Your [Brand Standards] Slip is Showing: The importance of brand stewardship
I hope you enjoyed your long holiday weekend (for those in the U.S.) and that you are ready to get back on track building your brand…do I hear groaning?
Anyway, one of my nerdy habits is taking photos of branding gone wrong or neglected. Sometimes it can be quite amusing. Other times, it’s just, well, sad. Here are a couple of examples I ran across.
From the photos, you might assume the “Premium Outlet Malls” may have a very narrow market of high-priced call girls. And the custom homebuilder? Well I guess this just shows how fertile our housing market has become. Our standards for “custom” building may be a little loosey-goosey. Too bad someone wasn’t monitoring the brands in both of these instances.
When you invest in branding, it’s not a one and done. It’s just like when you have kids: you don’t just pop them out and say, "There you go!" No, you keep developing them as they grow, change and adapt to the world around them. You monitor them to keep them on track.
The same is true with your brand. It’s your baby. Don’t treat it like some evil spawn. You need to guide it back when it makes a wrong turn or stumbles. Someone in your organization has to wear the brand stewardship hat.
Brand stewardship can be like being the company hall monitor—it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. That person or group has to weigh new marketing opportunities and brand placement against company goals and brand image. Is it a good fit? Another duty is to police how the brand is used in any appearance to maintain usage consistent with that for which your brand stands. Keeping a sharp eye on things will prevent slips like those in the photos.
The key is to set brand usage standards, monitor and enforce those standards and review and adjust as your brand evolves.
If you nurture your brand and steward its usage, it will remain your money-maker, building your reputation and shortening the engagement cycle with your clients.
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