6 Disruptions Universal to Brands Today

Recently Kelley Grover, Senior Global Brand Manager at Deloitte, gave us an inside look at the firm’s brand practice. The professional services firm’s last rebrand took place in 2003—a print-centric, pre-iPad-and-smartphone world. So in 2016, Deloitte launched a refreshed brand identity, built for the digital age. “As our services were growing,” said Grover, “our brand needed to catch up so others would connote Deloitte with the expanding services we had.”

Deloitte’s shifting brand needs are emblematic of those experienced by organizations across the world:

1. Decentralization and the matrixed organization
Top-down command and control is a thing of the past. Absent that instant authority, brand teams need to work harder to build influence.

“We are not brand police,” said Grover. “We are brand concierges. We aren’t meant to be bottlenecks. We’re meant to empower people to use the brand creatively, but most importantly, consistently.”

2. Everyone’s a designer
Anyone who creates a PowerPoint presentation is, in fact, a designer—whether they like it or not. Even those in non-creative roles need to be able to wield creative tools and assets in a way that’s competent, imaginative—and of course, on-brand.

“We hold creative sessions for non-creatives,” said Grover. “Everyone is using our brand—be it with InDesign or PowerPoint. We’re empowering everyone, at every creativity level, to be a designer.”

3. Voice as a differentiator
Your voice is as distinct a part of your brand as your visual identity. Everyone at your organization writes, not just the people who are blogging and creating ad copy. With an ever-growing inventory of touchpoints—from product manuals to customer service scripts—your brand voice should always shine through.

4. Surge in guidelines, assets and applications
Organizations are applying their brand in more ways than ever, from videos to social media to recruitment marketing collateral to infographics. As a result, your tools and assets need to be flexible and easy-to-update, to reflect the always-evolving nature of the content you produce.

“A brand is not static—so your guidelines and repositories shouldn’t be, either,” said Grover. “With how we do business today and how our brand needs to evolve to meet business needs, static PDFs really aren’t doing it.”

5. Agility imperative
People can’t afford to wait for the next monthly brand council meeting to get the go-ahead on their work. Review and approval cycles have been compressed to reflect the real-time reality of today’s business environment. If you don’t get people what they need when they need it, they’ll move forward with what they have—and potentially damage your organization by putting forth off-brand materials.

6. Brand = Experience; Brand = Culture
The understanding of what brand fundamentally is has changed—it transcends identity and positioning and now speaks to the very essence of an organization. It’s your strategic north star and catalyst for growth. It’s the sum of your collective consumer touchpoints and what your employees live day in and day out.

“Brand is so much more than the color of your logo,” said Grover. “It’s the experience you create.”

A year and a half after the refresh, the Deloitte brand is thriving—in contrast to the 70 percent of organizations that suffer failed rebrands due to lack of engagement. So how did they do it? By instituting the new rules of brand governance—the foundational elements and best practices of best-in-class brand teams that are critical to every brand’s long-term success. To explore the new rules in-depth, check out our webinar Sustaining Brand Beyond Day Two: A New Approach to Modern Brand Governance.

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