Failing to implement your brand consistently, is consistently implementing failure
Kylie Gould, director and founder of Australian graphic design studio Creatik, discusses the crucial importance of adopting a decent brand implementation plan.
We all know successful brands start with a solid brand strategy and award-winning design that is consistently delivered through all touchpoints. But all too often, this is the exact point at which many brands start to stumble and fall.
Starting a brand project is an exciting and significant time for a business. At the outset, there is usually intense scrutiny by the board; executive engagement during the strategic and creative development process; and much-needed support and accolades during the launch process. But what comes next will have a direct effect on how people perceive your brand. I'm talking about your brand implementation plan.
A well-implemented brand is as relevant as the strategy itself. An inseparable pair. Implementation picks up where development left off. One without the other is like bangers with no mash. Batman sans Robin. Salt, hold the pepper.
So how do you set yourself up, and more importantly your client, to deliver a successful, high-quality and consistent brand implementation plan?
Firstly, let’s recap what I mean by implementation. It’s the process of replacing and updating the tangible assets a business uses across all touchpoints. It usually begins with a range of high-profile, big-impact items to launch the brand and set the benchmark. Followed by a longer, ongoing brand roll out program. Securing the budget, support and commitment to an implementation project is one of the main challenges in delivering a successful brand project. Make sure this is built into the brand proposal from the beginning to ensure stakeholders buy into the implementation program of work.
Why does it matter? People form their perception of a brand based on every interaction they have with it, which is why consistency is fundamental to success. However, the days of unlimited marketing budgets and designers doing everything are gone, so your guidelines need to do the heavy lifting. We often receive beautiful brand guidelines with the same costly error. They lack a well-tested, practical and comprehensive design system that works consistently across all channels.
We live in an age of enablement, so if you haven't tested your guidelines in daily business scenarios, they won't work. Without the right tools, your clients will be logging onto Canva and doing it themselves. No, Canva is not a dirty word. It's a brilliant platform, but without a well-considered design system, no DIY design platform can maintain the integrity of your brand design.
Next, let's discuss bench strength. The depth and expertise of your team goes far beyond the brand strategist, creative director and brand design team. You absolutely need these guys at their best for the disruptive ideas, brave design and on-point answers to the brief. I am fully supportive of the A team up front. But all too often the team responsible for rolling out the brand project is an afterthought. I mean, really roll it out. In a practical, user-friendly, give-me-assets-to-succeed-inhouse kind of way.
Securing stakeholder support (and budget) for the implementation plan means you can arm yourself with deep bench strength, capable of creating high-quality, on-brand assets. Like the Word gurus and PowerPoint designers with ninja-like template skills. The ones whose superpowers you didn’t know you needed who can poke holes, helpful holes, in your new brand that will help make your brand shine long after the launch and accolades.
As a result, you will be able to implement your brand consistently and ensure its success.