The answer is usually nobody. And it’s a marketer’s nightmare: seeing your brand in the wild and not knowing how it got there. Not necessarily the social media stuff, because anyone and everyone can post what loosely qualifies as “branded content.” We’re talking about spotting what clearly took some effort to get into the real world, and somehow escaped your radar until now.
Depending on the industry, and where and how these renegade materials are distributed, it can mean anything from an inconsistent message to a serious compliance risk. We know it’s uncommon, but it happens more often than we want, and it even affects those with the best brand control radar in place.
We’ve noticed the following themes in these situations, which can help you prevent being caught off guard and off-brand in the future:
- It’s usually in crunch-time: a last-minute sponsorship banner, or materials for a pitch meeting. Somebody wasn’t able to plan ahead and needs it now.
- It usually happens outside of the brand or marketing team. This might be obvious, but it’s a reminder to focus your attention outside your team.
- Whoever did it either wasn’t aware or wasn’t equipped to do it correctly.
- There isn’t a formal review or approval process in place, or the process isn’t documented and shared outside of the marketing team.
Communication is an obvious solution to address these potential gaps. Simply making people aware of the potential negative impact of an off-brand piece in a high visibility placement can make them think twice before going rogue. An online brand center that provides self-serve resources and guidance 24/7, as well as an online approval process, is an even better solution. Beyond just telling you who approved it and when, it saves the project so people can reference and repurpose it for the next marketing fire drill. It’s easier and far less expensive to set up than trying to undo whatever damage was done by the renegade, off-brand piece.