Rebranding should be a massive, companywide undertaking. But the new logos and images that come with rebranding often don’t trickle down to employees, Templafy CMO Greg Sheppard said.
“They might send swag to their employees, and everyone gets a new sweatshirt or something,” Sheppard told Protocol. “But their employees are still using that outdated content for the decks, their templates, imagery and all that stuff.”
Greg SheppardPhoto: Templafy
Templafy found in a recent study that nearly 90% of U.S. employees have used Google to look up their company’s logo when creating content. And not only do employees lack the internal infrastructure to create content, but U.S. workers are often involved in a lengthy content approval process that delays their ability to get other work done. Once that content has been approved, the majority of respondents said they find mistakes and errors anyway.
Sheppard said he’s surprised that enterprises lack efficient processes for content creation, especially because Templafy found that most companies want to rebrand anyway. He said it conducted this research to understand the scale of the problem and help enterprises understand how lacking an efficient content creation process impacts them.
In an interview, Sheppard talked with Protocol about why companies struggle to keep employees in the loop on the rebranding process, why they look to rebrand in the first place and Templafy’s role in that undertaking.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Why is there a lack of process for content creation?
This content and the way we define content is broad. And we see content as an enterprisewide issue. Some companies have solved it on a departmental level or localized processes for content creation. But most organizations are not solving it at an enterprise leadership level. They don't have the solutions in place that connect all of the latest content, the brand-approved stuff. They keep putting the content where the employee has to go to get it instead of meeting the employee where they're working. And so this creates lots of challenges.
We get asked a similar question a lot, and we typically see four challenges in this content creation process: The first one is wasted time. The second one is outdated information. And then reviewing content is the third one: too much time spent reviewing. So outdated information happens, despite the fact that 62% of managers — this is kind of insane to me — say that reviewing and policing content is the most important part of their job. And in the U.S., it boggles my mind that an average of 10 employees are involved in review cycles of content. Is this really how we should be spending our time and have our manual labor essentially, on content? And then the fourth piece of it is around brand integrity. Employees are using outdated templates by default. It undermines a brand.
Who has the responsibility of smoothing out this process?
It can fall on a number of people in our organization; what we typically see is it will fall either inside of a marketing organization or in an IT organization. And they've realized this problem exists. And they're going to grab hold and solve it by implementing the right infrastructure that connects that great content to where employees are working. And then everyone gets what they want. You don't see employees using a template that has the 2019 compliance language on the bottom anymore. Or the old logo. So if you meet them where they work inside of Office or G Suite or in Salesforce, then they're happy to use the right content.
What does an efficient content creation process look like?
You're creating all sorts of new content when you're rebranding, and that ultimately has to get down to the employees, right, and get utilized. And what we often see is that companies will undertake a rebrand to focus on all the external content, they have their website or media assets, and then they'll create all this great content, then they don't put that same energy into enabling their own employees. They might send swag to their employees, and everyone gets a new sweatshirt or something. But their employees are still using that outdated content for their decks, their templates, imagery and all that stuff. And then the brand teams become your brand police. And it's a big mess.
When companies work with Templafy to activate their rebrands, they're improving the whole content creation process by default. So all that new, amazing brand content is fed to employees inside of the tools that are already working. So when an employee opens Microsoft Office or Google Workspace to create a deck or to put together a sales proposal, the right content is sitting there ready, so they can access it as easily as they could access the last deck. Or they're going into Salesforce and they're putting together the proposal, their report there is using the right branding. So the companies that are doing it well are doing it because it sits inside of those workflows.
What tools and resources would you recommend companies use if they're looking to rebrand?
Once they've decided to rebrand, I think I would encourage companies to think about how they're going to enable their employees to become brand ambassadors for that rebrand. Very often companies are going to work with their agency, and they're going to create new advertising and media, and they're going to update the website because they can control that themselves. But I definitely encourage and speak to customers all the time about how you enable your employees to become those ambassadors. How do you make sure that your sales team, every time they're speaking to a customer, they’re using the new brand? How do you ensure that the QBR that your customer team is running with your top customer isn't the old branding, even though it's six months later? And that goes back to meeting the employees where they are. That's what Templafy does.
Why might a company look to rebrand in the first place?
We typically see three top ones for companies to rebrand: growth, change and reposition. So, growth could pertain to funding rounds and upcoming IPO. The overall expansion and our research show that not only are a large majority of U.S. enterprises considering the rebrand in the next five years, they also feel confident and ready to tackle it. So 54% of our panelists agree that it will be beneficial to their organization to help it achieve its goals. But brand activation is a mountain that many enterprises are unable to climb, because they don't have that infrastructure or the process in place for content creation. And I said before that content is everything and everywhere. And 69% of our respondents agree that the content rollout 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 are shifting a company's market positioning or even M&A activity.
The last one is repositioning. That could include change or expanding across markets, investing in a corporate identity program, things like that.
Did it surprise you that so many respondents were looking to rebrand?
Not really. You see cycles. And when we looked at, 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 every five years you do it, I think companies are actually often changing their branding and tweaking things as they go. There's often this bigger rebrand that happens in a five- to seven-year cycle. But then over the course of those years, there's always tweaks happening, and there's small adjustments happening.
From the employee front, how does a lack of efficient content creation processes affect whether they’re content at a company?
Our customers love Templafy because it makes their life easier. They have tools to simplify and speed up the document creation process, then they also are utilizing the best-performing content creation process.
The challenge that Templafy is solving is increasing in this new digital HQ world. It's exacerbated the challenge that's always existed. And now you've got employees that are all over the world working, whether they're at their offices, whether they’re at home or they're working from the beach. Much more than ever before, they need the right tools.