Building a brand platform: An essential guide for companies
A brand platform can transform the way you manage and maintain your brand. Instead of having assets, guidelines, and creative work spread across multiple tools and locations, you bring them together in a central home.
What is a brand platform?
A brand platform is a centralized online hub where you store all the information, resources, and assets related to your brand. Companies may refer to their brand platform as a brand center or brand portal, but whatever you call it, it typically has several key components:
- Brand guidelines document the rules, standards, and guidance on how to communicate your brand correctly.
- Collaboration functionality allows users to co-create brand assets, share feedback, and provide sign-offs and approvals.
- Digital asset management (DAM) solutions store and manage all your brand’s digital assets, including logos, icons, videos, and images.
A brand platform allows everyone in the organization to follow the guidelines to create assets and ensure that the relevant people can access them.
The importance of brand platforms for multi-brand organizations
Many organizations use a brand platform to house multiple brands or sub-brands. This lets them manage a diverse portfolio within a single tool, making it easier to maintain oversight while enabling teams to access the appropriate materials.
The challenges of managing multiple brands
As brands scale, managing them becomes more difficult — especially in a multi-brand organization. You need to ensure that each brand has its own identity and that all assets, resources, and guidelines are organized and shared with the right people.
Versioning issues, access control, and security measures are just some of the problems you have to worry about when juggling multiple brands through a complex folder structure (such as Google Drive) or email threads.
Brand managers encounter further challenges if they’re dealing with global brands that have small but important regional variations. They need to ensure employees in the right location have all the assets and information relevant to their regional sub-brand without confusing team members in other locations.
A dedicated brand portal can help house all your brands under one roof. Frontify’s platform provides space for each brand to thrive and grow while keeping everything organized and easy to access.
The benefits of a unified brand platform
A centralized platform simplifies all aspects of brand management. Here are some of the leading benefits organizations experience when they bring all their brands and brand materials together into one unified solution:
- Improved brand consistency: Employees now have only one place to look for brand assets and guidelines. This makes it easier for everyone to use the correct files and means there’s no excuse for not following your guidelines.
- Smoother collaboration across teams and geographies: Team members can work together within your brand portal — no matter where they’re located. So, employees can provide feedback on work-in-progress designs or approve completed assets, making cross-team collaboration simple.
- Streamlined management of brand assets: You don’t have to worry about employees using outdated materials or referencing old versions of your guidelines. Everything’s centralized in one cloud-based platform that automatically updates for all users when you make a change.
How a brand platform simplifies asset management in multi-brand companies
When managing multiple brands, there’s more of everything to keep track of — more files, guidelines, training, and requests. A brand platform makes it easier for brand managers to take care of assets at scale:
- Control user permissions so assets are only visible to people working on that brand.
- Set up distinct interfaces and portals for each brand to emphasize which brand users are looking at.
- Create dedicated workflows for each brand, customized to their approval processes or other unique requirements.
Key features of an effective brand platform
Choosing the right brand platform is an important decision for your business. When comparing different solutions, here are the key topics and essential features you should look for.
Asset management and organization
You need a platform that simplifies how you organize your brand assets so that people can find and use them. Here’s what you need to pay attention to:
- Versatile asset organization: The more flexible options for classifying brand assets you have, the easier it will be to categorize by file type, group assets into campaigns, or organize by sub-brand.
- Effective and efficient search: Make sure your brand platform lets you tag assets and add metadata so you have multiple ways to find the files you need.
Accessibility for global teams and stakeholders
A brand platform should make it easy for all users to access brand resources, regardless of their location. Try to find a system that enables global teams with these essentials:
- Offering multi-language options: Simplify communication by enabling users to access your brand portal in their native language.
- Supporting localization: You may have global or regional variants on your core branding. Your brand platform shows the correct variations depending on users’ locations or departments.
- Providing cloud-based infrastructure: Being able to log into the brand platform from any location allows everyone to use files more easily than with an on-premise solution.
User access control and permissions
While your brand platform should enable everyone to access your brand materials, you still want to maintain control over who can retrieve what and when. These two points are critical:
- Customizable user roles and permissions: You want to be able to control who can add, edit, or delete files, versus who can just view them. You may also want to set different permissions for different teams or based on users’ seniority in the organization.
- Options for sharing assets outside the company: Your brand platform should allow external users — such as agency partners, freelancers, or investors — to access assets. And let you turn that permission on and off quickly and easily.
Support multiple brands under one roof
One of the main benefits of a brand platform is that it helps companies manage multiple brands within one centralized solution. Make sure you find a platform with the following features:
- Customizable interfaces for different brands: You can set up each brand with its own look and feel, making it easy for users to identify which brand they’re working with. Each brand may have specific use cases or asset types, so you want a platform that adapts to your needs rather than offering a cookie-cutter setup for each one.
- Adaptable workflows for brand managers: You may have different workflows for the brands and sub-brands within your ecosystem. Look for a platform that allows you to set up customizable and streamlined processes so your brand managers can work efficiently and effectively.
Security measures and data compliance
You want a brand platform that makes it easy for others to access your files, but you also want to be confident those assets are secure. Here’s what you need to be aware of:
- Enterprise-level security: Features like single sign-on (SSO), access logs, and compliance checks offer the highest level of protection for your brand assets.
- A platform that meets the latest global data security standards: Some requirements to look for include ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials. Meeting these standards shows the software has been officially recognized and certified against industry-leading specifications.
Real-world examples of brand platforms
There are so many ways to set up and customize a brand platform. These three organizations are great examples of different ways to manage your brand within a centralized system.
Lufthansa’s brand management platform is a one-stop shop for everything related to its brands. It houses corporate design guidelines and downloadable files.
Lufthansa has built dedicated sections for each sub-brand — including Austrian Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, and Eurowings. Each brand has its own distinct identity but resides within one centralized hub.
The Trustpilot brand platform gives users everything they need to tell its story, communicate its values, and maintain its visual identity.
To make everything as accessible as possible for users, the Trustpilot brand team has created a “quick access” section, linking out to their most important brand assets and guidelines — logos, colors, fonts, and other core visual elements.
The Bosch brand platform houses detailed guidelines customized for different channels and use cases. It developed an extensive design system for common web and digital components, which enables strong consistency across all its digital touchpoints.
In addition, a in-depth style guide, offers direction on how to use core brand assets and adhere to the Bosch written tone and style.
Frontify’s unique approach to brand platforms
Frontify enables teams of all shapes and sizes to work together to build their brand:
- Customize entry points to your brand platform: Create a central hub pointing people in the right direction. Navigate straight to each sub-brand, and direct users to the core assets, guidelines, and resources for particular teams or projects.
- Collaborate on projects in real time: Get everyone working in a shared, collaborative space where users can request and exchange feedback.
- Create a one-stop shop for brand management: Centralize all your brand materials — from assets and code snippets to guidelines, templates, and creative projects.
We work with over 2.5 million brand builders at some of the world’s leading companies, like Lufthansa and Bosch. Our brand portal helps everyone and everything brand-related come together — and thrive — under one roof.