What’s Your Story?

In today’s fast-paced marketplace, brand competition has become a professional sport. Companies continually fine-tune their engines to race across the proverbial finish line. And while the brand is the vehicle, marketing is a primary driver that determines if you’re a winner, mediocre or dead last. So how do you keep your most valuable asset revving, yet avoid severely damaging it? Let’s start by defining brand and then consider how to nurture and protect it.

As we know, brand is not just a product or service: it’s your collective story, your reputation, your promise to your customer. Jonah Sachs, brand champion and author of  Winning the Story Wars, stated that: “Brand is a story unfolding across all customer touchpoints.”  That is certainly true. Your brand is dynamic—continually growing or shrinking, inspiring or disappointing, influencing or disillusioning. It’s an ongoing tale, with a strong or weak storyline and always needs the right audience.

Gabby Young, director of marketing for Mighty Auto Parts franchise system and an Inkbench client, recently described brand in an interview: “Brand is the taste that’s left in the mouth of the person who was first introduced to you…and brand is what keeps you coming back.” So, brand has an emotional component, too. It lingers, and it can remain sweet or sour in the mouth of the person you meet. Brand is also the determining factor that keeps the customer coming back, makes them indifferent or repels them.

Also, Paul Rand, American art director and graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs for IBM, UPS, Morningstar and ABC stated: “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” Which reinforces that marketing (including creative and design) is a critical component, the driver of your brand vehicle, that positively or negatively impacts your brand.

These ambassadors emphasize that your brand is an ongoing, emotion-based story. The goal then is to tell your story to the right audience, keep it engaging and be sure it’s well-crafted and consistent.

Brands that are well-nurtured thrive and their brand worth is proof. Consider this: the Starbucks brand is valued at  $11.5 billion, Coca-Cola at $84 billion and Apple, one of the world’s leading brands, is estimated at $323 billion. And, like we mentioned in a previous blog, the Santa brand is worth a staggering $1.6 trillion! So, even though a brand is not tangible, it can be very powerful and wealthy.

Now, a good question to ask is, are you maximizing your brand’s equity?

There are three important hacks for nurturing and protecting your brand: 

  1. Manage brand assets responsibly. A regional director of operations of a large company recently admitted he has 5000 brand assets on his hard drive! Why? So he can respond to ongoing requests from franchisees. Think about that. So, this operations director has to stop his important work to respond to marketing requests and lose his momentum and productivity each day. A DAM is a necessary tool to ensure valuable brand assets are conveniently stored, accessed and shared properly from one central, cloud-based location. 
  2. Provide easy customization of brand assets. When franchisees and remote teams are handed down marketing campaigns from the home office, they should be customized for the local market. If not, the franchisee/remote teams cannot build a rapport with their community and they’re likely going rogue to produce their own versions that include local images, location address, and offers. A cloud-based Design Canvas with templating is key to customizing the brand assets that are stored within the integrated DAM. 
  3. Review and approve brand assets. With all of the stakeholders of a brand constantly uploading, posting, and publishing your assets, it is important to oversee workflows and make easy approvals on brand fonts, colors and images, to ensure brand compliance. The best way to achieve this is with an all-in-one brand management platform to track marketing projects and ensure brand guidelines are being met.  

Inkbench is a fully integrated Brand Management Platform that was built and patented with the franchise system and remote teams in mind. Our founder, Steve Goodmanunderstood the marketing gap between the home office and franchisees or field-based teams when it comes to managing and customizing assets. So, let’s take a closer look at the specific pain points—and our solution 

Empower your home office to store the brand assets, and let everyone customize their own social posts, emails headers, blog graphics, flyers, menus and more.  

Here are just a few of the additional features of our platform:

  • Brand Templates to easily customize marketing materials 
  • Storage of any asset in our Brand Library, from jpgs to gifs to videos
  • Customized search and retrieval with our advanced meta-tagging system
  • Graphic reporting and analytics to track what images are being used most/least, who is using them, etc.
  • Easy auto re-formatting, such as a Facebook post to Instagram to a flyer 

To help determine the health of your brand, take the Brand IQ to calculate your score. Then, you can choose the best course of action to nurture and protect your most valuable asset, your brand, and avoid damaging it. Then, be sure to keep your brand (story) compelling, directed at the right audience and always consistent. That should propel you across the finish line as a winner.



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Author: Mary DeBonis
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