The building of a Brand Center – Part 2: Avoid the IT transformation problem

If you haven’t already, please check out Part 1 of this series: How to get a Brand Center approved.

As the digital evolution of customer experience continues to gain momentum, businesses are struggling to determine who should own the customer experience. ITA claims it’s a company-wide challenge that brings different departments together (in theory). The open dilemma of “who owns it” ownership is often a major roadblock for brand center initiatives because of IT decisions.

Conundrums don’t need conquering

A conundrum is defined as a confusing and difficult problem or question. We believe that our expertise is finding a way to build a brand center through essentialism and avoiding conundrums. What is the minimum we can do to make something work? Our checklist of things to include in your brand center includes:

  1. User audits: A qualitative or quantitative assessment of what is working and what is not for the internal and external users of the brand.
  2. Information hierarchy: Given the bottlenecks in the journey, what is the content needed to release the problem and create an experience that creates action by users?
  3. Business case: Develop a financial case for the investment required and the return in financial terms that reach the CFO and CEO objectives.

Learn more: Calculating the ROI on a Brand Center

  1. Brand guidelines: Define the ways in which the brand is used across all touchpoints for agencies, employees, and customers.
  2. Content compliance: Ensure the content in the system is compliant with logos, licensing rights, brand phrases, legal disclaimers, templates, and fonts.
  3. Training and learning: Onboard producers of brand content who understand the brand in a dynamic way that ensures all behavior is current with guidelines.

Checklists need checking

Brand is about integrating ideas to create a cohesive whole. IT solutions are not. The ideas in IT are driven by agile deployments that deliver minimally viable products (MVPs) that allow for learning and improvements. Most brand managers do not have experience building products, so a new set of skills might be of value in getting your brand center started.

Let’s look at the checklist and see the difference between a brand approach and an agile software approach:

The 3 C’s to success

A brand center is as much about your behavior as it is about what the center does. To get something done, the first step is to focus on a solution rather than the conundrum.  As you navigate the process, three ideas may help.  Of course, you do all of these already but we have a few nuances to add:

  1. Collaboration: It’s about more time on discovery. It’s not a discovery meeting, it’s a discovery phase. Measure twice, cut once. Collaboration is not more meetings, it’s staging the ones that matter most. It also means bringing in your vendor as early as possible. Let them see the sausage being made, it’s likely they have seen some of it before.
  2. Creativity: Think in terms of the purpose, not just wide open. Use other departments to help socialize their success on something similar. Use out of category stories to make the case of dissonance – this is where we are, and they are where we could be. Embrace opposing views – look at their point of view as a human problem to solve. What information do they need to move forward?
  3. Communication: Learn the vocabulary of your colleagues. Ask them to detail their process. Help them find keys to success. Accept what you don’t know and be ok with that. Seek out and be open to feedback. Be okay with testing and learning. The goal is to find actionable feedback that is both a conversation on shared meaning and instruction.

Learn more: Why brand is your best recession-proof investment

We have a community that wants to help and learn from your experience. If you want to hear how others are becoming digitally enabled, listen to my new podcast, coming soon!

If you are ready to build a brand center without taking on the IT conundrum, please let me know at gsilverman@monigle.com.