Outsourced marketing…is it the right solution for your business? Here at Charisma Ink, we’re passionate about helping business owners build and protect their brands and brand assets. That’s why one of the first things we do when engaging with a new client is to address one of the most grievous errors small business owners tend to make when they outsource all or part of their marketing: Giving the keys to the store away. Literally.
If you only take one thing away from this blog, ever…make it this tip: By all means outsource your marketing or have people in-house assist you, but you, as a business owner, need to retain control of how your business is being portrayed and how your vision is being articulated internally and externally. In addition, from a technical and operational standpoint, please ensure you have the rights to, and control over, the strategic and creative work that you hire people to do for you.
So what can you do to protect your brand and your brand assets to ensure that you retain full ownership of them? Here are a few tips:
- If you hire an agency, (or a trusted representative of your company who is intimately in tune with your vision for the company and the needs and characteristics of its customers), you must still be involved in helping to define your brand and the ways that it touches the world.
- If you hire freelancers, be sure that you have all of the native design and content files archived online or on a computer hard drive and an external storage unit (back-up and ownership of files is critical). If you have an internal team helping you, make sure that all of their work is adequately archived and backed up to avoid disaster.
- Do not let someone outside of your organization be your brand keeper. Remember, people move, relationships change, you need to be the guardian of your organizations assets.
- Make sure that you have a secure list of passwords for all of your social media and other marketing-related digital service accounts. Too many times business owners end relationships with employees or contractors and have no idea how to access these important brand assets. Password recovery takes time and not having control over these assets also puts you at the mercy of someone who may or may not be expedient at releasing the information or may even withhold it.
- Incorporate these specific tips as part of your overall engagement letter or contract when you work with a third-party. If your team is in-house, then create a process in your policy manual to include archive and storage of files and regular updates on what activities are happening on the marketing front.
When making an investment in developing a comprehensive brand presence and implementing an ongoing communications program to generate leads, retain clients and to support your content marketing and other promotional initiatives, you also need to take steps to protect the assets that are created in the process. If done well, your marketing and brand assets should have significant value to your organization, As such, you need to protect them —after all they are part of the business that you own.