As someone writing a book on online reputation, you can imagine my excitement when I read the headline of the latest e-consultancy article: “Top ten hints on managing your brand online.”
Unfortunately, either I’m just too obsessed with the topic, or e-consultancy didn’t quite get the title right, because the “ten hints” actually refer to managing “brand standards”, that is how and where your brand is used in an online environment.
Ok, so once I got over my initial disappointment, I discovered an article that is actually very useful and on a topic not often discussed. When companies create their brand, they often go to great lengths to document what colors to use in the logo and how to capitalize each word in the company name. A lot of that gets lost when you move to the web – perhaps we feel the web is less strict and so cut a few corners. Regardless of the medium, companies that value their brand should ensure that they use it consistently across all channels.
Here’s the first five tips (the remainder you’ll find at e-consultancy):
- Brand standards online are more than just fonts and colour. A website is an immersive experience of your brand, and your standards should cover everything which contributes to that experience. Online brand standards should also incorporate code standards, content presentation, usability, SEO, and legal issues such as accessibility and data protection.
- Establish governance procedures. It is important to establish responsibilities, and there needs to be a central body, which will monitor, support, and if necessary, enforce standards.
- Communicate with your web editors. Ensure you have effective mechanisms for communicating with your editors. It can also be helpful to encourage them to communicate more amongst themselves to share ideas and discuss common issues.
- Define your standards clearly. Try to avoid ambiguity when you document your standards. It is much better to give people clear rules which are easy to follow than vague principles and preferences. This way, standards compliance can be measured and quantified. Ensure your standards are defined and documented by someone who understands the web environment.
- Explain the benefits of following standards. Used effectively, your standards can also act as a coaching tool for your web editors.
Managing your own brand reputation isn’t an easy task. Do yourself a favor an at least make sure that your employees and partners are consistent in their use of your brand,