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November 7, 2017

Managing Marketing Collateral Locally: Who Owns Asset Creation?

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For the world's largest distributed brands, developing a solid organizational infrastructure provides the clarity, insight and direction needed to identify and define the hierarchy and associated roles that employees should fill. Without a structure in place to specify duties and tasks, management teams risk losing valuable time, energy and momentum – as much in marketing as anywhere else.

In businesses as large and complex as the world's most successful multi-location leaders, effectively organizing around the marketing asset creation process is a critical component to their overall advertising success. While there is no universal census on who should "own" asset creation outright – local affiliates vs. national headquarters – businesses must put the appropriate systems in place to determine who should be primarily responsible under different situations.

The consequences of asset misalignment between the brand and local marketing affiliates can be catastrophic. From duplicated efforts that waste money to quality issues which damage the brand, confusion inevitably leads to frustration. But even if asset creation has been properly delegated, there are still a number of challenges that distributed brands face at the local level including standardization, compliance and consistency.

Learn how the world's top multi-location brands identify and manage asset creation and leverage the power of Local Marketing Automation to deliver exceptional marketing results.

National vs. Local: Who is Responsible?

There are a number of default resources, assets, and other marketing materials that headquarters supplies to local marketing affiliates including stationery, advertising material, social media posts, landing pages and more. Typically, these types of marketing collateral align with specific campaigns or branding initiatives. For any distributed brand, building a ready-access repository of essential marketing assets is a relatively common practice.

However, there are specific instances such as flash sales and local holidays where some local customization is required. The challenge is that national brands rarely have the time or energy to deliver on local affiliates' specific requests each time they make them. In this instance, local affiliates must adapt raw marketing material and employ some creative firepower to create the materials that they're looking for. But this can often lead to disastrous results.

Instead, headquarters must supply digital, email, and print templates to amplify local marketing success and empower local affiliates to deliver branded, consistent, and uniquely customized marketing material. It is the local marketing manager's responsibility to accurately translate those raw assets and create collateral that align with the brand's core mission, values, and persona. Here, a brand standards guide enables local marketers to deliver hyperlocal messaging while adhering to brand guidelines.

Enable local marketers to implement a successful marketing plan with our Local Marketing Playbook. Unlock the templates, campaigns, and tools needed to drive traffic and boost marketing results. Download The Local Marketing Playbook

Letting Local Affiliates Own Asset Creation, Mostly

There are a number of different ways that brands can let local marketing affiliates can "own" asset creation. However, there is one form of ownership that is most effective to the overall brand: delegation. In this instance, the local marketer owns the idea and entrusts a third party to deliver the final product.

For example, Marriott franchisees are responsible for conducting their own annual photoshoots. To do this, they must hire a certified and approved photographer. With close coordination under the general manager, the photographer captures imagery onsite and licenses those photographs to the brand for use in marketing materials. Then associates and marketing managers at the hotel can use those assets in marketing materials that they create themselves. In a different way, Polaris provides the raw design materials, like photos, to their dealerships and allows them to work with third-party design studios to decide how best to use those assets.

"No matter how good you are at something, there is always someone better," argues Forbes' J Maureen Henderson. "Sometimes, it doesn't make financial sense to pay for services of someone who is only slightly better at a given task than you (almost anyone can change their own flat tire for example), but other times, your lack of a specialized piece of knowledge or a certification can make a world of difference."

The concern arises when local affiliates lack the skills and expertise needed to take the project into their own hands. At the local level, effective "ownership" begins with defining responsibility and delegating. Often, partnership with industry professionals is an ideal solution for delivering powerful marketing results. Furthermore, enterprise marketers must supply these local marketers with the required templates to deliver branded and compliant marketing material.

Standardization and Compliance: What's at Stake?

Of course, when you give local affiliates control over the marketing content they create, you're always likely to end up with some executions that just don't look right. This isn't just a problem for the brand, either. For local marketing affiliates, there is nothing more frustrating than taking ownership to produce an image or design, and then being told that the new asset can't be used because it doesn't meet established marketing standards.

The best way to empower local marketing affiliates (or the third-party professionals they work with) to deliver standardized and compliant marketing material is through uniquely curated print, email, and digital marketing templates.

By adhering to established brand standards, franchisees are aligning themselves with the values of the brand. From the customer's perspective, brand values are uniquely tied to the customer experience. Customers expect the brand to look and feel the same from one location to the next. The world's most successful multi-location brands leverage the power of standardization to reinforce those brand promises throughout all print and digital marketing material and across all franchised locations.

What's a stake? Brands that fail to deliver a standardized and consistent customer experience risk losing valuable brand equity. When executing local marketing, print and digital marketing templates empower local marketing affiliates to reinforce and build that brand equity while simultaneously complying with the brand's visual guidelines.

Simplify Local Asset Creation with Local Marketing Automation

With Local Marketing Automation (LMA) software, asset creation and ownership have never been easier. Adopting the latest technologies for automation in multi-location marketing management is a critical component for success. The world's leading distributed brands are leveraging the power of LMA to support local brand managers. With convenient creation, storage, localization and reporting tools, LMA empowers local marketing affiliates with the flexibility to create customized marketing materials that are still always on-brand.

Ready to amplify local marketing success and empower. Unlock the full potential of your local marketing affiliates with The Local Marketing Playbook: The Templates, Campaigns and Tools That Help Multi-Location Brands Become Local Marketing Champions. Download The Local Marketing Playbook

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