Most financial institutions are undergoing a wave of digital transformation projects whose aim is to create operational efficiencies to reduce cost and risk. This is the case now more than ever with larger numbers of people working from home. For Marketing, this presents a challenge to maintain brand consistency and quality across all media to protect brand reputation and to ensure messaging and claims are accurate.
Ironically, organizations spend millions of dollars creating and developing their brand, yet they don’t have a system for protecting this investment. A brand portal with core compliance capabilities such as workflow approvals, creative templates, brand education and an automated disclaimer engine makes it possible to manage this important aspect of financial services marketing in a systematic and measurable way.
The best way to think about the challenge of brand compliance within a complex financial services organization is to visualize an iceberg. The ‘tip’ is the big brand creative that is most visible to the C-suite, but the vast majority of the campaign experience happens below the waterline. While it’s relatively easy to ensure above-the-line activity gets approved through the proper channels and adheres to claim and brand standards, smaller components of the campaign often aren’t put through the same rigorous processes. Without an automated system in place, below-the-line activity such as emails, mortgage letters, social media, or sponsorships, poor branding and rogue advertising claims can slip through the cracks.
For example, a bank or credit union may have an expertly produced print campaign promoting customer service and a new loyalty program. However, within a regional branch, consumers are exposed to unapproved and off-brand content, created by new designers who don’t understand the guidelines. Aside from the negative brand impact, if the content includes a false claim or incorporates images or video where talent rights aren’t considered, the off-brand advertising could also attract hefty fines and adverse social media attention — which is equally bad.
5 Steps to Better Brand Compliance
To streamline the creative briefing, brand compliance and content risk scoring processes, leading financial services marketers such as NAB, ANZ and Suncorp use IntelligenceBank to keep their teams on brand and stay compliant. Here’s how they do it.
1. Digital asset management
By centralizing all of your approved branded assets within a digital asset management (DAM) program, your stakeholders can have access to the latest creative content including assets such as photos, images, videos, talent usage rights and review dates. Not only will your team automatically receive alerts when new content is available, but with version control, you can ensure the correct versions are being used.
Centralizing approved creative content makes it easy for your team and agency partners to request approval prior to using creative. By publishing digital content directly from the DAM, assets can be replaced or removed across all online locations in one step.
2. Online brand guidelines
The online brand hub celebrates best practices and showcases technical and strategic aspects of your brand, enabling users with access to quickly download all of your approved core assets. This searchable, engaging, and user-friendly approach allows teams to quickly access approved assets, logos, color schemes, fonts, and campaign materials with ease. This functionality enables brand managers to not only share their brand guidelines with internal departments, but they also can seamlessly share approved assets with their external partners, agencies, and contractors.
A core benefit is a detailed audit trail that provides instant oversight as to who on your team understands your brand. In addition, our clients take comfort in the fact that they can dynamically showcase their brand guidelines by accessing controlled interactive webpages instead of relying on flat PDF documents.
3. Creative briefs and projects
Enable your team to follow a step-by-step process when developing creative. Allow team members to brief in projects to internal teams or external agencies, automatically routing through different approvals and sign-offs, dependent on media budget and/or risk profile of the content. When people are aligned with the key messages and the brief upfront, all work maintains consistency and there are fewer issues down the road.
In addition, you can generate an automatic risk score of the content depending on messaging or price points. Therefore risky content never goes unchecked and you can instantly see which members of your team have followed the process.
4. Disclaimer engine
Make marketing compliance everyone’s job. A disclaimer engine allows your team to self serve and see which disclaimers need to go on which ads, alleviating bottlenecks with Legal. It is a logic-based system used to determine which disclaimer needs to be included. The engine combines information about product type, media or other factors and generates the correct disclaimer based on the information given. Therefore, when creative is sent to Legal for approval, signing off is all that’s required.
5. Creative templates
One of the most practical key features of an online brand portal is its ability to store and use dynamic creative templates. This feature ensures your local marketing stays on brand and that all creative looks great, always — without typos, clip art and/or misinformation. Not only do you save time and agency fees, you enable your retail or local sales teams to customize messaging within strict brand guidelines.
Templates are created in InDesign and loaded into the platform. Brand managers decide which parts of the template are editable to users such as images, copy and color while locking down all other aspects to keep the brand and core messaging intact. The templates are primarily used for reproducing banner ads, posters, and other promotional materials. It is up to the brand managers to decide whether or not the central team needs to approve the final outputs.
Marketing compliance works best when it’s part of the day-to-day marketing operations, versus being a diversion in the process. This is where marketing operations technology comes in, to give people an easy way to follow specific, financial services regulatory processes.