Building and maintaining brand consistency across every single marketing channel is incredibly challenging. How do you provide the best brand experience everywhere your customer is? During a recent Creative Ops Breakfast at globaledit, Vanessa Holden, Independent Consultant and former SVP, Creative Director at West Elm, and Jim Zdancewicz, Head of Creative & Content Production for eBay Enterprise, shared their insights into building a successful brand platform in today’s complicated omnichannel world.
1. Define a clear brand identity & message
Marketing 101: At the foundation of any successful company is a clear brand identity and message, attached to a compelling story. “The core of communicating any brand is being very clear on what the heart of your brand is”, says Vanessa Holden. Identify your key differentiator and what makes your brand unique and relevant in today’s competitive marketplace.
2. Let the creative follow from there
The brand message should always come first, then creative assets can follow the brand’s story. What visuals should a brand generate? For Vanessa, the key is to create “A balance of content”. First and foremost, brands should create a visual storytelling that relates directly to their core message and values. As Jim Zdancewicz reminds us: “The most important thing is to be on message and on brand, and make sure you stay true to that”. For Jim, the message dictates how you produce these assets – an iPhone to shoot a behind-the-scenes video, a drone, etc. A brand should experiment in new formats or new emerging media only once mastering the core visuals. For Vanessa Holden, that means being “super flexible and responsive in surprising ways”. Burberry is a typical example of successful brand that have been able to identify its heritage, and then boldly step forward to a very different media landscape.
3. Stay true to your brand
Be honest: Not every single channel will be relevant for your brand. Pick carefully those channels that bring your brand story to life and resonate the most with your audience. “The most successful brands are the ones that have figured out their core values, and their core channels”, explains Vanessa Holden. After selecting those core channels, make sure you optimize them constantly to be “relevant and vibrant”. Once you’ve learned the best practices, you can start propagating them to new channels. As Jim Zdancewicz advises: “Don’t go too broad too early, you risk watering down your message or losing control of your message”.
4. Know what success looks like before you start
Everyone on your creative production team should be very clear about the business objectives and calls to action: Should customers watch, share, or buy? Agreeing on the goals and then measuring the results will help you tune your message and get the best results out of your creative efforts.
5. Master your brand’s visual fluency
Whether on set or in the office, your creative production team needs to understand the brand’s message, objectives, and master the brand’s visual vocabulary. Why? Vanessa Holden explains: “while the brand is in motion, [they can] identify those great moments that are going to become parts of a bigger brand ecosystem”. On set, behind-the-scenes, literally anywhere, anyone on the creative team should be able to spot the photo, video, GIF, etc., that should be created for a channel, while reinforcing the brand’s story. “An art director mindset in a creative ops space” could make all the difference between creating just another visual and creating a compelling piece of content that successfully reaches your audience.
Watch the full recording of our breakfast on “The Impact of Omnichannel on Creative Operations”: