Who you gonna call? A brand guardian
To ensure a brand is always at the top of its game – looking and sounding as best as it can – it is essential to enlist someone who is dedicated to protecting its tone of voice and creative aesthetic
Think of Nike’s memorable ‘just do it’ tagline, McDonald’s distinctive red-and-yellow logo, or Google’s playful version of the Catull typeface. What do they all have in common? They are instantly recognisable. The best global marketing campaigns communicate the brand they represent, and this is even more important when international markets require messages to be translated into different languages.
The person ensuring every tagline, logo and font is used correctly – and that every message is conveyed in the right tone and using the right words – is the brand guardian. Here’s how they can help overcome common global marketing challenges and enable customer-facing communications to shine.
- They are a walking brand bible
What a brand guardian doesn’t know about a brand isn’t worth knowing, and what they do know makes them one of the most valuable people to work on an international marketing campaign. They have the ability to oversee and lead everyone who is involved in a campaign, and their sole focus is to ensure that every piece of work stays within the parameters of the brand.
They decipher brand guidelines to create clear and concise instructions for creatives and know how important it is to adhere to these guidelines at all time. It’s too big a responsibility to neglect, after all, having one element used incorrectly can be a serious issue and, if not rectified early, can be repeated and result in future formats being created incorrectly.
In addition, as it is an information-holding role, brand guardians must be accessible and open to working with all colleagues across the account to ensure the workflow doesn’t encounter any delays. We like to think of them as a human hotline that can quickly and correctly answer and assist with any brand queries someone might have.
- They celebrate consistency
And that means consistency in terms of tone of voice and creative aesthetic, but also in terms of processes. Upholding file naming conventions, ensuring everyone sticks to chosen channels of internal communication, always delivering copy to local markets for transcreation and translation in the same format – the list goes on and on.
That’s why brand guardians have eagle eyes. They have an excellent knack for honing in on both the big picture and the small detail – and are able to spot the subtlest of inconsistencies. This skill is especially essential when turnaround times are short, an agency has a fast turnaround of staff, or internal teams and freelancers are working on several marketing campaigns simultaneously that could cause them to lose sight of a specific brand’s style.
Retaining campaign ownership from start to finish, a brand guardian is there until the end – liaising with print and digital teams throughout the production process and spot-checking artwork and hard-copy proofs before a campaign goes live.
With consistency comes stability, which is something that everyone working on the campaign can appreciate as it means timelines and budgets are more realistically met. This builds trust between agency and client, as the client knows that their brand is in safe hands.
- They wear a lot of hats – from artist to wordsmith
A good brand guardian has an excellent knowledge of typography and good design skills. They also need to completely understand the production journey and be able to implement processes that are geared to maintaining consistency.
Because they can see a marketing campaign from the point of view of many people – including copywriters, editors, illustrators, photographers, graphic designers and translators – they are able to predict any obstacles and act as a bridge between the client and agency by offering advice on how to overcome potential hurdles and explaining creative approaches. Essentially, a good brand guardian will interrogate all creative associated with a brand – asking question and finding solutions wherever they can.
You’ve heard about being on brand – a brand guardian is the brand and it’s something that everyone involved in a global marketing campaign should aspire to. Aim to get people up to speed on a brand’s look and feel whenever you can – being conversant in their guidelines will make everyone’s job easier and ultimately produce better work.