How Do I Avoid the “Barnacle Approach?”

As corporate and marketing communication departments become leaner, many communication executives struggle to maintain their company’s brand integrity while they deal with day-to-day issues. Dogged determination helps get things done, but wouldn’t it be nice to have brand systems in place so you can focus on your company’s strategic communication needs?

ROI and Brand Guidelines

If your company is fortunate enough to have well-designed, up-to-date brand guidelines, then you know how much time those standards can save you. Instead of constantly putting out fires, you’re efficiently distributing marketing and sales collateral you’ve stockpiled, and have publish-on-demand templates ready to meet your internal customers’ quick turnaround times. And the best part is your guidelines produce ROI by ensuring that your company’s brand is consistent and undiluted.

How Do Brand Guidelines Work?

Brand guidelines are a system for explaining how your brand functions in the real world. They’re the backbone of brand managmenet, providing your colleagues in the enterprise—plus your external communication partners—with tools they need to make sure your brand remains your brand. The alternative to rigorous brand guidelines is “the barnacle approach,” where the treasure of your brand equity starts sinking under the weight of accumulated, conflicting messages and images.

As Aswath Damodaran, Professor of Finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business recently wrote, “If you have a valuable brand name don’t assume that value is going to stay intact forever. There are companies that have dissipated back into remnants… If you have a valuable brand name, hold onto it; preserve the image.”