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Clean Up Your Brand's Act
By: Sarah Jane Dunaway
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2013 is well underway and you’ve probably just finished catching up on the dozens of ways to improve your life and well-being. Now it’s time to focus on your brand.

Make your brand guidelines and identity materials accessible.

A company’s brand identity is only as strong as the employees’ willingness to uphold the brand. It is crucial that your internal marketing and messaging be a mainstay of your organization. Make sure your employees can easily find the most current versions of your company’s logos (both for web and print) your letterhead, and corporate guidance.

When they can’t locate what they need, they’ll give up and revert to old identity materials or worse, recreate something of their own! Make sure your employees have the resources they need and that their brand concerns are addressed.

Manage your internal brand usage.

Taking your brand seriously will encourage employees to do so too. Employees take pride in their work and the company they represent. Give them something to be proud of — keep your marketing communications current; even internal PowerPoint presentations should follow brand guidelines. Make sure all employees understand the brand guidelines and their rights with brand usage (some companies need to be more strict than others, depending upon the size of the business).

Clean up your identity.

A new year is the perfect time to clean up your brand. Do all your letterhead and email signatures use the correct and most updated logo and format? Small businesses are especially guilty of this. It’s difficult to justify the cost of new letterhead when a ream of [five year old] paper is sitting untouched on the shelf. 

The reality is that your brand identity and materials are an investment. Work with a designer who has paper specification or printing experience and can advise on an appropriate quantity based on your past usage. It is important to make use of what you have, but it’s more important to ensure your message is consistent.

Equally important, there’s never a time like the present to clean up the shelves that contain your letterhead and other branded items. It’s easy to put it off, but at some point people will give up looking for the most recent brochure and revert to an old one. Take the time right now to recycle them. Reprint new ones if needed.

Don’t just stop there. Check your social media networks. Are your Facebook photo album titles consistent and following a clear format? Any Pinterest boards or YouTube/Vimeo videos completely irrelevant to your brand? Do a clean sweep with Twitter and make sure you’re not being followed by any spam accounts. Double check who you follow or should be following.

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About the Author

Sarah Jane Dunaway is a brand strategist and design consultant, and the writer and creator behind the blog Clean & Proper. A former member of the paper and printing industry, Sarah Jane specializes in helping businesses of all sizes streamline marketing communications by creating compelling brand identity systems and corporate identity packages. Find her online here

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