Brand governance tools: How your departments can benefit from them
Different teams will use brand governance tools in different ways. Here’s how each department will benefit from brand governance software.
In our recent study of over 750 brand, marketing, and design pros, 80% agreed their company brand would be much stronger if ownership and responsibilities were clearly defined. But it’s hard to define and develop that sense of ownership without an effective process for governing and managing the brand.
Companies use brand governance tools to control the use and presentation of their brand, both internally and externally. Some companies use a comprehensive, all-in-one brand governance platform. Others combine multiple brand management tools, like brand guidelines, tools for digital asset management, and tools to manage permissions and automate file sharing.
Different departments will use brand governance software in different ways, but doing so will have one overall benefit for the business. Companies can use brand governance tools to increase brand ownership by helping each department understand the brand and how to use it in their work.
Brand departments can empower everyone else to take ownership
Brand departments use brand governance tools to give other employees access to brand assets and materials, control permissions, and help everyone stay on-brand in their work.
Brand governance tools become a centralized home for everything brand-related, from brand assets to guidelines and creative templates. Brand teams are then responsible for adding, changing, and removing permissions for other departments, individual employees, and external partners. As a result, everyone that needs to can access brand materials, which helps improve the brand consistency and ownership levels across the business.
We’ve seen brand ownership increase as companies start using a brand governance tool like Frontify, and more employees across the business start using it. Our data shows that in the first six months of using Frontify, the average number of monthly users increases from 12 in month one to 67 by month six as more team members get involved with the brand.
As well as empowering more people to use brand materials, brand governance tools also help brand departments keep everyone aligned and up-to-date as the brand evolves. They can add materials, replace assets, update guidelines as needed, and be confident that those changes are reflected for everyone in real-time. This further empowers other departments to use brand assets whenever they need them because they can be confident that everything they’re using is correct and up-to-date.
Marketing departments can stop being the “brand police”
Marketing departments use brand governance tools to document brand guidelines and organize brand assets, so everyone can find and use branded assets without their involvement.
Without brand governance tools, marketing teams often fall into the role of finding and circulating marketing materials for people in other departments. Then, they’ll also spend a lot of time checking and correcting branded materials created by other teams — for example, ensuring all materials use the correct logo version and brand fonts.
But brand governance tools enable marketers to spend less time on brand-related admin and oversight. Instead, they can refocus their energy on high-value, revenue-generating work. Forrester interviewed a brand manager about the benefits of using a brand governance tool like Frontify. They said, “We are freeing up at least 50% of our local marketers’ time that they can use to do valuable marketing work, such as identifying how to reach new audiences or existing customers in new channels.”
Brand governance tools help marketers spend less time being the “brand police” by giving them a centralized location to create and document their brand guidelines. Everyone has access to them, so they can easily check whether they’re using the correct logo or other elements. Additionally, they have a central place to store finalized marketing assets, so other departments can access them as needed, rather than asking the marketing team each time.
Design teams can streamline their approvals process
Design departments use brand governance tools to keep creative projects moving forward. They can use a tool to centralize stakeholder feedback and approvals to finalize designs and projects more quickly.
This is essential because getting feedback and sign-off on designs can significantly delay projects — especially if you have multiple stakeholders involved.
Without brand governance tools, designers spend a lot of time chasing people to review and provide feedback on their work. But by adopting a brand governance tool, the designers and their stakeholders have a centralized brand portal for sharing feedback and approving designs.
That makes it easier for everyone to keep track of, as stakeholders don’t have to dig through their emails, Slack messages, or downloads folder looking for the assets they need to approve, and designers don’t have to switch between emails and design when reviewing or actioning feedback. It helps them streamline the feedback process, so designers can focus more on their creative work than the administrative oversight that goes with it.
Additionally, many brand governance tools make it possible for designers to set up integrations to connect their design tools with resources like brand guidelines. This helps them ensure their designs are on-brand right from the start, so leadership and other key stakeholders don’t need to check the branding during the review process.
Leadership teams can lead by example in brand representation
Leadership teams use brand governance tools to access all the brand assets they need, whether that’s a logo for a press release or a slide deck for a board meeting.
Our research found that 90% of CEOs feel connected to their brand, but other teams ranked them as the second-worst offenders for creating the most off-brand material within their company. But brand governance tools give them the assets and resources to stay on-brand themselves, setting an example for the rest of the company to follow. By ensuring they follow your brand guidelines, they show the rest of the organization that a consistent brand identity is important, and set a good example to the rest of the team.
This is particularly important because CEOs and the leadership team are the most visible members of the company and are most likely to represent the brand externally. Presenting at an industry conference, posting about the company on social media, or speaking on an industry podcast are all highly-visible examples of when the CEO might represent the brand.
Additionally, brand governance tools enable leadership teams and CEOs to find the brand materials they need, rather than asking the marketing department to find them. This helps CEOs take greater ownership over how they communicate the brand, and lets them represent the brand more authentically as they’re not only using the assets someone else provides for them.
Agencies can stay on-brand no matter how many clients they work with
It’s not just internal teams that need to be able to create branded assets, access brand guidelines, and stay up-to-date with changes to your brand. External partners like agencies need to be able to contribute to your brand too.
Agencies use brand governance tools to access clients’ guidelines and brand assets to ensure they correctly communicate the brand in work for their clients. Agencies may have their own brand governance tool for managing all their client’s assets, or they may get added into their client’s brand management platform.
US-based agency Big Duck used to rely on static brand guideline PDFs for its client work, but adopting a cloud-based brand management solution has improved how they work with clients. They said a brand governance tool has made it “so much easier for [our clients] to keep their brands current, and to use their platform as a way to equip their staff and partners to actively use the brand tools.”
A brand governance tool gives agencies a centralized place to find clients’ brand guidelines, approved brand assets, and design templates. Additionally, it means they know exactly where to save and store any branded materials they create for their clients. As a result, the brand governance tool makes agency and client collaboration and communication easier, as both parties know where and how to access brand materials.
Empower all your teams with a brand governance framework
Brand governance tools are only useful if people understand why and how to use them. Create a brand governance framework to help employees understand how their role contributes to the brand and who to go to for brand-related support.
To help you create a framework that will empower your whole team, we’ve put together a template you can download. Download a copy below.