One of the most valuable assets a company has is its brand - a consistent brand identity that upholds the company’s core values is vital to forging a credible and enduring connection with its customers. This should be present across all company initiatives and communication, and is where brand guardianship comes in. The purpose of a brand guardian is to ensure that the company’s identity and values are consistently applied across all online and offline channels, internally and externally as well as locally and globally. This includes digital and social media campaigns, emails, and printed publications.
Having a strong, reliable identity is important because it elevates the brand and differentiates it from competitors, allowing customers to immediately recognise and invest in your products and services. This brand cohesion helps build trust and confidence and is essential to having successful, high quality content and communication. It will also help save time and money as clear brand guidelines can be followed to protect your investment and improve scalability. All employees should use these rules to guide their representation of the brand.
Brand guardians will govern this to make sure that it is being followed correctly. They should have in-depth knowledge of the brand, design, and different regional guidelines, as they will be responsible for overseeing and approving creative assets. Digital asset management can be implemented to facilitate brand guardianship, as it improves the visibility and consistency of assets through a centralised archive that is updated in real time. The guardian also works with clients directly to communicate and maintain global uniformity.
The elements that form the brand are referred to as corporate identity, and include the brand name, logos, fonts, colours, imagery, and graphics. The key principle of brand guardianship is that these must follow a cohesive framework in order to accurately communicate the brand message. Because investment in corporate identity can be significant, appointing a guardian to uphold consistent brand usage is a valuable tool for successful branding. This will help the brand develop high performing, globally relevant, and culturally sensitive content that is both engaging and strategic. These targets can be met through content production, storage and approval, and safeguarding the brand language by way of copy storage, memory translation, in-situ translation workflow, and approval workflows.
With a constantly evolving digital environment, brand guardianship should strive to remain relevant and evolve to adapt to new challenges. It should avoid a rigid approach that follows strict brand guidelines and potentially stifling creativity. This is particularly applicable when it comes to social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. A brand’s marketing guidelines may not support newer formats and must constantly be updated to ensure the brand identity is portrayed correctly on even the newest platforms. The agency can then be confident that no matter where they place the brand, it will be done appropriately.
Brand guidelines, also known as brand identity, or corporate identity (CI), are an invaluable tool used to protect the brand and its representation by employees. In large organisations, a brand will have numerous voices - from the CEO, press relations officer, salespeople, social media and content managers, among others. The brand guardian should inform all of these constituents of the brand identity so that there is company wide clarity and unification. This includes typography, colour palette, size and orientation of logos, key files, and messaging. There should be a single source of updated assets that should be accessible to all involved. The brand guardian responsible for this, and for the oversight of brand guidelines.
Brand guidelines can come in different forms depending on the type of sources. However, they most often come in the form of a document stipulating specific uses of brand assets. It will clearly show appropriate usage of assets such as logos, including direct dos and don’ts, as well as more abstract recommendations regarding tone-of-voice and brand personality. Keep in mind that brand guidelines may be audience-specific and can vary depending on its intended region. This should be clearly marked in the document so the correct guidelines are used in each market.
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