Isn’t it frustrating when the process of creating individual print products using data merge gets...
Branding is generally seen as aimed at the outside world of businesses, it‘s about building the brand towards customers. In fact, brand building is a multifaceted endeavor that goes far beyond marketing and advertising.
The Unsung Heroes of Brand Building: How Every Department Shapes Your Brand
While these areas play a crucial role in branding, internal brand management, still underestimated by many companies, is just as important.
Just one aspect: Employees post on their social media channels about their everyday working lives. Companies must not only avoid less friendly posts, but they should also recognize the general importance of their employees as brand ambassadors. It is not without reason that many companies now use employees as corporate influencers.
In addition, with a true feeling of team spirit, employees also contribute to employee acquisition, helping businesses to position themselves in the "war for talents".
You can also see a shift in content creation – away from marketing and towards the specialized departments. For example, AI-based content creation can assist a sales team in producing white papers themselves.
In other words, departments of the company are becoming key players in branding that would hardly have been seen in this role before, including sales, HR, legal, finance, and project management.
Before delving into the brand-building roles of various departments, let's address some common pain points experienced by organizations:
- Different departments may inadvertently create content that doesn't align with the brand's visual or messaging guidelines, leading to a fragmented brand identity.
- Employees use materials that are not intended for them, they share outdated documents or content that is not sufficiently licensed.
- Lack of coordination can result in inconsistent messaging, causing confusion among stakeholders, including customers, investors, and employees.
In their new brand-building role, all departments and employees must have access to the relevant materials – text documents, images, graphics, video, audio and more.
The more difficult it is for users to access this content, the more likely they are to just go find another piece of content somewhere on a hard disk or on the internet. With this in mind, it must be ensured that they only have access to content that has been approved for them.
The necessity of this quickly becomes apparent when you consider the wide range of content produced by the various departments:
Sales teams are on the front lines, interacting directly with potential customers. The documents they create must not only provide valuable information but also reflect the brand's image and values. Consistency in branding helps build trust and credibility.
- Documents: Sales presentations, pricing sheets, FAQs, training materials, tutorials, white papers, case studies and testimonials
- Purpose: Converting leads into customers, conveying the value proposition
- Stakeholders: Prospects, customers, partners
- Applications: Microsoft 365, Asana, PIM, Adobe Express
HR documents shape the employee experience and reflect the company's commitment to its workforce. A cohesive brand identity in HR materials can help attract top talent and maintain a unified corporate culture.
- Documents: Job advertisements, employee handbooks, training materials for onboarding new employees, internal communication materials including newsletters or magazines and any kind of forms
- Purpose: Attracting and retaining talent, fostering a positive work culture
- Stakeholders: Employees, job candidates, internal teams
- Applications: Microsoft 365, Asana, Adobe Express
Legal documents may seem far removed from branding, but consistent use of branding elements in legal materials can enhance the perception of professionalism and reliability. The legal team should also have access to purchased content so that they can clarify licensing issues to avoid costly legal problems.
- Documents: Compliance documentation, intellectual property filings, training materials to educate teams on topics like ethics and compliance, corporate governance documents
- Purpose: Protecting the company’s interests, ensuring compliance
- Stakeholders: Partners, clients, regulatory bodies
- Applications: Microsoft 365, Asana, rights management
Financial documents are critical for investor relations and stakeholder trust. A well-branded financial report conveys stability and competence.
- Documents: Budgets and forecast documents, audit reports, investor relation content including reports and presentations, internal management reports and compliance documents
- Purpose: Financial transparency, building investor confidence
- Stakeholders: Investors, shareholders, auditors
- Applications: Microsoft 365, Asana
Project management documents showcase the company's ability to deliver on its promises. Brand consistency in these materials reinforces the company's reliability.
- Documents: Project charter, work breakdown structure, project plans, status reports, timelines, requirement documentation, test plans and cases, training materials
- Purpose: Efficient project execution, demonstrating competence
- Stakeholders: Team members, clients, partners
- Applications: Microsoft 365, Asana, PIM
The need for pervasive file and data access
The employees in these departments therefore need controlled access to the materials they need to create their content. The corresponding solution should
- not require constant switching between applications
- not require learning a complicated system
- allow access to a wide variety of content sources
- support a wide range of file formats
- be constantly available in the background
- improve collaboration between departments
- enable safe version control and rights management
- easy installation via just some clicks
All these aspects were guidelines for us in the development of the CI HUB Connector. We have seen how difficult it is for companies to provide their teams with transparent and secure access to the content they need. We didn't want to reinvent the wheel – we wanted to connect the existing wheels so that our customers could move forward even faster and more efficiently.
With CI HUB Connector, employees now have access to the entire digital asset ecosystem of their company within a pane available directly in their preferred applications. Currently, it connects about 60 applications, including Microsoft 365, a wide variety of digital asset management solutions, PIM and rights management applications, and file storage systems – and the range is constantly being expanded.
Enabled by CI HUB Connector‘s comprehensive search features, users can easily and quickly find the content they need. Via drag-and-drop, they can place the files in the documents they work on. They also can convert the original files on the fly into the required formats and resolutions.
At any stage of the process, they can grant colleagues controlled access to their work and finally share the created documents e.g. via SharePoint or their connected cloud storage.
As an external communications consultant and content expert for tech companies, Stefan Horst has been active in the world of marketing, publishing and print for several decades. He has worked for Adobe, Agfa, Philips, Extensis and WoodWing, among others. Currently, in addition to CI HUB, he works for Zaikio, Impressed and others.