As a national brand leader overseeing marketing and customer-relationship-building efforts for a business with multiple locations — across the region, the country or the world — one of the biggest challenges is ensuring local marketing leaders are able to personalize campaigns to their individual audiences without jeopardizing the integrity of the brand.
Research from Ocean Tomo finds that brand value is worth about 17 percent of business value, meaning that protecting that value is critical to keep customers engaged and loyal. And that’s especially true today, when customers have more choice than ever before, no matter what they want to purchase. For example, Mavenlink’s 2019 State of the Services Economy survey reports that 70 percent of professional services executives saw increased competition in the last 12 months, while 85 percent noted that client expectations are increasing. So, it stands to reason that, to stay ahead in this crowded marketplace, brand leaders have to ensure their marketing initiatives stand out from the crowd, providing real value to clients and potential clients and showcasing the best of the brand at every touchpoint.
But companies with multiple locations have to manage sales reps and marketing leaders who are in charge of promoting their brand locally. With so many cooks in the kitchen, how can national marketing leaders ensure the message and customer experience stay consistent from location to location?
Multi-Location Brand Integrity Boils Down to Brand Control
Every location is an extension of the same brand, but with individual leaders at the helm, it’s common to come up against varying perspectives about local marketing. Unfortunately, these differing opinions don’t always lead to marketing campaigns that meet national standards or buoy the brand’s power.
Sometimes, the struggle for control isn’t about local marketers’ differences in opinions but about national brand leaders’ inability to oversee every detail of every local marketing campaign. After all, there are only so many hours in a day, and it’s not unreasonable for a local marketer to go ahead and print new brochures without approval if he’s in a hurry and knows the national team is busy. That’s fine if the local marketer has access to the latest design and messaging and adheres to personalization guidelines and brand standards. But if he pulls last year’s brochure and prints a thousand copies of last year’s promotions, with an old, low-res logo and mismatched fonts…well, that starts to dilute that brand value and undo the work you’ve put in to build a recognizable, respected and, most importantly, trusted brand for prospects and customers.
When you get down to it, there are five real obstacles to brand control that most national marketing leaders are facing:
- Decentralized Asset Management: Do you know which versions of the brand assets local marketers are using? Are they actually using the new materials you sent to everyone, or did those get buried somewhere on their hard drive and never seen again?
- Lack of Visibility: When you, the national brand leader, don’t know what each local marketer is accessing, creating and ordering, it’s impossible to ensure their campaigns are meeting brand standards. When something goes wrong, you won’t know until it’s too late to stop it.
- Lack of Approval: Connected with visibility is approval — not just seeing but actually reviewing assets local marketers create and personalize, and giving them your stamp of approval before they go out into the world. That’s the only way to be truly confident the brand value is protected.
- Disconnected Print and Fulfillment:Creating and approving assets isn’t the only point of control for national marketers. Do you know who your local leaders are using for printing and fulfillment? Are they using approved vendors or trying to save a buck by going with a lower-quality printer (or worse, printing from their own in-office printers). Even if the design standards are perfectly met, a low-quality printed product can have a huge negative impact on brand value.
- Lack of Inventory and Expense Tracking: Whether you’re missing opportunities due to inventory shortage or wasting money overprinting, throwing out unused materials and storing excess stock, lack of visibility into inventory and expenses may lead to costly holes and redundancies in local marketing efforts.
So, How Can Local Marketers Take Back Control?
At first glance, overcoming all these challenges may sound like a recipe for overloading national marketers’ plates with tedious micromanagement tasks. But with the right systems in place, that doesn’t have to be the case at all.
The key is putting systems in place to centralize and automate as much local marketing support — and national oversight — as possible. Start by centralizing assets and materials on a single system so nobody has to rely on digging up the latest email attachment. Instead, local marketers can simply log in and grab the most up-to-date collateral at a moment’s notice. Use that same system to rein in rogue collateral design by providing branded campaign templates they can use to create personalized local campaigns (and submit them for easy approval) without stepping outside of brand guidelines.
And, to control fulfillment processes and print quality, allow local leadership to order approved materials on demand, placing orders from trusted vendors and fulfillment partners with just a few clicks in the centralized system. This ensures potential customers in every location see the same, high-quality collateral, while national leaders can have quick visibility into order quantities, budget and inventory.
As national brand leaders know, branding consistency and quality are critical for building and maintaining relationships with new and existing clients. By taking back control of local marketing efforts through streamlined processes and centralized systems, national brand leaders can rest assured their brand value is protected while empowering local marketers to create and implement quality campaigns efficiently and autonomously.
To learn more about how national brand leaders can empower effective local marketing, we invite you to browse our in-depth e-book. And when you’re ready to take action to regain control and protect brand integrity, contact us today to learn how OneTouchPoint can help.