The rebranding is expected to be a massive enterprise-wide undertaking. But the new logos and images that come with the rebrand often don’t trickle down to employees, said Greg Sheppard, CMO of Templafy.
“They can send swag to their employees, and everybody gets a new sweatshirt or something,” Sheppard told Protocol. “But their employees are still using this outdated content for decks, their models, their images and all that.”
Greg ShepardPhoto: Templafy
Templafy found in a recent study that nearly 90% of US employees have used Google to search for their company logo when creating content. And not only do employees lack the internal infrastructure to create content, but American workers are often involved in a lengthy content approval process that delays their ability to do other work. Once this content was approved, the majority of respondents said they still found errors and errors.
Sheppard said he’s surprised that companies lack efficient processes for creating content, especially because Templafy has found that most companies want to rebrand anyway. He said he conducted this research to understand the scale of the problem and help businesses understand how the lack of an effective content creation process affects them.
In an interview, Sheppard told Protocol why companies struggle to keep their employees up to date with the rebranding process, why they seek to rebrand in the first place, and Templafy’s role in that business.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Why is there a lack of process for content creation?
This content and how we define content is broad. And we view content as an enterprise-wide issue. Some companies have solved it at the departmental level or in localized processes for content creation. But most organizations don’t solve it at the corporate management level. They don’t have the solutions in place that tie in all the latest content, brand-approved stuff. They continue to put content where the employee needs to go to get it instead of meeting the employee where they work. And so that creates a lot of challenges.
We’re often asked a similar question, and we typically see four challenges in this content creation process: The first is wasted time. The second concerns outdated information. And then content review is the third: too much time spent reviewing. So, outdated information happens, despite the fact that 62% of managers – that’s kind of crazy to me – say reviewing and controlling content is the most important part of their job. And in the US, it crosses my mind that an average of 10 employees are involved in content review cycles. Is this really how we should spend our time and have our manual work primarily, on content? And then the fourth element is brand integrity. Employees use outdated templates by default. It infringes on a trademark.
Who is responsible for facilitating this process?
This may fall on a number of people in our organization; what we typically see is that it will either fall inside a marketing organization or an IT organization. And they realized that this problem exists. And they’re going to seize it and solve it by putting in place the right infrastructure that connects that great content to where people work. And then everyone gets what they want. You no longer see employees using a template containing the 2019 compliance language at the bottom. Or the old logo. So if you meet them where they work in Office or G Suite or in Salesforce, they will be happy to use the right content.
What does an effective content creation process look like?
You create all kinds of new content when you switch brands, and it ultimately has to reach employees, on the right, and be used. And what we often see is companies rebranding to focus on all external content, they have their website or media assets, and then they create all that great content, then they don’t not put the same energy into enabling their own employees. They can send swag to their employees, and everyone gets a new sweatshirt or something. But their employees are still using this outdated content for their decks, models, images and all that. And then brand teams become your brand font. And it’s a big mess.
When companies work with Templafy to enable their brand changes, they improve the entire content creation process by default. So all of this amazing new branded content is pushed to employees inside the tools that are already working. So when an employee opens Microsoft Office or Google Workspace to create a deck or to craft a sales proposal, the right content is there, ready, for them to access as easily as they could access the latest deck. Or they go into Salesforce and they build the proposal, their report uses the correct branding. So the companies that do it well do it because it’s part of those workflows.
What tools and resources would you recommend companies use if they are looking to rebrand?
Once they have decided to rebrand, I think I would encourage companies to think about how they are going to enable their employees to become brand ambassadors for this rebrand. Very often companies will work with their agency, and they will create new ads and new media, and they will update the website because they can control it themselves. But I definitely encourage customers and talk to them all the time about how you enable your employees to become those ambassadors. How do you ensure that your sales team, every time they speak to a customer, is using the new brand? How do you make sure the QBR your client team is running with your best client isn’t the old brand image, even if it’s six months later? And that comes down to meeting employees where they are. This is what Templafy does.
Why might a company be looking to rebrand in the first place?
We typically see the top three for companies to rebrand: growth, change, and repositioning. So growth could be about funding rounds and the next IPO. The global expansion and our research shows that not only are a large majority of American companies planning to rebrand in the next five years, but they also feel confident and ready to tackle it. Thus, 54% of our panelists agree that it will be beneficial for their organization to help it achieve its objectives. But brand activation is a mountain that many companies are unable to climb because they don’t have that infrastructure or process in place for content creation. And I said before that content is everything and everywhere. And 69% of our respondents agree that rolling out content will be the most challenging aspect of a rebrand.
Change is the second thing. It could be a new CEO or something as simple as that. New products that change a company’s market positioning or even M&A activity.
The last is repositioning. This could include changes or expansion in markets, investing in a corporate identity program, things like that.
Did it surprise you that so many respondents are looking to switch brands?
Not really. You see cycles. And when we looked, over the next five years, that seems to be about right.
So every five years there’s a cycle of companies looking to rebrand?
I actually don’t think it’s as simple as doing it every five years, I think companies often change their branding and tweak things as they go. There’s often this bigger brand change that happens in a five- to seven-year cycle. But during these years there are always adjustments and small adjustments.
On the employee side, how does a lack of effective content creation processes affect their content in a company?
Our customers love Templafy because it makes their lives easier. They have tools to simplify and speed up the document creation process, and then they also use the best performing content creation process.
The challenge that Templafy is solving increases in this new digital HQ world. This has exacerbated the challenge that has always existed. And now you have employees working all over the world, whether they’re at their desks, at home, or working from the beach. More than ever, they need the right tools.