We frequently work on projects involving logos and graphics with people not in the marketing department within their organization. But guess what? If you’re using the logos and graphics, you’re doing a marketing function.
Many organizations, including all the colleges and universities we work with, have a set of brand guidelines and standards, usually set forth by the marketing department, or developed in conjunction with an outside marketing agency.
Here are a few examples:
When you have a vision for how you’d like to use your graphics and it conflicts with the overall brand guidelines it can be frustrating and discouraging, and it can be tempting to just ask for forgiveness rather than permission.
Here are a few reasons why brand standards are important (spoiler alert: It’s not as simple as, “We spent a lot of time and money developing the brand standards!”):
A tremendous amount of research and analysis typically goes into establishing the foundations for brand standards. This often starts with determining the characteristics of the ideal target market for the brand, assessing the organization’s unique offering in the marketplace, and identifying the best strategies for the organization to reach its audience.
Next, as actual logos and graphics are being designed and created, a variety of other factors come into play:
This is all a mix of art and science, and marketing professionals are trained and educated in this area. If you’re not in a traditional marketing role but working on a project using your organization’s brand assets, use your marketing department as a resource to help unleash your creativity and get your team’s message across, while also remaining within the scope of the overall brand. Marketing’s role is not just to be the “Brand Police”--they play a valuable role in helping the organization achieve its strategic goals most effectively.
If you are in the marketing department, encourage other teams to come to you with questions when using the organization’s brand assets. Take the time to explain why certain brand standards are in place and how your team came up with certain usage guidelines. Foster a collaborative environment across departments so that together you can multiply your creativity and leverage the marketing work you’re doing in conjunction with other initiatives.
After all, every way in which your organization is seen in the marketplace, interacts with the public, and even communicates internally, is part of the overall BRAND. (See our post on what goes into a brand.)
Marketing is everywhere throughout an organization--not just the marketing department. But the marketing department can be a strategic partner supporting everyone else’s initiatives to maximize success.