By Andy Hopkinson, Adstream International business development director.
Brand management’s an awful lot harder today than it was in the Mad Men era, or even five years ago.
There are many more outlets, far more real time and social activity and markets, each with more competitors than at any time in the past.
And, of course, procurement has rarely if ever had such a say in the running of a company, at a time when the world is cautiously tip-toeing out of the financially battered, testing times of just a year ago.
But that’s what makes marketing exciting. It can also mean that everyone involved in the business of marketing – from the brand to the advertising agency and the production company, the media planners and buyers, the digital guys and the CRM specialists – has a hell of a lot more of the menial to do.
At Adstream we’re all about streamlining the whole advertising process. Our unique position, is at the heart of the vital relationship between agency, client and media overseeing end-to-end technology solutions, means that we’re privy to the entire gamut of the process and given us insight in to what matters (and what works) in today’s digital world.
Here are just a few key thoughts on how and why keeping control of your marketing assets has become so important in the business of brand management:
Rethinking your Digital Asset Management
An oversight that many marketers (and agencies) make is to think of digital asset management (DAM) as merely a simple, cost-effective and efficient way to store and distribute brand assets, but DAM is so much more than that. Part of the problem is that previous solutions have been built, bought or borrowed from the bottom-up for specific tasks.
They don’t just not talk to each other, they don’t even know each other part exists! If you’re stuck with a hotch-potch of different solutions and technologies now’s the time to start again – and get connected properly.]
From brief to fulfillment
Today’s modern marketer needs more than ever a system that brings the whole process from brief to fulfillment under one roof. Because until you do, until you have one intuitive, connected platform, there is simply no way to effectively and efficiently track any of your brand assets. Once you can see and track everything in the pipeline you can start to count, report and evaluate what’s happening with your brand.
Instantly, across the world.
By tracking who is using what, how, where and when marketers can make sure their assets are not abused and thus retain the integrity of their brands. Externally, we’ve all been very busy making sure we reach out to our customers and potential consumers across the very latest of media and with the most modern of technology: it’s vital that your fulfilment technology and internal processes is keeping pace too.
Counting your assets
We’re finding the data that we are able to provide with end-to-end solutions is fast becoming invaluable. It means that clients can at a glance see how many global masters were created, how many were used and in what markets. It’s enormously helpful in terms of creating better production processes.
By and large agencies produce more material than is ever used. No surprise, perhaps, but we’re uncovering some revealing statistics when it comes to the volume of unused (and therefore wasted) work. As much as (and often more than) 25% of ads and marketing materials created are never used. Anywhere.
Rebalance central v local
In fact, it brings it back to the debate of how the brand should be controlled, how much material should be created centrally and which bits should be handled at a local level.
If too many markets are creating work that is only used across one, two or three markets whilst almost identical collateral has been created and used elsewhere then you’re wasting. Wasting time, wasting money, wasting effort – energy that could be better spent building the brand, ensuring that the message is consistent and high quality.
Evaluate: the devil is in the detail
The success or failure of a campaign is often evaluated beyond the business or brand uplift it creates. But marketers should also be looking at the greater detail. Of the 72% of material used, where did it go and how was it utilised? Of the assets unused – why weren’t they? What could be done better? How could savings be made? Did you really need to make 12 different TV commercials or could you have done with eight?
Who ran what, where and how often, why didn’t others run?
Once you have everything tracked - from brief through production to masters of ads and their childrened versions through to transmission and everything in between - you are again the master and mentor of your brand.
Put money under the microscope – for the right reasons
Money is already under the microscope. Marketers are expecting to be as certain about how well money is spent as the engineering function, or the logistics partners.
It’s bigger than ‘simply’ a procurement issue.
By having some more certainty around the processes whereby money being spent you can be much more confident about it working properly – and the more likely you are to save money as well. Clients and agencies alike will also save time, as material is out of the door a lot faster, help communication – both internally and externally, and avoid duplication.
Add all these things together and it becomes a way of controlling the process; the output of the brand. And that, I’m absolutely sure is what most global brand managers are looking for.
If you’re not controlling the process how can you be sure that brand guidelines are being supported or communicated in the right way? Because we all need to remember that all media investment that is not on brand is suboptimal.
That’s more than wasteful – at best it could damage the consistency and clarity of your brand and message, at worst it could even damage the brand itself.
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