“The brand has to do so many different things, from support to activism, but it needs to always feel like CALM,” said Johanna Drewe, Creative Director and Partner at Studio Output.
Responsible for the mental health charity’s new brand refresh, Output was facing a classic creative conundrum: how to appeal to multiple audiences - in this case, anybody who’s struggling with their mental health - while still feeling consistent across multiple touchpoints.
No easy feat.
In order to make it work, the team revisited the brand’s speech bubble logo and brought it up-to-date with an eye-catching palette - crucial in times of a crisis. Extending the brand’s visual language so that it works across all channels, the designers managed to refresh the brand’s image without losing any of its heritage.
But the truth is: if you’re not a creative agency, you don’t always have the tools or technical skills available when tackling a branding project. And with various internal stakeholders invested - not to mention your brand’s salience at stake - there’s a lot on the line to get it right.
In fact, according to a 2017 study by intellectual capital firm Ocean Tomo, a staggering 84% of the value of S&P 500 companies was found in intangible assets; one-quarter of that value being the companies’ brands.
And getting the “intangible” locked down is not only tricky; it can take months of work.
Even for the experts.
“As technology continues to multiply opportunities for people to experience your brand, it’s more important than ever to tell your story consistently and responsively across hundreds of touch points. This requires a lot of careful planning, but if your brand may represent 20% to 25% of your company’s value, isn’t it worth the time to do it right?” asks David Feldman in ‘Why Branding Takes So Long (And Why It's Worth The Wait)’ for Forbes.
Never miss an update from us.
We're all about helping to make your workday more inspiring and productive.
Well, whether you’re the brand’s graphical guardian or its chief-of-consistent-comms, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how DAM systems can streamline your creative branding, helping you find the intangible a little faster.
Discover how DAM:
- Works with the tools that keep your creativity flowing
- Rationalises ideas and brings together feedback
- Rolls out consistent, creative branding across all channels
- Implement into your teams and workflows
Works with the tools that keep your creativity flowing
As a designer in the midst of a creative branding project, it’s likely you’ll be juggling more than a few files when thrashing out your ideas. And when you’re sketching logo concepts in Illustrator, mocking them up in “real life” scenarios using Photoshop - all whilst sending various versions to colleagues for feedback - it’s easy for things to get muddled.
Well, a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system is designed to do just what it says; manage the admin so you can stay in the zone.
Dash, our DAM solution for SMEs, is integrated with Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office to make this process a little easier. Using the handy CI HUB plugin, you can download, edit and re-upload all your working files within Adobe or Microsoft. The integration with Dash is seamless and while you’re ideating you can:
- browse your documents and images on Dash from within your Adobe/Microsoft application
- drag-and-drop images straight into your document
- upload your edited document back into Dash
- link images from Dash to your InDesign file
But once you’re done, chances are you’re still going to have a lot of working files in the mix. What’s more, it’s likely that your logo iterations are going to look pretty similar with only minor variations separating them.
Essentially, it’s a gruelling game of spot the difference to the untrained eye.
Unfortunately, in 2021, it’s not as easy as calling a colleague over to sit beside you and go through each one individually; we need to be able to collaborate from wherever we’re working.
This is where a DAM truly streamlines that creative branding process.
Rationalising ideas and bringing together feedback - wherever they are
It’s no exaggeration to say: the way we collaborate has radically changed.
It’s had to.
In fact, Upwork estimates that 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028. But when it comes to projects like creative branding, are we really set up to do this as well when working separately?
Hmmm, it’s debatable.
You could argue that “designing by committee” leads to diluted and disappointing results, anyway. But you are going to have to gather feedback from stakeholders at some stage - it’s inevitable.
We’ve waxed lyrical before about how DAM systems can improve creative workflows to keep brands moving - but it’s true.
Once a designer has finished creating concepts, they can upload them into a DAM for approval. This saves time emailing zips or uploading to shared workspaces like Slack, which can often feel cumbersome and clunky.
Instead, your brand manager, creative director or whoever is QAing the work can compare all the files at once, quickly identifying what’s working and what isn’t. Importantly, they can approve or disapprove each asset in real-time, add any comments and let the system message the designer automatically.
This means that wherever it is you’re working, you’ll immediately be on the same page.
But the creative branding buck doesn’t stop with designers and guardians; it’s the responsibility of all marketers in the business to make it work, too.
Roll out consistent, creative branding across all channels
Think of DAMs as permission-protected gateways to the good stuff; it’s their job to ensure that only the right creative branding gets out into the world.
As we mentioned above, a solid DAM solution will have approval workflows to stop the wrong versions of assets from getting through. Not only that, it’ll have duplicate detection just in case anything does slip through the cracks.
Hey, it happens to the best of us.
But getting the correct branding on the system is only part of the job; if it’s communicated online in the wrong format, all of that hard work was for nothing.
Well, DAMs also make it quick and easy to optimise your assets so that they’re good to go.
Once a designer’s uploaded them into the system and they’ve been approved by the brand guardian, content and social marketers with the right permissions can crop and download preset sizes; the latter will always be up-to-date with the latest social media and blog recommendations.
There should also be options to help with web and email image formatting - so everyone in the marketing and IT teams are covered, too.
Unfortunately, DAMs can’t make the ideation process any easier - that struggle will always be real. But they can help remove the other distractions, allowing your team to focus on the job at hand.
And even if your branding does have to do multiple things, DAMs ensure the process around it is reassuringly singular.
So that’s one less thing to worry about, at least.
So, how can you implement DAM into your teams and workflows?
If you're ready to streamline your creative process, look no further than one of our free demos or trials. 😎 You can also read all about how our DAM platforms, Asset Bank and Dash have helped some fantastic organisations in our case study section.