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Q&A: Why the ‘path of least resistance’ is a branding nightmare (Includes interview)

When employees take the path of least resistance for creating documents, they often skip the process of ensuring their documents align with the company’s brand guidelines—whether it be the most current logo or specific formatting—leaving brand governance up to chance. Companies need to regain control of their brands by embedding these processes into the path of least resistance for employees.

Jean-Marc Chanoine, strategic account manager at Templafy, provides insight to Digital Journal readers into how companies can create tech-enabled workflows that embed the path of least resistance with company branding.

Digital Journal: How important is the ‘brand’ for businesses?

Jean-Marc Chanoine: Brand is the first impression before the first impression and is critical to business success. Brand is the value you build in the mind of the consumer over time, and it ultimately drives consumer sentiment toward your product before they even use it. Brand in many cases is a primary revenue driver; often, the only thing that differentiates a product is the brand. Thus, brand is critical.

DJ: How long does it take to shape and build-up a typical brand?

Chanoine: There is no standard time frame for building a brand. Things to take into consideration are the industry, the market, the nature of brand assets needed, the complexity of the organization and whether it is a rebrand. What is important is how long it takes to build value in the customer’s mind. In professional services, building a brand could take decades because much of the industry is based on trust. However, technology firms can build that trust a bit faster when engaging directly with consumers with a novel product. The real answer is: it depends.

DJ: Why is brand consistency important for documents?

Chanoine: Imagine you are doing business with a company and every time they send you a document, formatting is inconsistent, there is variation in the brand identity, and the font is inconsistent – could that make you question their attention to detail? Yes. Every day companies create millions of documents that are being sent externally. Its critical to assure that they are consistent. The best companies tend to be extremely consistent with their brand identity. Not being consistent sends the wrong message.

DJ: What are the concerns when documents do not meet the brand guidelines of a company?

Chanoine: When documents do not align with brand guidelines, it devalues the brand in the eyes of the customer. Companies spend a great deal of resources creating a brand, and precautions should be taken to protect that value.

DJ: What is meant by the ‘path of least resistance for employees’ when it comes to creating branded documents?

Chanoine: Employees are trying to get their work done as “efficiently” as possible. Often the last thing on their minds is whether the document they are creating is “on-brand.” In many cases, employees will find a version of the document they are creating and use it as a template for the new document – this results in documents created with off-brand content. It’s not that employees are intentionally disregarding brand guidelines, it’s that using an old document was the path of least resistance. So, in order to get employees to always follow brand guidelines, we must make following brand guidelines as easy as – if not easier than – pulling up an older version of a document. The key is to make adherence to brand guidelines the path of least resistance.

DJ: How can companies create tech-enabled workflows that embed the path of least resistance with company branding?

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Chanoine: Companies must move toward systems that automatically incorporate brand elements into the content that users are creating. If I need to create a presentation, the simplest solution is one in which all the required brand elements are automatically inserted into the presentation. Solutions like Templafy automatically apply branding to content. By having brand elements automatically generated in each new document, following brand guidelines becomes the path of least resistance.

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