Audit Corporate Identity to Keep Branding Consistent

Audit Corporate Identity to Keep Branding ConsistentMost new companies start with shiny new logos and a clear corporate identity that is consistent throughout all print and graphics. (That’s the goal anyway.)

As companies grow, they often lose control of that standard corporate image. It takes discipline to keep consistency while opening new locations, adding more employees, switching creative vendors and constantly creating new marketing campaign materials and sales tools and literature.

After a few years, branding can easily be represented by different color shades, inconsistent fonts and variations of paper weight, logo size and image quality.

If you’re in this position, don’t beat yourself up! It’s a natural time to conduct a company-wide corporate identity audit and get back on track.  If you’re a new company, do yourself a favor and install the creative quality management procedures outlined at the end of this article.

Audit Corporate Identity

As you conduct your audit, identify and evaluate each item that represents your company brand. Consider whether the item is present (do you even have it?), consistent with your brand (does it match colors, font, and quality?) and worth keeping (like paper letterhead for some companies).

  • Letterhead. Take a look at both printed and electronic versions. Are they consistent? Check your paper weight, texture and type. Is everyone using the company font(s)? Create an electronic master letterhead template in Word with set fonts and styles.
  • Business cards. Do you use the same design throughout the company? It’s easy for “rogue” versions to pop up along the way. Are you using the same print styles and card weight?
  • Fax cover sheets. Fax yourself a copy of your cover sheet to ensure it is legible and consistent with your other brand images.
  • Email templates. Ensure the fonts, sizes and colors match your other branding.
  • Email signatures. This is often overlooked. Company-wide consistency with email signatures creates branding unity. Don’t let employees create their own.
  • Website. Fonts and colors look different online. Does the logo on your website match your print logo?
  • Envelopes, invoices and statements. Double check all envelope sizes and styles and the pieces inside. The inside and outside should match.
  • Mailing labels. If you use labels for shipping, they should match everything inside.
  • Memos and internal communiqué. Be consistent with internal documents. It sends the message to your team that brand consistency is a priority.
  • Promotional items, banners, etc. Take inventory of everything with a logo or brand image printed on it. If it’s not accurate, fix it or forget about it.

After you’ve reviewed–and repaired–your logo, business cards and images, put a few quality management steps in place to ensure consistency and quality moving forward.

1. Create a “logo cop.” If no one is responsible for it, anyone may adopt it. Add “branding/logo quality control” to someone’s job description. Require that she approve anything that contains the company logo. Yes, someone will dub her the “logo cop,” but it will save you hassle later.

2. Create a style guide. Have your logo cop create a style guide explaining which images can be used where and in what variations. Include EXACT design descriptions, and include all color formulas for print and screen (HEX, RGB and Pantone).

3. Consider using a marketing digital asset management service. Big companies can save tens of thousands (or hundreds!) and ensure consistent quality with a web-based solution like the One System by Ad Giants.

You probably won’t save hundreds of thousands, but your consistent image will leave a better impression with the market, and you should save over the long haul.

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