Six Steps to a Successful Brand Management Technology Ecosystem
Branding is the most powerful tool marketers have to shepherd potential customers along their increasingly complex path to purchase. It builds trust and generates reassurance, but it has to be done consistently to work. One false move and trust can crumble, leaving your prospect at best uneasy and at worst wondering if they’re the victim of an elaborate scam.
This problem is made even more challenging by the proliferation of touchpoints and the increasing levels of personalisation marketers are looking to deliver. All this requires more content, in more variations, than ever before. And it’s why marketers are increasingly looking to brand management technology for help.
These new tools, centred around a Digital Asset Management platform (DAM), can integrate with the rest of your martech stack to deliver personalised marketing communications that are on-brand, at scale, across every touchpoint you have with your customers.
At the same time, brand management technology can increase responsiveness, improve efficiency and bring your marketing teams closer together.
As with any marketing technology, finding the right solutions isn’t easy. Different vendors are stronger in different areas, and may specialise in different verticals or different sizes of business. Even when you’ve made your choice, it needs to be tailored to your organisation and accepted by your staff to work at its full capacity.
That’s why London Research, in partnership with brand management solutions provider Bynder and brand change specialist VIM Group, has created The Ultimate Brand and Marketing Technology Guide: Six Steps to a Successful Ecosystem.
This vendor selection guide is intended to walk you through the process of optimising your existing brand tech ecosystem or, if you’re at the beginning of your brand tech journey, show you how to set one up, from business case all the way to successful implementation and management.
What are the Six Steps?
The six steps discussed in the guide are:
1. Building the Business Case
Understand the capabilities of brand management technology. Identify the benefits it can deliver in terms of increased revenue and reduced costs, and the metrics you’ll use to measure them.
2. Defining Brand and Marketing Requirements
Talk to potential users of the tech to find out the types of assets your organisation is currently using – and that it plans to use – across all its touchpoints and engagement activities. You also need to understand what information your teams use when working with your assets, and the structure that forms the basis of your asset storage.
3. Selecting the Right Vendors – Creating a Longlist and Shortlist
Your longlist should be based on desk research, recommendations from your implementation partner (if you have one), as well as suggestions from colleagues who have worked with similar technologies at previous employers and your contacts in the industry.
You should send a Request For Information (RFI) to every company on the longlist, and use their responses as the basis for shortlisting. Involving your IT department at this stage means you can eliminate a lot of vendors if you have particularly strict security demands, for example.
Assessing potential suppliers’ professional services capabilities is also highly recommended, since complex implementations can be challenging if you have limited internal resources, or if your people lack experience in this area.
4. Evaluating the Shortlisted Vendors and Making a Decision
This is where detailed discussions begin, ideally face-to-face. Topics you should cover include:
a) Search: How do the people who will be using the brand management technology prefer to search?
b) File sharing and web publishing: Will people be able to share assets and finished collateral with remote users quickly, without having to rely on third-party file- sharing services?
c) Rights management and compliance: If you use assets created by third parties, make sure your chosen solution can handle the digital rights management involved, and inform users of any rules and requirements.
d) Internationalisation and regionalisation: Multi-site and multi-language support are important features that you should consider.
e) Analytics and reporting: Integration with your CMS should allow you to see which content delivers the best results under different circumstances, and help you to improve the performance of your marketing. Analysis of workflows within your brand tech solutions itself can reveal inefficiencies and bottlenecks in your creative process.
f) Integration: How easily can you connect your brand management solution with the rest of your martech stack? Are there standard APIs or more complicated customisation requirements?
g) Development: The marketing team aren’t the only people with a vested interest in the company’s choice of brand tech solutions. Work with your CIO or CTO to choose a system that meets the needs of the developers who will deploy, maintain, upgrade and extend it.
h) Vendor roadmap: Make sure your chosen vendor(s) have a roadmap that matches the demands of your business strategy and recognises developing technologies
5. Implementing your Brand Tech Solutions Successfully
Successful implementation is as much about people management as it is about technology. Winning staff over to the new system will require open, honest communications about the reasons for the move, the benefits it should bring, and any possible repercussions it might have.
Involving the relevant people early in the selection process will create a stakeholder community, and means you’ll have advocates for the new system when it’s installed.
6. Establishing Brand Governance and Managing your Brand Tech Ecosystem
Who’s responsible for which piece of the ecosystem, in terms of technology? Who’s responsible for updating content and making sure the right version is always there? How will you manage updates and upgrades? What training will new recruits need?
This last step is crucial for the continuing high performance of your new brand management solution. In fact, it’s not really a step, it’s an ongoing process.
You can’t just install the technology and then walk away. You need to have a framework in place to manage it, and you need to stick to it, as Maarten Evertzen, Head of Digital & Technology, VIM Group, explains.
“We define an operating model for our clients, which sets out when people should meet, when certain topics should be discussed and who is tied into what type of meeting,” he says. “That way they have a cascading model for the management of the brand itself, but also for managing the technology ecosystem behind it.”
The Ultimate Brand and Marketing Technology Guide: Six Steps to a Successful Ecosystem is available for download.