May 27, 2015

Improving brand management by eliminating departmental silos

ix Coffee cupIn order to enhance our clients’ brand management efforts, I actively seek out and listen to smart people (smarter than me) with big jobs in the advertising/branding space. A few years ago, I attended an event hosted by ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder, Colorado. Alex Bogusky spent an hour sharing his advertising insights and successes with 20 of us. After the talk, I asked him the best ways to increase reach and brand exposure for his clients. He was holding a 20 oz. coffee cup from Burger King, CP+A’s client at the time, with a brand message printed on the coffee cup sleeve. He said, “I think it’s smart to reach your target audience in different ways like this sleeve. It’s an opportunity to interact with your targets in creative ways.”

It’s hard to argue with that comment. When you look at top brands, you see great examples of horizontal brand management. Top brands are good at leveraging opportunities to gain exposure by enlisting cooperation from their entire enterprise and all their sales channels. They use a brand management process that works horizontally across corporate silos to launch new brand messages and feature these messages on a variety of customer touchpoints, like coffee cups.

In the cases where brand messages are lacking on signage, uniforms, vehicles, kiosks, and other touchpoints, the problem often lies in poor horizontal brand management processes. Silos are problematic when departments, division, or regions see brand management campaigns as a threat to their daily operations rather than a way to improve the bottom line. A user-friendly process, incorporating data provided by employees in these silos, breaks down barriers and improves brand management efforts.

As with other types of big data, brand management needs the ability to review and analyze brand touchpoint information throughout the entire organization. We advocate aggregating data about all signage, uniforms, vehicle signage, retails signage, print, forms, and other brand touchpoints into a central database. We recently launched a new brand management software platform called ix Touchpoint to do that.

The new ix Touchpoint system has heat map capabilities, showing brand marketers where branded assets are located around the country. The system can drill down to the individual touchpoint level, showing photos of actual signage at a retail location or service vehicles in the field. ix Touchpoint allows brand management to see the status of brand touchpoints in the database and add brand messages to touchpoints in a methodical, targeted way.

Don’t let corporate silos hurt your brand management efforts. A corporate sports team would never wear blank white t-shirts when branded ones were available, so why let other touchpoints go blank?