Ensuring Cross Channel Consistency in Brand Management

“Having the people,systems and governance in place to facilitate a cross channel view of marketing assets and customer experience is a critical challenge many organizations are facing”

Laura Keller, Strategist at MISI company 

Silos Revisited

In many organizations the responsibility for creating marketing assets is decentralized and siloed by channel. One group is working on email marketing, another on web commerce, others on social media and still other groups on more traditional print and broadcast. Without solid governance and systems to support a view across these channels, companies are missing a tremendous opportunity to: 

  1. Re-use marketing assets
  2. Realize value from cross channel synergies
  3. Evaluate the consistency and quality of marketing assets

A great deal of  time and money is wasted creating new assets because of a lack of awareness of existing assets.  Assets also need to be managed across channels in order to maintain consistency and measure effectiveness of programs and maximize impact from spend.  Any organization engaging in cross channel marketing programs will benefit from core tools and approaches that, when put into place, can improve response times and save money.  

A centralized repository of marketing assets that is supported by consistent organizing principles (taxonomy) is a requirement for facilitating cross channel views and re-use of assets. Unfortunately, the following scenarios are all too common.

No central repository: The website group is storing there images on one server, and the print group on another. The group responsible for social media knows about the website group’s server, but not about the print groups, and the print group doesn’t have access to either.

Central repository with no common vocabulary for describing assets:  This scenario can be just as bad, as a repository with no taxonomy and governance quickly becomes a dumping ground for everything and anything.  Even though everyone can access all the assets in the same place, without a taxonomy and good governance, the potential time and money saved from re-using assets is lost because it takes an exceedingly long time to find anything. 

The alternative can be much more effective and efficient. 

The Solution: Managed Repositories and Consistent Organization of Assets 

Central Repository with Taxonomy and Governance: When marketing assets are captured and categorized consistently the opportunities for re-use, as well as evaluation become much more powerful. 

To often, organizations rely on "personal" organizing principles instead of a common taxonomy.  A taxonomy is a way of organizing information consistently. We can illustrate the power of taxonomy in resolving brand asset management problems with the following example.  

Consider the images and text that make up a print advertisement.  If the creative director stored the advertisement and its components in a file labeled "Ted's Print Projects 2009", it would be very difficult for people in another part of the organization to locate and reuse any of the components.

If another group decided to create a companion promotion on the web site, it is likely that many of the assets would need to be created once again rather than repurposed.

In this simple example, it may not be too dificult to locate the specific assets, however most marketing organizations are engaging in hundreds or thousands of projects and programs and the problem can become more complex by orders of magnitude.  Putting the assets into a shared repository or centralized library would allow for access across groups, but without governance processes and managed content life cycles, there will still be challenges in maintaining consistent branding and getting the most from promotion synergies. 

The correct approach is to develop naming conventions to segment assets and distinguish them from other files through use of controlled values from taxonomy facets.

Each so-called "facet"  represents a different way of accessing a piece of information.  In this example, we might define the type of asset, the specific channel, target demographic, a country or region, a language and perhaps a term to describe the concept.  The number of facets is limited by a couple of practical issues (like who will add the terms to describe content) but can be tailored to the organization's specific processes, content, markets, asset types, channels, brands, regions, etc. 

Here are some example values for some of these select "facets":

Type: Magazine Advertisement

Channel: Print

Target Demographic: Tweens

Country: US

Language: Spanish

Concept: Rebellion

The addition of these terms used to describe assets (the taxonomy values) allows users to search and browse in powerful ways.

Not only does it make it easier to find very specific types of marketing assets, it also makes it easier to evaluate and compare the messaging and consistency of branding across channels. The added value of taxonomy does not stop at comparing assets across channels, as you could evaluate and compare assets by target demographic, concept, or type, or essentially any combination facets in the taxonomy. 

A centralized, taxonomy driven repository is foundational for building capabilities of re-use and evaluation in the brand management space. 

  • Improve visibility of assets across siloed groups
  • Allow for asset reuse
  • Improve cross channel marketing effectiveness
  • Allow for evaluation of consistency and quality of assets across channels
  • Simplify strategic planning of cross channel marketing

Digital asset management and marketing asset management is becoming an essential component of cross channel marketing programs.  Though these initiatives can be costly and complex, the benefits translate into cost savings, improved agility, new efficiencies and a more consistent message to the marketplace.   

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