Open communications, brand portal technology, and partner suppliers can ease transition and ongoing efforts

Now that you’ve created new or refreshed your brand standards, you must implement, enforce, and reinforce those standards for successful branding. Managing the consistency of a brand with several touchpoints can be challenging within a single property, and the challenge can be exponentially compounded within flags and collections of properties that are owned, franchised, or managed – or a combination of the three.

We are commonly asked to share insights on managing brands to keep the look and feel consistent across a variety of substrates, products, and properties. Here are five best practices for driving brand standards compliance:

1. Make It Top of Mind

Turnover is inevitable and drives the need for brand standards to be stored in intuitive and accessible locations. Both new and seasoned associates benefit from periodic “top of mind” email reminders that conveniently include supporting documents. Storing the documents on shared drives, intranets, and/or brand communication platforms — as well as integrating brand standards into the training curriculum for associate onboarding — facilitate utilization through accessibility.

2. Keep It Simple

There is no substitute for a one-stop-shop experience when it comes to custom print and branded guest touchpoints. Guesswork is eliminated when properties know exactly where to go for all products carrying their brand, and fragmented purchasing is avoided. Partner suppliers supporting comprehensive programs are best positioned to advocate for your brand as they are well-versed on the wide-range of program items, defined brand standards, and how to navigate your organization when questions arise. An attune supplier can help surface potential deviations from your standards; a second set of eyes vetting requests for new products or pieces of collateral can provide a meaningful check-and-balance worked into an existing process.

3. Maintain Flexibility

When properties fear rejection of an idea or special request or the approval process is ambiguous, colleagues are less likely to seek corporate input/approval. Instead, many one-off needs are pursued independently — locally or online. Encouraging properties to surface special requests through supportive and timely engagement makes colleagues more apt to tap corporate resources. Although intuitive, gaining a deeper understanding of circumstances driving the one-off request — whether for a new item or edit to existing templated creative — provides the added advantages of scoping out property-driven best practices or unaddressed needs that may be extendable to the property collective.

4. Leverage Tools

Users embrace resources that are tailored to their functional areas of expertise and applications. Encourage your creative services group to consider functional areas of the hotel and real-time utilization scenarios when drafting documents and designing templates.

Advanced online ordering tools allow more advanced customization than ever before. Customization within a controlled environment means properties have the freedom to tailor items without risk of deviating from the graphical and messaging standards intended by the brand. Property-driven customizations may include utilization of property-specific or destination inspired photography, amenities, rates, and menu options. Set parameters you can live with, so you can leave the rest to the capable hands of on-site colleagues. Having this print-on-demand option allows the corporate brand to leverage scale when it comes to purchasing and quantity breaks while still serving the individual needs of their properties. Real time customization + avoidance of hourly agency rates = Win Win!

5. Review the Numbers

Procurement platforms and partner suppliers are two ready resources for supplying and assessing participation data. Identifying gaps early allows program sponsors to prompt property engagement. In many cases, something as simple as management turnover can lead to discontinued usage of required items, and such scenarios can quickly be overcome through informative, fact-based conversations.
In our experience, properties have a strong desire to participate coupled with a high respect for their brand. When those charged with managing daily operations and procurement functions have ready access to materials and resources, collaboration results in branded guest touchpoints that align consistency across properties and unique property variables in a scalable infrastructure.