We believe there is a great deal of value in getting an outside perspective during the development of branding and marketing strategy. However, when we have finished our job, the onus of brand stewardship ends up in the hands of internal marketing departments or procurement-strained creative vendors. What happens next is the gruesome mangling of the language and visuals that were once so well-crafted and on-point. All in the name of fast and cheap.
Now, before I go any further, I’d like to say that I’m not knocking internal teams, other external vendors or procurement (although there is plenty of ammo for this last one). The problem with the transition of any creative campaign is one of interpretation and direction. Simply, the same people are not directing how the work progresses and results reflect that. Brands quickly dissolve in the frenzy and oftentimes wash away before they even reach the the audience.
Is there any hope? Can strategy and design successfully be applied to all of the countless emails, sales slicks, trade show displays and brochures by another set of hands? Of course...if you have the right strategy firm up front.
At Atomicdust, we believe the most important part of a brand is the story it has to tell. And a critical part of our branding process is developing creative. Visuals are as much a part of a brand’s story as the words used to tell it. We produce creative around key vehicles like websites, emails, print collateral, video, etc. to illustrate how the brand will work across all channels relevant to the organization. These visuals serve as a roadmap, guiding the development of all future executions. While they don’t guarantee other design teams will color inside the lines, they do represent a style guide that can be easily referenced even in the busiest of times.
If you are in the process of reevaluating your company’s brand strategy, make sure that the agency you engage is capable of giving you the tools needed to launch and sustain your brand. Key creative executions are not only critical to crafting a holistic brand story, but they are the only real hope you have for making sure that story reaches your audience as intended.
Jesse McGowan is Account Director at Atomicdust and works with clients to develop marketing strategy.