Consistency is among the most important aspects of a brand’s interaction with its customers. Given our human nature that is often possessive and doesn’t like unexpected derailments from what we commonly consider “normal,” customers dislike branded content being presented to the outside of the brand’s common framework.
It is a brand’s responsibility, and it is also in its best interests, to deliver relevant content to its customers and audience, that features its distinctive elements. However, businesses often delegate content creation and collaborate with agencies to have their visual and written material produced for them. This is why brand portals are essential to any company that wants to stay dedicated to its style, which is already ingrained in the customers’ subconscious.
Similarly, brand portals are very helpful to agencies that are delegated with content creation, due to they have access to the essence of the company’s identity throughout the years. This ensures a much smoother collaboration and both parties go through less back-and-forth during the content production cycles.
So, what is a brand portal?
To put it very simply — a brand portal is a resource center that comprises all of the brand-related information and stylistic standards that a company or corporation associated with. These are “places” where people working for the company or creating content for it can find all the necessary information, in order to ensure that the collateral they produce is in sync with the brand’s image. Furthermore, a brand portal is very helpful at any moment of a company’s growth, from its inception to its expansion.
Do you need one?
Despite the fact that a brand portal is a valuable asset to many businesses, it isn’t an essential requirement for all companies. Below, you’ll find a set of 10 questions that will help you establish whether your company with benefit from creating a brand hub:
- Is brand consistency an essential component of my brand?
- Would brand recognition improve the company’s sales and overall revenue?
- Would the creative departments’ efficiency improve by using a centralized portal?
- Will a portal ensure that all visual and text content will be approved at a quicker rate and with greater accuracy?
- Are private company files stored in multiple non-secure locations?
- Does the company seem to use excessive and unmotivated amounts of printed materials?
- Does designing landing pages and writing copy for them take much longer than it should?
- Is brand inconsistency an issue across franchises?
- Do social media management and marketing teams find it complicated to synchronize their activity?
- Do longer design and copy delivery times negatively affect the company?
If you’ve answered “yes” to at least five of the questions above, chances are your company should look into investing in a brand portal. However, portals come in many shapes and forms and they serve different goals.
How does a brand calibrate its needs?
The previous section is designed to help a business establish whether it needs a brand portal in the first place. Now, we’re going to look into a set of questions that will help a company define the essential features of its own brand portal. This will help determine the brand hub’s interface, architecture, and components.
Here are a few questions that will help companies calibrate their needs in regards to its portal:
- Does having a standard workflow across departments and branches seem essential?
- Does the company adhere to an omnichannel distribution?
- Does the brand’s image depend on the content it creates?
- Does the brand’s content need to adhere to particular formats and templates?
- Does the company need an internal communication platform within the portal?
- Does the company collect and distribute information about their best practices, conversions, and engagement?
These are just a few questions that might help a business outline some of the essential characteristics of their portal.
Red flags that suggest you need a brand portal
We firmly believe that the vast majority of brands should invest time and effort into unifying and standardizing their brand-related content and conceptual guidelines. However, below you’ll find five alarming indications that your business should look into setting up a portal ASAP:
Your collateral isn’t entirely coherent with your brand
At the beginning of the article, we’ve briefly touched on the importance of visual and textual consistency and continuity. Customers invest themselves into a brand they associate with both monetarily and emotionally. This implies that they want to enjoy a coherent brand experience whatever content they’re interacting with, whether it’s an ad or a case study.
To identify whether your brand may be dealing with a continuity issue, try collecting all the collateral that the business has created throughout the last year or so. After visually inspecting the content, ask yourself the following questions
- Can one recognize that all this collateral comes from the same brand?
- Does your mental representation of your brand match with the customer’s experience of it?
MailChimp is an excellent example of brand continuity. Whatever they produce has the same tonality and emotional charge. That is due to the fact that the company has invested a considerable amount of time into outlining their brand guidelines in a very intelligible and detailed manner. To exemplify, here’s their writing style guide and their design guidelines.
If you identified that the company’s content, both visual and textual are not congenial or coherent, you should definitely consider opting for an asset library. This will allow for both employees and external contractors to respect the stylistic guidelines of the brand.
Outdated brand-specific content
Maintaining brand continuity is hard, especially if the company is decentralized when it comes to content creation, advertisement management, and brand direction. It can be quite challenging to ensure that all of the recent updates have been implemented throughout all the facets of the organization’s activity.
Here are a few crucial questions that need to be answered:
- Are your sales and customer support departments sharing accurate data with your existing and potential customers?
- Is there any third-party content published on the web that features inaccurate data, outdated specs, or obsolete design?
If you identify with the issues above, a brand portal will solve them. Releasing official updates that relate to design, stylistic guidelines, official figures, and any other crucial information will ensure that whenever your employees, external contractors, or the press execute projects concerning your brand, there will be continuity throughout them.
Delayed content release and slow localization
Portals are incredibly handy when it comes to a broad spectrum of a product release or update issues. If you’re running an international product, you’ve most certainly struggled with synchronizing information and product features throughout all the regions your business operates in. A centralized portal alleviates your business from this class of issues.
Furthermore, if your brand attempts to localize its interface or ad campaign in a particular market, a brand hub will provide the professionals from a localization service such as The Word Point with all the necessary information on the tone, positioning, and other crucial variables related to text and style.
Public vs. internal
It’s important to mention that brand portals don’t necessarily have to be entirely public. They can serve as a useful tool for data and guideline distribution within a company.
Brand hubs can contain dedicated information for particular sections of the company. For instance, your bookkeeping department doesn’t need access to stylistic guidelines or tone in ad copies. A portal will provide them with the strictly necessary information while limiting their exposure to the information they actually require.
Furthermore, the vast majority of portals allow admins to control and oversee what files are distributed and to what departments. This measure makes sure that the right information will be distributed to the right parties.
In this section, we’ll look into a few great examples of brand portals that serve a broad spectrum of functions, from simple brand guidelines to more complex features.
Atlassian is a famous and well-established software company that has taken an interesting approach toward acquainting the reader with their style — they started off by telling them about their personality. They portray themselves as bold, optimistic, and practical with a wink. Their portal gives a detailed description of their marketing approach, voice and tone, product overview., and the philosophy of their brand.,
Shopify’s design system aims to standardize the “Shopify experience” across the platforms and helps all their merchants to align with their brand image. The portal provides a detailed initiation into Shopify’s approach to content, design, meaningful product experiences, along with a broad spectrum of adjacent information.
Vantage is a Singapore-based branding agency that has done a fantastic job at creating a very detailed guide to accelerating brand success and passing on their knowledge and standards on brand identity, visual identity systems, the tone of voice, retail branding, and host of other brand-specific domains.
One of the most famous American universities has also invested time into brand continuity and consistency that would “reflect the excellence of this great university.” The portal contains detailed descriptions of their standards in the fields of typography, logo placement, use of the name, secondary graphic, and many other essential facets of brand design.
Google’s identity is very meticulously crafted, and most of their interfaces are so minimalist that there’s nothing but their identity there. Take the Google search for instance — a logo, and a query bar, that’s pretty much it. Google’s portal features a broad spectrum of guidelines that range from text and design to logo spacing and placement. In addition, the tech giant has provided its audience with a “library” that contains studies, practical guides, and other helpful information.
The Holy Grail of efficient collaboration — Trello, has also created a portal that provides a very thorough initiation into the brand philosophy and the peculiarities of their style. On their portal, you’ll find general brand guidelines, logos and social icons, and lots of components like buttons, forms, labels, along with the central brand principles.
Brand portals have become an essential asset to a brand’s identity. The current economic ecosystem favors businesses with a strong personality and a distinct character. Therefore, many companies have started investing significant amounts of resources and time into ensuring that their brand will be homogeneously represented on various channels and overseas.
It’s safe to say that brand portals provide companies with a broad spectrum of benefits, from quicker delivery on their collateral whether it’s audio, video, or text. This, in turn, will significantly facilitate a company’s omnichannel distribution.
Despite the fact that portals are a relatively recent introduction to branding as such, they’ve immediately become an essential component of a healthy brand strategy.
Gregory is passionate about researching new technologies in both mobile, web, and WordPress. Also, works on writing service review websites OnlineWritersRating.com. Gregory in love with stories and facts, so Gregory always tries to get the best of both worlds.
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