When’s the last time you took a good look at your branded marketing content? Is every piece cohesive? Are you reusing elements where appropriate, or re-inventing the look and feel each time? Does the content reflect your organization? Does it speak to your target audience? These questions are critical to evaluating the effectiveness of your content. If you’re unsure of the answers, or identifying inconsistencies along the way, it may be time for a more in-depth look at how your content rolls up to your marketing strategy.
Here are 5 more critical questions to ask yourself when evaluating the impact of your visual content.
1. How can I make sure all my visual content is consistent?
Whether on your website, social media, email campaigns, or any other touchpoint, the content you create and deliver to your audience says a lot about your organization. Beyond the literal messaging — which should also reflect consistency through brand voice and tone, by the way! — the appearance of your content also reflects your brand and tells your audience how detail-oriented you are. So when each communication shows variances in your brand, it tells your audience that you don’t put much effort into projecting a consistent image.
Begin with a brand book or other means of documenting your brand guidelines. Consider going beyond primary and secondary colors, and beyond typefaces. How does your brand visualize data? What types of iconography do you use? And how about illustrations? Take it even a step further by creating a visual workbench to ensure that no matter who is creating future content, whether on your team or through your creative content agency partner, everyone will be drawing from the same pool of frequently used imagery.
2. Does all of my content marketing need to be branded?
The short answer? Yes, all of your content will need to be a reflection of your marketing strategy and the brand you’ve established, so it should follow brand guidelines. This helps with brand recognition. In this way, every time your audience sees a piece of your branded content, before ever reading a word they will already know that this marketing content comes from your organization. That’s because the visual identity you’ve established is now synonymous with your company. However, the full answer is a bit more nuanced.
Let’s jump to the next question for scenarios in which you have content that needs to be branded, but that doesn’t quite roll up to your full brand.
3. What if I have an initiative, service, or product that doesn’t seem to match the visual tone of my brand?
You’re launching a new offering or a targeted marketing campaign. For this initiative, you have unique goals, KPIs, and perhaps a modified or even entirely new target audience. The foundation is strong, but when it comes to crafting the visual content using your full brand, something feels off.
When a campaign has goals or audiences that vary from the overall definitions for your brand, it may be appropriate to explore a visual language. A visual language contains the same information as brand guidelines, but it’s customized for a unique product, service, or other type of distinct campaign. It often contains recognizable elements of your original brand, but customizes some of those choices. This may be the introduction of unique colors, a different illustration style, new elements like photography, or anything else. A visual language allows your unique campaign to shine, while still tying back to the strength of your full brand.
4. If my marketing strategy shifts, should I refresh my brand?
Recognizing and adapting to change is a hallmark of a strong brand. Embracing change is even a core value of the Killer team. For your organization, this means that if an evolving marketplace, an overhaul of service offerings, or a new target audience emerges, you have a choice to make. Rather than keeping your head down and hoping the world will adapt to your brand, a successful organization will instead analyze, respond, and adapt its brand to the new world in front of it.
A brand refresh should never be an accident or a result of personal choice. It should also stick to informed insights and research as the source of its reasoning and its output. Why? This result centers your goals and target audience at the heart of the refresh, ensuring that the considerable work put in results in a brand that truly resonates with the current and future state of your organization and industry.
5. Do I need to stick to branding for my internal communications, too?
Yes! Branding is typically seen as an outward reflection of your business, but it is just as much for your employees and internal stakeholders as it is for your customers. Internally, a strong brand can create a sense of pride in the workplace and build a community among its employees. Plus, with internal brand alignment, gone are the days of the mismatched budget meeting slide decks and questionably designed internal training tools.
When the internal comms of your brand match the expectations and output of your core customers, your employees feel not only united around the cause, but appreciative. Why? Putting as much care into your internal comms as you do to your branded content marketing shows that what your employees think of your brand and organization matters to you. In fact, it also shows that your employees matter to you! So take the time to appreciate them through careful planning and design of your internal communications.
Got more questions?
Undoubtedly, many more questions about branded internal and marketing content strategy are on your mind. So join our Strategic Content Summit, check out our upcoming webinars, and download our ebooks!
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