As you read the headline, you may shake your head and shrug. Who cares about templates? Templates are so boring. Brand is all about the visual identity some may say.
And my friends, there lies the issue. Templates reinforce the brand, but they are seen as necessary evils that no one wants spend spend time on. It’s tedious work to think about business cards, word documents, proposals, stationery, and guides. It takes several conversations, meetings, countless emails, and time to coordinate and communicate the process.
Truth be told, templates are vital to educate your frontline advocates, employees.
The reality is most brand projects focus on the visual identity and leave templates to the end. And, by the end of the brand process, there is no stamina or money left to build these critical elements. This is a missed opportunity for a number of reasons:
- Consistency. The longer you wait to deliver templates, the more difficult it is to maintain consistent message and brand. Why? The larger your organization is, the more templates and versions are floating around. Just ask your sales team. They have different versions and messaging sheets saved on their laptops. Since templates are saved to personal folders or machines, it is not always clear what is current or not.
- Governance. Tied closely to consistency, multiple versions of templates make governance challenging because of version control and maintenance. Ask any creative team. If your templates are not updated, it is difficult for them and their partners to maintain the brand and govern identity.
- Messaging. Templates may not seem like a messaging vehicle but they are. The colors, pictures, layout, and tone all communicate your brand and what your organization stand for.
- Enablement. To change your employees communication of your brand, they need templates to do this. Left to their own devices and ideas, you will have multiple versions and identities that muddle your positioning.
- Money. Multiple version equals more money. It is just that simple.
If your company wants to help employees embrace the brand, then make sure to consider how templates will be deployed and used. Spend the time meeting with stakeholders across the business to find out how they use templates. It is tedious to interview everyone, but the end product will not only be visually appealing, but functional.