its target audience. You need to learn them and know them. To build upon our example in the last section as it related to healthcare as the target industry, the personalization layer for the market segments within healthcare may look something like this:

Hospitals vs. Clinics vs. Private Practice

The type of care that each segment provides could be a valuable characteristic to include in your content personalization strategy. Including the specific terms and language that this segment would use helps your audience relate to your content more. They can see themselves in what you offer and are not required to fill in the gaps or try to understand how your product/service would apply to them. 

Tip #1: When you personalize your product/solution, your audience can easily understand how you fit into their organizational puzzle.

To illustrate personalization by market segment for a different industry, let’s consider how it could apply to higher education. Universities operate under a large umbrella, but within their organization, they also have unique colleges and departments. Higher education has various groups and organizations that create even smaller segments. Fraternities and sports organizations. The levels within this segment go deep, and we haven’t even gotten down to the students. 

You get the picture. 

Content personalization by industry and/or market segment can dramatically change how you talk about your product/solution. The problems you solve in healthcare will look different than those you solve for financial institutions. To effectively personalize your content, you should plan to have thoroughly researched your target audience and incorporate that research into your personalization strategy. 

Buyer Journey

The next level or layer of personalization to discuss is the stage in your buyer’s journey. Perhaps you are already doing it; it is a common one that most modern marketing strategies cover. By mapping the stages of your buyer’s journey, you can tailor your conversations to where they are at in the process to hopefully become a customer. But layer it in with other levels of personalization, and you increase your opportunities to convert. Whether your audience is in their first interaction with your brand or they have already converted and become a buyer, these stages of their journey should influence how you personalize your content, but it should be layered with the other characteristics that make them unique.

Each stage will provide a different lens to inform your content personalization strategy. 

the buyers journey informs content personalization

1. Awareness

Your personalization strategy may be more specific to your customer’s problems in their unique market segment. Your goal here is to help them identify the problem within their own organization and prompt them to consider your solution. Ask the question, how did they learn about you? Did they find you via Google search, or was this an in-person event interaction? Your message will change depending on your answer. 

2. Consideration

In the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, your messaging will be more pointed. The specific benefits of your solution and the opportunity to paint the picture of a personalized solution is easier. Remember, they have already decided that they have a problem, and you are an option for them. 

Think about the emails that you personally receive and the ones that resonate with you. You likely prefer the ones that recall your last interaction or, at least, identify with your position or stage in the process. 

3. Purchase

Your personalization strategy in this phase will ensure they successfully adopt your solution, and the process will be smooth. Your content in this stage should not continue to talk about the problem; they already bought in. You want to help them make the most out of your solution. Personalize the message around their great choice and how they will continue to reap the benefits. 

4. Retention

There is a delicate balance in this stage. Your content personalization strategy should be focused on keeping your customer engaged with your solution and happy. This means communicating updates that will specifically impact how they interact with you and your solution and feedback to ensure they are happy with their decision. 

5. Loyalty

Loyal customers want personalized engagement that recognizes their loyalty. It sounds simple, but there is nothing more irritating than receiving an email asking if you’d be interested in talking about their solution when you’ve been paying for the service for a year. Personalization at every stage in the customer journey requires a different approach and message. 

If your content is tailored to the stage your customer is in, it will increase the likelihood that it will resonate.

Content personalization can even move beyond the buyer journey and even attract those who didn’t convert. If you map the stages, you can also track the reasons why they didn’t convert. Later down the road, you can use this information to draw them back in. 

Perhaps you roll out a new feature that was important to them, but your solution didn’t offer it at the time when they were in the consideration phase. Now, you can take the time to reach out, recap why they chose not to go with your solution, and tell them why now might be a good time for them to reconsider. 


Influencing your personalization strategy by including the unique personas of your audience can change your content game in a big way. When you aren’t just talking specifics about the industry they work in but also recognizing the challenges they face because of their role in their organization, your message resonates even further. Your audience personas include job titles and manager vs. support staff positions- this matters because it will help define if they are a decision maker or decision influencers. 

Sometimes, you will hear a customer say, “my team would love this!” This means they are influenced by their team, which will come into play when making a decision. 

That said, if you focus all of your personalization strategies on the influencers and not on the decision-makers themselves, you may find out they don’t have the budget or that there were larger factors at play that the influencers were unaware of. 

Each of these unique layers of personalization builds on each other, and when you include all of the ingredients in your content marketing, you’ll not only have covered your bases, you’ll have knocked it out of the park. 

What types of content should you personalize?

As a general rule of thumb, when you have the opportunity to personalize your content, you should. In many cases, this can be applied to all forms of content across all channels. When targeting is an option, personalization becomes easier to execute.  If you can tailor your message to attract a specific group within your audience, it can make a big impact. 

99% of marketers agree that personalization helps advance customer relationships (Salesforce)

In the same study conducted by Salesforce, personalization usage varied by channel. The reported success in personalization is overwhelmingly evident. 85% of marketers plan to make it even a bigger priority! It is fair to say that if you have the opportunity, take it. 

Let’s talk about what this looks like in practice. Here are a few examples of types of content that marketers personalize and how you can think about applying the levels of personalization that we discussed earlier to each of these channels.


Email personalization can look like incorporating the individuals’ names and organizations in the subject lines and body copy, but it can also go even further. When emails layer the personalization levels, like specific pain points they experience in their industry or role, the email has a more immediate impact. 

How impactful, you might wonder?

Marketers who employ personalization in their emails report 27% higher unique click rates and 11% higher open rates than those who do not (Benchmark)

If you aren’t currently using personalization in your email communications, now is a great time to start. Due to the personal nature of email and the direct line of communication from your business to their inbox, it makes sense why 78% of marketers use personalization as a part of their email marketing strategy (Salesforce). 

It can feel almost instinctual to keep things formal, but the more human you can make your emails, the more likely the human on the receiving end will feel like they are talking to someone instead of a robot. A great way to implement personalization in your emails is to iterate on different ways to talk about your product depending on who you are talking to and from whom the email is sent. 

Our team does this a lot. We come together as a group and ask if certain terms and words will resonate, often making adjustments when it doesn’t sound quite right or if there are objections.

Play with your hellos. They will vary from hey to hi, and the closing call-to-action may use language like “let me know when is a good time” to “let’s set up a time to chat.” These slight changes may seem small, but you’ll be surprised by the difference it makes.

Components of an email you can apply personalization:
  1. Sender
  2. Subject line
  3. Greeting
  4. Body copy (incorporating industry and role-specific information)
  5. Closing
  6. Signature

Remember, that unsubscribe button is a click away, and your audience will only agree to receive emails if they are valuable to them. Their attention is fragile, and you need to add a personal touch to tailor your email communications to their needs. 


Your content personalization strategy for your website will likely vary from page to page. While your homepage will likely aim to target the broader audience, incorporating industry and solution-specific use cases can help the segmented groups within your audience more easily identify with your brand. 56% of marketers incorporate personalization into their website content (Salesforce). 

The levels of personalization can help drive the content for your website and even guide the production of new content. You can leverage your blog to speak to a specific subset of your audience and personalize the way you write about your product based on the topic you are delivering on. A great example of this is this very article. While we are talking about content personalization strategy in a more generic context,  we can easily take this further by demonstrating how segments within our target audience can apply these principles to their audience. In fact, we probably will. 

Another great way to incorporate content personalization on your website is to create targeted landing pages. These pages can be tied to your online ads or social campaigns and can include specific messaging acknowledging the avenue in which they arrived on your website. This also helps with tracking traffic and attributing success to a specific campaign. 

Other channels

Let’s consider the email and website channels we already discussed and consider how we personalize those specific content channels. We can apply similar principles to other forms of content marketing as well.

Oftentimes, we go through the trouble of targeting our online advertising but miss that personal touch to the campaign itself. An example of this in practice would be a geo-tracking campaign. Perhaps you want to target a group of individuals who attended a conference that you attended; your ad should mention the conference or the topics discussed so they can easily relate and recognize an experience that should still be top of mind for them. 

Another example of content personalization done well in practice is targeted social campaigns. If you make the time and effort to specify your audience, be sure to check your message against the audience you are speaking to. It is a simple step that is so easily missed. Your audience doesn’t want a generic solution, they want a solution that will work for their specific circumstances. 

Keep this in mind as you build your campaigns. 

How to successfully scale your content personalization strategy 

We’ve covered some great tips and principles for you to effectively personalize, but you may need some advice on how to do it at scale, especially if you have a smaller content and marketing team, which we’ve found is the case for 53% of organizations (Content Marketing Institute). With that said, small teams can still execute on personalization, and we’ve outlined how to do it. 

Here are some quick tips to implement content personalization in your overall strategy, make scalability possible, and ensure your path to success. 

1. Do not underestimate the importance of data. 

To personalize your content well, you need to know your audience deeply. It is valuable to invest in data to help inform your personalization strategy, and it will play a key role in your success. 

2. Manage time as your most valuable resource and asset

The resource we all wish we had an abundance of is time, and personalization does require a time investment to make it work. But, when content personalization is applied across multiple touchpoints, you can increase ROI by 300%. (KO Marketing). It’s simple, make it a priority, and your organization will benefit.

3. Automate when you have the opportunity to do so.

This may sound crazy, but there are ways to automate your content creation process, so you have more time to personalize your content. Automate your busy work and enable faster creation to expedite creation. Even better, when you can automate portions of your content, you give your team more confidence to execute well. 

4. Revisit your content often and try new things!  

What’s done is never done is a good rule to adopt for your content. You can always iterate on how you talk about your product or solution. As you learn more about your audience and their challenges, you can personalize your content even further. 

Let’s wrap it up.

We covered the whats, and why’s of content personalization and delivered some tips on implementing it across your content channels. To save even more time on content creation and dedicate more time to personalization, take a look at our post on brand templating. Brand templating is the modern way to manage your brand, and Marq can help you do that.

To learn more about how Marq can help you scale your content personalization and build content that resonates with your audience, schedule a 1:1 with our team. You can bet that we’ll personalize the experience for you. 

How many times have you fallen victim to broken tools and processes simply because that is just the way it is? Even worse, how many times has cross-functional collaboration failed, and you’ve been blindsided by changes? 

Neither of these situations is a great place to be in, and even though conflict might scare us, the truth is that it is the only way to make a positive impact in our organizations. That is why we want to talk about collaboration strategy, specifically as it relates to introducing new ideas. 

The time for growth is yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This article will give you the pep talk you need to challenge the status quo and bring your team together on solutions that matter. 

You will also learn:

They say it is wise to listen to your new hires because they will have a valuable perspective. They will likely have an opinion on existing systems and insights about the effectiveness of your collaboration strategy. 

But why is that? 

Often, dealing with what isn’t working feels like a “tomorrow” problem. Tunnel vision is extremely common, and new voices are so incredibly valuable. With their enthusiastic optimism, your newest team members will likely wonder why things are operating at half their potential, and they even may reinvigorate you to do something about it. But we want you to have the energy for ideas no matter how long you’ve been with your company. 

Let’s get real. While you are pushing off vetting new tools and reworking your existing processes, you are wasting valuable time with bandaids. You need a solution with legs that will bring your organization to the next level. And, it isn’t just time you need you to make it happen, it is effective collaboration.

Whether you are a decision maker or a decision influencer, we want to help you rally around solutions that will make a difference, present them with confidence, and drive growth for your organization. 

As we like to say, let’s dive in. 

Common roadblocks to collaboration 

If you are lucky enough to have an ambitious few fired up about change, you may notice that eventually, enthusiasm weans. More often than not, it is the attitude about trying something new that can stop a project from moving forward. 

How many times are bright ideas met with fierce resistance?

“We tried that.”

“Sounds great, but we can’t get everyone on board.”

“Good luck with that.”

We’ve heard this from project managers to directors, caught in the frustration of stacked miscommunications or concern about buy-in on their ideas. The lack of energy towards trying something new is likely because it can cause friction, which doesn’t lead to solutions and instead fuels conflict. We know if you stay in this place for too long, you risk losing out on opportunities. It is also a cancerous attitude that you never want to hang around for too long.

Your work culture depends on effective collaboration. Your work environment should be a place where everyone is comfortable with presenting new ideas. It should be a place where introducing better tools and processes is encouraged. New ideas should create excitement for your team and be a part of your everyday workflow.

It would be impossible to outline how to combat every hurdle you may encounter when you try to implement something new. We know that communication failures are sometimes uniquely personal to specific teams/individuals. 

We want to focus on how to do it right. 

It is normal for ideas to get pushed through to the end stages and fall apart; it happens. There are perfectly reasonable causes for this, and the point of this article isn’t to ensure you get your way. Instead, we want to help you properly vet the tools/solutions that are on the table and present them to your team in a way that gives your idea its’ best foot forward. 

Effective communication fosters change when information is shared with clarity and shared at the right time. This doesn’t mean it will always result in acceptance, but it has a better chance of moving forward. Good ideas presented poorly will fail. Never let that be the reason why you aren’t able to make things happen! 

Let’s venture down a path of thoughtful implementation so you can stop daydreaming about solutions and start moving on them! 

How to collaborate with your team

AKA How to become an influencer (within your org)

If we look at the market, we can’t deny we exist in an exciting time; rapid introduction of solutions and tools every day, many of which explore untouched terrain. Innovators are inspired by challenges, and we benefit from their ideas that help us work faster, better, and more collaboratively. From project management tools to brand templating platforms (psst, that’s us), there are so many incredible solutions out there that are worth consideration. It is exciting! But, what can feel less exciting and perhaps daunting is getting everyone on board. 

The uphill climb of influencing buy-off from key stakeholders and then the even bigger task of implementing it; well, it is a lot to take on, we get that. But hey, it’s worth it. 

Influencer status within your organization is goals for all of us. We want to have a voice in how resources are allocated and thoughtfully advocate for solutions that we believe in. We also want to be heard by our peers. This dreamy world is possible, and if your organization is doing it right, your voice is valued.

There are many ways to influence the wrong way, but again, we want to focus on doing it the right way. To influence your cross-functional partners and gain the support of decision-makers, you have to introduce new ideas thoughtfully. You also have to be willing to receive pushback and learn from other points of view. A pushback does not necessarily mean “no.” Some of the very best ideas are birthed out of resistance. 

Our very own CEO, Owen Fuller, often asks for us to disagree, encouraging us to share what we really think, especially if it is unpopular. In that place of discord is often where we uncover the best path forward. 

Adam Grant, a well-known organizational psychologist, gives the best advice on this front.

“You’re entitled to your own opinions in your head. But if you choose to express them out loud, it’s your responsibility to:

We can apply this guidance when we present new ideas. We can also address old processes that are no longer working with this in mind. If we are thoughtful in how we present our ideas, others are more likely to recognize the effort, and we are more likely to influence their opinion. Influence in this context doesn’t mean you will win them over to your side– it means your insight is valuable to the conversation and will help lead to a solution.

According to Daniel Pink, NYT best-selling author, “40% of our day is spent influencing others, if you are in sales, it’s even higher” (Forbes). Whether we realize it or not, that influence, when equipped with information, backed with reason, and supercharged with solutions, can make an impact. 

To achieve true buy-in on your ideas, you must bring people along with you and make them a part of your solution. This means instead of simply presenting the solution, you have to include them in the why and the how to arrive at a collaborative resolution. 

This does not mean you can’t have a plan for implementation in advance. In fact, sharing whether you are in the early thinking stages of a project versus a fully formed plan of action will help your team understand your position. In either case, it is your responsibility to provide opportunities for your team to weigh in and share their perspectives. So often, this part is skipped, resulting in low adoption and/or silos within your organization. 

There are a few foundational principles of good collaboration. As we talk about sharing new ideas with your team, we want to keep these principles in mind at every step.

Trust. Support. Share. Assist.

1. Trust

You have to trust your team to execute their roles and responsibilities. You also have to trust their expertise. They were hired for a reason, let them do it! 

2. Support

The support pathways need to flow up and down. Support your leaders, your team, and your initiatives. This takes shape in different ways, but at the end of the day, whether you are a manager or a team member, everyone is in a supportive role. 

3. Share

Communicate and do it often. Share ideas and make sure others feel comfortable sharing with you. Providing input and continuing to do it takes effort, but it also demonstrates that you care. Remember, this flows both ways, so ask others to share with you. You are responsible for ensuring that you are approachable. 

4. Assist

One of the best ways to facilitate collaboration is to offer assistance. It can be big or small, but when you let your team know you are available to help in any capacity, that demonstrates you are a good partner. At the same time, respecting your role on a project and recognizing that an assisting role on a project is different than ownership will also demonstrate you are a team player. Know the part you play and offer help! 

We’ve now covered some important principles to keep the conversation flowing. 

As a director or manager, remember that your team likely wants to be involved. As a team member, you likely want to have a say. The ages old, treating others how you’d want to be treated, apply especially if you consider how you would want new ideas to be presented to you. 

Whether you are working to influence the decision-makers at your organization or you are trying to convince your team to support your approach, the steps you take to get true buy-in are important. 

Let’s chat about those.

Steps to take from introduction to implementation

First, it is always preferred to let your team know as soon as possible if you are thinking of implementing something new or changing an existing process. Collaboration in the earliest stages will help move the process forward and ensure it is done the right way. Even if it is just a simple FYI, your team will respect you more if you keep them in the loop. 

With that in mind, we want good ideas to move forward, and we want to ensure we properly vet them at every stage. These steps will ensure you go about it the right way and keep effective collaboration top of mind. 

1_ Idea 

If you are a creative type, these probably strike in the middle of the night, likely around the 2 AM hour. Regardless of when the ideas roll in, the spark is something truly special. Maybe you see a problem or inefficiency within your organization that you have the energy to fix! Perhaps a tool/solution is on your radar, and you really believe it can change the game for your team. 

In either case, your first course of action is to think it through! Put your idea to the test and give it some extra attention on your own. There are meetings specific to brainstorming, and we love them! Do them often. But, when you have an independent idea that you want to own and perhaps execute, give it some attention. And then, share it! 

One of the easiest mistakes you can make is viewing your idea through a singular lens. Think about who else is impacted by this particular issue or who would benefit from the solution. Then, invite others in early.  If it is a tool that would make things easier or better, consider other perspectives and get a quick read on it. An idea is just an idea until you poke holes in it and decide if it can become something more. 

As you invite others in, listen. Learn how your co-workers and cross-functional partners may engage with it and take the time to think about it from their perspective. 

Is your idea still an idea that you think is worth exploring further after you’ve let it marinade? Great! It’s time to dig in deeper.


No matter what you are planning, you need to do your research. Learn about how other organizations and teams approach these challenges. Perhaps take a look at all of the solutions and paths you could take and weigh them against each other. 

Is there data to support your position? Pull it. If this is about fixing a problem, gather some information about why this needs to be addressed. 

For example, your team needs to better track projects, but why? Is the lack of visibility an issue because there is too much in the funnel? Is there an imbalance in work distribution? To find the right project management tool for your team, you need to consider what your main goal is before you try to propose solutions. Consider the integrations that you need. As a general rule, look at the processes already in place that work really well and make sure the new addition will complement those wins. 

In this stage, you also need to know what resources will be needed to implement. 

Ask yourself:

You may notice a lot of these questions are about WHO is involved. Again, collaboration, top of mind at every step, will foster a culture of effective communication throughout your organization. When you are mindful of your team and the expertise that they bring to the table, and you allow them to operate at their full potential, the outcomes will always be better than if you put them on a leash.

3_ Share

Perhaps nothing is more frustrating than when someone comes to the table with a solution that they are 100% confident will solve the problem. It feels disingenuous and completely disconnected from your reality. Are they really sure? They didn’t ask you about it, so how do they know? Let’s think about the foundational structure of an organization. You hire diverse opinions and perspectives. You purposely design roles around these unique backgrounds. To allow others to exercise their expertise, you have to allow them to share. You don’t know what you don’t know. 

The sharing stage of a project is about getting input just as much as it is about presenting your idea. Don’t be the person who tries to roll out something new without talking to people about it first. Whether you choose to meet with individuals and run your ideas past them early or you gather decision-makers as a group, make sure you are engaging with different opinions. 

This step is a two-part.

Share for input, then share for buy-in.

Hopefully, part one will happen in stages one and two. You’ve taken feedback and input into consideration and adjusted your plan to reflect their input. Now, you can formally present the collaborative plan to get the final “Yay!” or “Nay.” 

Have you ever noticed that when you present new ideas and you share it as a collaborative effort, you are more likely to get the resources you need to make it happen? 

If you’ve properly hashed through your ideas with your team before formally presenting your proposal, you should already know exactly what the feedback and hesitations will be. Quite honestly, collaborative suggestions will be more successful than individual initiatives. 

Now, we’ve talked about this all with the best-case scenario in mind, but if at any point in stages 1-4, you received pushback from more than one team member and were unable to come to a mutually beneficial resolution, go back to the drawing board. Accept that the current state of your plan is not working. It doesn’t mean you need to drop it altogether,  it may just mean that you must go back to the drawing board. You will be respected more if you are open about the areas that are falling short and take the time to improve the plan.


If you’ve made it this far, good on you! Now, you can put your plan into action. Implementation is the part where it could be rough at times, and there may be some speedbumps along the way, so trust, share, support, and assist your way through this phase. 

Some projects take days, some weeks, so be sure to keep your team updated on how the implementation is going and let them know if there are delays or changes along the way. 

Slack channels are a great way to keep people posted on project status and ensure that no one misses a change that could impact their workflow. 

Other options? Set calendar reminders to update your team on milestones. Use standup meetings to give a status update. Remember, you have to share to keep the collaborative energy flowing. 


Ok, this is so important! After you’ve implemented a project or plan, review it! Follow up and ask how it is working for everyone. You may think that your solution is working, but you have to actively seek out feedback to be sure. 

It can be scary to open yourself up to criticism, but it is the only way to make a process better. Gather different perspectives and continue to evaluate the original problem, and stack them against the solution that you implemented. With any luck, it won’t be a hurdle anymore, and you can move on to the next great thing. If it’s failing to do what you planned, it’s okay! You tried something, and with some tweaks, it may still work. 

The review step, when done routinely, is what prevents the entire problem that we started this article with- resistance to change and hesitation about new ideas come from lack of practice and failed collaboration. 

We discussed effective collaboration and ensuring it happens within your organization and teams. Ultimately, company culture is one of the biggest indicators of whether or not it is easy or difficult to launch new ideas. It takes real effort to ensure that your work environments champion new ideas, but it all starts with clear collaboration from start to finish. Make sure that your team feels comfortable challenging the process and provides opportunities for constructive feedback. 

We leave you with this last tidbit of advice. Teamwork starts with you. When you collaborate together with intention, the ideas that become something more will deliver better results than the ideas you tried to bring to life alone. 

Remember Trust. Support. Share. Assist.  Reminds us a little bit of Captain Planet but in a work sort-of way. Instead of saving the planet, we are saving sanity.

Want to learn more about Marq’s brand-templating tool, designed with team collaboration in mind? Schedule a 1:1 with one of our brand-templating experts.

The topic of brand equity has never been more relevant to us ,given that in July 2022, we took the risk of all risks and rebranded. While we had a loyal customer base going into the rebrand, it presented us with an opportunity to communicate who we are and what we do in a different way; a more meaningful way. Brand equity is about trust. It is about what you say and how you say it. Your brand’s reputation matters and the value of your brand will dictate the levers you can pull as you grow your audience and your business. 

So, we ask the question, how much is your brand worth?

In this article, we’ll dive into the heavy topic of brand equity and promise to throw in a few anecdotes along the way to keep it upbeat.

You will learn

Let’s get to it.  

What is brand equity?

Your brand’s reputation means something. The question you should ask when you think about your brand’s value is how well does your brand generate loyalty and meet customer preference? At the heart of brand equity is your brand’s value, from the products you offer to the name itself. We can measure it through various levers, but to ensure we put our best brand foot forward, we need to understand what contributes to our brand’s overall value.

Brand equity comprises three key components. 

You’ve likely heard of each of these and consider them in your brand and content strategies. Even still, there is value in going back to the basics and ensuring that your strategy promotes brand equity in every aspect. 

Brand Awareness

To put it simply, do people know who you are? As a brand, your ongoing objective as you carve out your space in the market is to get your brand out there and do it often. To gain traction, build your audience, and expand your customer base, your brand has to be known, which according to the stats, takes a repeated effort. The marketing rule of “7” means exposure to your brand has to occur at least seven times for it to stick. 

This means that your content strategy and overall brand efforts require consistency if you want to build a brand.  

A slice of the brand awareness formula is education about who you are and what you do, which contributes to the other components of brand equity. That said, it takes time to build your audience and establish rapport, but it all starts with consistent exposure. 

Brand Recognition

A key component of brand equity is brand recognition. We talked about brand awareness and how crucial consistency is for your audience to recall who you are, but you want to build upon that. Brand recognition is the part where your audience is not just aware of your brand, but they know who you are and identify your brand. Brand recognition is the degree of familiarity the general public, but more importantly, your target audience has about your brand. 

A powerful brand is known and recognized. Your brand recognition is created through your brand identity, voice, marketing, product, and of course, the value of the product or service you provide. 

If you feel like you’ve been at this for a while and you are still struggling to gain recognition, it’s possible that you need to evaluate your brand marketing strategy. The ideal state, with enough exposure, your audience will begin to recognize your logo and know what you do.  

Brand Perception

Now, brand perception may be the most important component of brand equity because once your audience becomes aware of your brand and recognizes it, what do they think about you? 

Brand perception is influenced by all of the aspects of your brand that you would think. 

How do people feel when they think about your brand? This question leads us directly into a larger discussion around why brand equity is important. 

Why does brand equity matter?

We all understand the brand is important. We hopefully also recognize that brand is how our audience can know who we are and connect with us. Sometimes, it is easy to overlook the foundational elements that lead to growth. We can’t grow our audience without consistently putting our brand in front of new prospects. We can’t convert new customers if there is no belief that our brand can deliver on our promise. Brand awareness, brand recognition, and perception may seem like basic elements established organizations should understand, and more likely than not, they are missed as a result of moving too quickly or operating with a lack of overall strategy.

Benefits of building brand equity

When you’ve built trust and loyalty with your audience and customers, your brand benefits in many ways. We all want brand equity, and as we just covered, some of the basic factors that build it are frequently overlooked. If brand equity is prioritized in your strategy, what are the benefits?

Loyal customer base 

This means predictability in your revenue stream, which also gives you the ability to build upon your product, make changes, and even consider adjustments in pricing because you know your customers believe in your brand. Obviously, there is a fine line on what you can do, but when you have customers fully supporting your brand, you can operate with more confidence. Brand equity means trust, and trust gives you more flexibility. 

Easier growth trajectory 

When you can rely on customers returning to your brand, you can also leverage your customer’s experience with your brand to grow your business. As brand equity builds and your audience becomes more familiar with your brand, that is another growth lever. Customer testimonials have more value, and it becomes less difficult to educate new customers when you have demonstrated a pattern of success.

Consider Amazon. Love them or hate them, the online book store expanded into other categories ,and sometimes, it feels like a different life when we think about them as just an online book store. They leveraged customer experience and brand equity to grow into other categories, and it paid off. 

Clear differentiation

Brand equity is greatly beneficial when your brand is stacked against your competitors. When you’ve established a solid reputation ,and the perception of value is high, you can stand out. When your audience can see what they get from your brand compared to the other options available, that is a big win and says a lot about your brand’s equity. 

How does your brand equity influence content strategy?

The title for this article could have been “back to brand basics” because these key components that build your brand are so easily forgotten or given the backseat when creating your brand and content strategies. With this in mind, let’s think about how brand equity influences your content strategy. 

Ways brand equity influences content strategy.

  1. Brand consistency is more important than ever before.

Brand awareness leads to brand recognition which influences brand perception, and all of these components happen when you are consistent with your branded content. When faced with speed and demand, it can be easy to overlook consistency, but if your audience sees variations of your brand in the wild, it will be harder for them to connect the dots. Leverage brand templates to ensure no matter who is creating content, it represents your brand. Make brand consistency a priority, and your brand equity will directly benefit. 

2. The story you tell should resonate.

How your audience perceives your brand and how they relate to the problems you solve is directly linked to brand equity. Take the time to think through your brand messaging and make a point to ensure that your brand story is clearly communicated in your content strategy. Your brand suffers if your content is missing the mar(q).

3. Consistent communication. Stay in touch. 

Back to the rule of seven, which can be argued given the amount of content, we are flooded with daily, but in either case, you should be consistently producing content to connect with your audience. This consistent communication creates more opportunities to build your brand. It is how you establish recognition and how you build brand loyalty. Consistently communicate with your audience, and your brand will benefit. 

4. Share positive brand experiences.

Perhaps the best part of building a brand is hearing your customers’ wins. It is an immediate brand boost when they find success in your products and services. Your content strategy should include sharing positive brand experiences with your audience. This gives your brand credibility and contributes to that brand image you’ve been working so hard to build. 

To learn more about how Marq can help you achieve brand consistency and produce content at scale, you can schedule a 1:1 with our team.