Organisations can invest substantial time and effort into carefully creating their brand. Honing every detail of their customer-facing image to craft a very particular perception of the business in the minds of their customers. And with good reason – a strong brand has the power to foster trust and build loyalty, which is critical to long-term success. A recent study by Accenture, analysing more than 7,000 companies worldwide, found that trust is as important in the competitiveness of a company as growth and profitability.
As you make your way through the digital era, your brand is vital in helping your business stand out in a crowded and fiercely competitive marketplace. A multitude of digital channels means that we now have more opportunities to meet customers where they are, but it also adds to the difficulty of managing a consistent brand experience.
Organisational silos and fragmented systems only add to the challenge. These obstacles significantly increase the risk of inconsistent communications which confuse customers and contribute to a mediocre experience, damaging their perception of your brand.
So, in the face of growing complexity, how do you ensure a consistent brand experience? The answer is through your CCM system. In this article, we’ll look at why brand consistency is important to your business, what might be going wrong, and show you how CCM is your secret weapon to maximise the value of your brand.
The importance of brand consistency
Essentially, your brand is your company as it exists in the minds of your customers. It is formed by elements like your logo, layout and style, personality, and messaging and is cultivated over time by every interaction your customer has with your organisation.
Developing a strong brand gives your company a competitive edge, and adding consistency multiplies the benefits, contributing to a more positive customer experience.
According to McKinsey, “consistent messaging can help carry a consumer through their entire journey without confusing or contradicting their experience, which leads to higher conversion rates.” In addition, Forbes suggests that presenting your brand consistently across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%.
Where does it go wrong?
Many organisations are still using manual CCM processes, such as Word-based correspondence printed and posted manually or attached to emails, which in turn may be hand-crafted.
Others are tied to legacy systems – often more than one – which aren’t up to the task of modern CCM requirements. And then there are some that use a more sophisticated system but not across the whole organisation, introducing silos and fragmented processes.
In these situations, brand consistency is incredibly challenging to manage. Version control of templates and brand assets becomes problematic. Messages originating from a variety of individuals, departments, and channels quickly become out of sync, presenting different branding, styles, and voice. And ultimately, customer experience suffers.
How to make CCM your secret weapon
Integrating a single, organisation-wide CCM platform into your business will allow you to overcome these common issues and regain control over the consistency of your brand experience. To get the most value out of it:
Adopt a holistic approach
An organisation-wide system is key to tackling fragmented or manual processes. Broad, system-wide changes can be made efficiently and with less risk, all while preserving consistency of the content’s look and feel.
Omnichannel templates allow anyone in the organisation to create compelling, relevant communications that are on-brand and match the voice of the company, every time. A good CCM system will also provide easy to adapt templates which allow for variability of design in terms of colour, structure, layout, imagery, and fonts.
Allow creativity to flourish
In addition to being laborious and inefficient, manual or fragmented processes can also be a handbrake on your content and marketing ideas. Using a CCM platform that is responsive and flexible means that all options can be easily explored and tested. This allows teams to focus on being creative rather than worrying about consistency, which can be automated.
Look at the whole customer journey
Although your primary focus may be transactional or service communications, you need to ensure that communications are unified across every touchpoint throughout the entire customer journey. Your marketing department may be turning out perfectly polished, branded advertising, but if your service emails look and feel completely different, customer experience will be impacted.
Start by completing a customer journey map to identify all touchpoints along the customer journey and every communication associated with them. Make sure that each one is uniform in terms of overall look and feel, voice, personality, and tone.
Using an organisation-wide CCM platform lets you keep a centralised, up-to-date repository of customisable templates plus all brand assets such as logos, copy, fonts, design elements, images, and videos as well as brand guidelines on their use. This effectively breaks down silos and enables anyone in the organisation to build communications that are consistent with the overall brand, across the whole customer journey.
Equally, you may want to consider the collateral that goes along with your correspondence, for example, forms, brochures, and contracts. All of these must also align with your brand and should be just as easy to change.
Creating these types of artefacts as templates allows for consistent use of logos, fonts, and artwork. This means that artefacts can be generated on the fly alongside the ‘parent’ correspondence, which is especially valuable for digital correspondence.
Looking to the future
As the growing number of digital channels give us more opportunities to engage with our customers, managing the consistency of those interactions becomes more challenging.
Companies with well-designed CCM systems can take advantage of their capabilities to support a consistent brand experience, but for the companies that don’t yet have the technology, now is the time to consider investing.
In addition to increasing consistency and enhancing customer experience, a comprehensive CCM system will also allow you to incorporate personalisation into your communications strategy, create more efficient workflows, and access more data. When taken together, the benefits can add up to a significant increase in competitive edge.