Be consistent. Create great content. Nurture a community. The key to building successful brands is allowing customers to remember you easily.
If you ask anyone to name their favorite brands, you’re bound to hear at least one of these names - Apple, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Google, & Nike. So, how is it possible? How have just a few brands ruled everyone’s top five list?
Building an iconic brand isn’t something that’s a happy accident. It’s a curation of the right set of visual identity, the undertone of what the brand says and how it affects its consumers, the perfect logo, a thoughtful selection of color palettes, an advertising copy that gets to the point, and so much more.
Building a strong brand takes time, effort, and a strategic approach.
What is brand success?
Brand success can be described as a brand's ability to be recognized by its users. If your buyers can tell you from your competitors based on your advertisement, branding, design style etc., you’ve made it.
A defining characteristic of a successful brand is its ability to attract customers. Successful brands are positioned credibly, in line with their personality, appealing to fans and differentiating from competitors. They have established strategic ways to achieve this positioning and consistently follow those principles. So what catapults brands to be iconic?
✅ Brand identity: The ability to be memorable is the biggest asset for brands; they unlock this through clear, distinct, & consistent identity.
✅ Connection with customers: All iconic brands build an emotional connection with their customers through shared values, memories, & experiences.
✅ Consistent image: Arguably, the core of everything. Building brands is about consistency - the same values, over and over, across all channels.
✅ Generating recall: An element that connects the world’s most popular brands is their investment in generating recall & recognition through campaigns.
✅ Adaptability: Adapting with grace across cultures and staying true to your identity differentiates iconic brands from everyone else.
Unlocking brand consistency for your brand
What if Nike’s values changed across geographies to meet the requirement of local communities? Would the brand have remained so iconic? Would all its customers worldwide recognize, feel, and attribute Nike to the same values?
Probably not. Over the years, Nike has stood firm in building the below-mentioned sentiments and has remained consistent worldwide.
- Every athlete in the world
These are the set of values Nike has built for itself from its inception, and it continues to thrive on it. Its bold and dynamic image, its ‘Just Do It’ punchline, and everything else aligns with the same feeling.
Brand consistency refers to ensuring that all brand elements, such as logo, messaging, and visuals, are aligned and used consistently across all touchpoints.
This creates a clear and recognizable image for customers, building trust and recognition. High standards of performance are critical to building a brand that customers love, & remember. Digital asset management(DAM) can help unlock this goal by centralizing branded assets in one place.
DAM systems are a boon to modern times that divide teams, & operations through geographies, asset types, channels, & mediums. Through their tools to collate, curate, store, share, analyze, approve, & control, branded assets are consistently managed, helping brands to drive success.
Building systems for brand success
Building a brand is hectic. It requires teams to step back & look at the bigger picture:
- What should we be remembered for?
- What emotion should we elicit?
- How should we deliver a branded experience?
- How should we scale our efforts?
So obviously, teams need a system, a process first to identify their efforts and then repeat them for greater success - and assets sit at the core of this function.
Digital assets, such as images, videos, documents, and audio files, play a critical role in marketing and branding efforts. With many existing brands, it is easy for your brand’s message to get lost in the crowd. This is where DAM comes in.
DAM system allows teams to collaborate at a godly level - managing, storing, organizing, sharing, and distributing, the tool owns everything. DAMs are a centralized library for companies to operate freely in a digital-first world.
When a team member sitting in London creates an artwork, he/she can upload it on DAM, which will reach its stakeholders across geographies in seconds. DAM will enable teams to easily access, use, share, and deploy assets across their channels. Key parameters why DAM is the go-to tool for big brands are
- Centralized repository: You’ve probably heard this 100 times before, but DAM systems are your best bet in keeping everything at once. This centralized repository is a goldmine for making systems easy, & allowing brands to build consistency across the visual identity.
- Metadata management: DAM empowers teams to allow metadata to their images like tags, keywords, and descriptions, making it incredibly easier to run a search. All you got to do is have a systemised nomenclature, and your teammates from anywhere in the world can find the right assets.
- Workflow approvals: If you ever got tired of running after stakeholders, and digging items from the email chain for approvals, then the DAM system will make your life easier. It’s a one-stop shop for bringing stakeholders on one medium and taking approvals.
- Version control: Another benefit for DAM systems in gaining brand success is enabling version control that reduces the usage of old items that are outdated. In one go, with probably one click, managers can see the entire journey of multiple versions that the file went through before it was approved.
Using DAM to achieve brand success
Poor asset management of branded items plagues a brand at numerous levels: no recall, dwindling loyalty, the gap between teams, misuse of IP etc. A digital asset management system is the only answer to this modern age conundrum.
The goal of a DAM system is to provide a centralized repository for all digital assets, making it easy for teams to access, share, and use them. It stores everything from images to videos, from GIFs to documents, so branding efforts are consistent, efficient, and high-quality.
- Consistency in branding
A brand pulls a loyal customer basis its logo, look & feel, slogan, color pallet, and design centered on its brand identity and core values. Consistency is at the core.
Let’s revisit Nike as an example. The swoosh symbol has become universally accepted and has become a core part of their identity - from their social media to the website, app, print, and digital ads.
Would the mascot be as iconic if the swoosh changed in size, shape, and dimensions every now and then? Consistency is key to brand success. This is where DAM systems help teams access the same assets simultaneously. They act as a system that helps the organization to achieve brand compliance.
- Efficiency in the system
DAM systems are built to streamline the system by automating approvals, tagging images, simplifying file search, etc. If you’ve ever spent more than 10 minutes searching for an ad from the previous year or attaching heavy files of the branded asset on email for a new stakeholder, you know what we are talking about.
Whereas with a DAM system, you can conduct advanced file search that can easily help you narrow down to the exact type of asset(s) you need from a huge repository of digital assets.
- Team performance
In today’s times, marketing teams create assets not just for the web but also for the app, social media, print, & other mediums. In such a scenario, DAM systems help unify the team’s output by improving collaboration, reducing dependency, and simplifying asset accessibility.
- Brand identity protection
Brand identity theft & misuse of branded assets are at an all-time high and a raging concern for brands worldwide. As business becomes global, it’s challenging to safeguard your images and videos from unauthorized usage.
The latest breed of DAm systems offers image transformation capabilities, which include adding watermarks to the images to prevent them from being used without consent.
- Seamless collaboration
Centralized repositories are a boon for highly functional teams. Using DAM, the collaboration between different teams and, stakeholders, & owners become incredibly easy, & swift.
It allows visibility over all the work done over the years and approved assets by owners and reduces the risk of friction or duplication of efforts.
- Simplified auditing
Arguably, DAM’s most popular quality is the ability to bring everyone on the same page. With DAM, teams can easily audit their assets, reach out to stakeholders for approval, and have a full record of who has accessed & used assets.
This information is extremely useful in tracking and managing the overall sanctity of the process.
- Asset archiving
Your new year campaign is over, and you’re not going to come back for another 11 months - where do you leave it? In a DAM-managed asset repository, the branded asset can be stored for long-term usage, & teams can very easily navigate back to them in need. This includes backup, recovery, corruption cover, version control etc.
How to put DAM to good use for brand success
Strong brands are tough. They bounce back from any crisis fast. They’re resilient and hard to break. But what are strong brands?
Brands that commit to building an image through repeated efforts for their customers are seen as solid brands. Brands with a uniform identity across channels and geographies are touted as strong brands.
The indicators of a strong brand, such as awareness, loyalty, market share, & reputation, are all deeply intertwined with its ability to consistently deliver on its promise and meet the needs and expectations of its target audience. Here’s how you can use DAM to build a solid reputation for your brand.
- Build a file naming convention
Look at your DAM as a library of your assets - stacked in rows, & sections. A few systems are in place for a user to find a book in the library. Similarly, the naming convention allows users to find the asset they want.
The naming convention ensures assets can be easily identified, are located in the right folders and reduce the risk of duplication. A clear and consistent naming convention allows users visibility on approvals, date of creation etc.
- Create a central repository of brand assets
As discussed above, the best use of DAM is to store and share your assets, which works best if all of them are together. Treating DAM as a central repository of all your brand assets is the foundation of an effective system.
Share this with creators, owners, deployers, & stakeholders across the board. Everything from your logo to images, from color pallets to templates, should be stored in DAM.
- Create shared folders for different teams
In a big organization, access to assets must be divided basis of their need & usage. To ensure that everyone across teams and departments is aligned, teams must create shared folders for departments on a need basis. For instance, having a dedicated marketing folder structure is highly recommended if your brand has an expansive marketing team with several sub-functions.
This single source of truth makes it easy for teams to access relevant data and navigate clutter-free in the ocean of branded assets.
- Update the latest brand assets
Marketing & design teams make hundreds of assets monthly. Not all of them stay relevant over the months; however, it is still imperative to have a plan to monitor them.
In such a case, redundant assets should be separated from the latest assets in a structured manner to avoid any inconsistency. With DAM, organizing digital assets for your brand should be a cakewalk.
- Use metadata tagging to improve asset discoverability
In DAM, different metadata fields seek information like filename, photography type, description, and usage rights to enable users of the system full disclosure on the asset. Metadata tagging provides contextual information that enables easy asset discovery.
To make the most of the system, the best practice is to make a selection of tags that are widely used in your organization and enable them for each upload. It then becomes easier for users to find results with relevant queries.
- Set up access management
For sensitive and confidential files in your brand kit, one can also enable limited or restricted access to files as a user. It is important for the branding team to bifurcate assets basis their needs. For instance, 3rd party stakeholders should be guided on how to use your logos but should not ideally have access to open files for your brand kits to avoid variations in the original version.
The user access management can ensure that only those who are supposed to access the kit have exposure to it. Owners can manage access at a team or a user level.
Brand building is a rocky road - it requires patience, persistence, and a lot of consistency. Do you think brands like Pepsi, Apple, or Starbucks were built in a year?
From its inception, Starbucks focused on the experiential aspect of the brand on its users and consistently implemented changes across stores around the world. And while we cannot comment on how taxing it must have been without a digital asset management tool, we guarantee that DAMs today are more robust than ever.
DAM systems are a must-have for brands. By following the above-discussed principles, brands can ensure auditing, improve stakeholder collaboration, and secure brand asset archiving.
Choosing the right DAM system could be difficult. One thing is certain. You need a cloud-based DAM system that can do much more than just store your assets.
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