Why it's time to let go of your brand
If you've ever worked at a larger company, or brand you may have heard the term 'brand police'. That's when companies are so worried about people misusing or misrepresenting their brand that they tightly police its usage, applying strict controls about where, how and when it can be used and only allowing certain people access to it. This behaviour had it's place in a broadcast, analogue world and was very useful to maintain consistency and uphold a brand's reputation.
Note the past tense. We live in a digital world. We cannot control, only curate. And the role of a brand is no longer just to be a static badge or symbol, but a trusted guide through a confusing and complex variety of choices. We now expect a two way relationship with the brands we choose. We want the right to reply and to claim them as our own if we so wish.
It's time to let go of our brands. To allow people to customise, curate, co-create and even complain about us if they wish. They will regardless of how much we try and control it. So let's stop being police and start being useful so that people engage with us, rather than go around us.
Here are 3 ways to let go of your brand:
- Make it public
I love it when brands have their guidelines online. It makes it so much easier to understand where they're coming from and be on message. My favourite example of this is the Government Digital Principles which were made public and still are used as best practice by LOADS of companies and organisations, not just the government.
- Make it easy.
No one wants to wade through a 99 page document (even if it's a PDF) to learn about your brand. Make guidelines short visual, simple and show, not tell people how to bring your brand to life.
- Make it free.
People love free stuff. People love sharing free stuff. Work out how you can add real value to your audience then create content they can freely access without paying for it. It's a brilliant way to demonstrate your brand in practice and build fans and advocates.
However this is not about letting go of your copyright or intellectual property. Plagiarism is not ok so make sure that your content is always credited to you and copyright anything bespoke or unique.
And this doesn't mean forgetting about planning or strategy. You may not be able to control it, but you can lead. Especially in your own channels. So make sure you are clear on your vision and use your brand framework to equip people to advocate and share on your behalf.
As Elsa says 'Let it go'. You'll be surprised by the unexpected partnerships you form and how much it amplifies your brand's reach and visibility if you do.
Need help letting go of your brand? We can help, so get in touch.