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It’s no secret that the right content automation software can streamline your processes and save your team time and headaches. But finding the right software for your business can be a full-time job on its own.

Whether you’re a brand manager, design lead, CMO or agency, you need to find a solution that works for your team in the most efficient way possible. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to give your business the best chance of procuring the right content automation tool right from the start. Use this guide to identify your organization’s needs and make sure you’re asking the best questions of potential suppliers along the way.

Make sure your team never sees off-brand material again, as you scale your marketing activity while reducing requests!

The Value of a Brand

It’s no exaggeration to say your brand is the most important part of your organization. This is not just marketing-speak. When the impact of a brand on a firm’s cash flow, profits and value are measured, brands contribute on average 19.5% — and in many cases well over 50% — of enterprise value, not to mention the immeasurable value that every marketer knows and goes to great lengths to emphasize.

Brand recognition research shows that simply recognizing a brand is a big factor in whether someone will choose to buy it. And the use of branding devices such as a signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%. Three in five people openly acknowledge they prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them. Why is familiarity so important? Because it creates expectations of quality and trust. And 81% of consumers need to be able to trust a brand to buy it.

Among existing customers, brand consistency is an ongoing contributor to your bottom line, with 55% of consumers willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience.

Now that we’re on the same page about the business-critical nature of branding and brand consistency, let’s talk a little bit about you.

Common Branding Issues Software Can Correct

Which of the below are familiar to you?

  • Inconsistent brand: Marketing collateral and other materials created throughout your organization represent your brand in an inconsistent light — sometimes unrecognizably so!
  • Slow to market: It takes days, weeks and even months to get on-brand materials to market when it just shouldn’t.
  • Data management is menial: Your team spends hours manually producing assets that an automated process could create in minutes.
  • Cost is prohibitive: Using current production processes and partners to scale up marketing is sending costs through the roof!
  • Marketing is a bottleneck: Central marketing spends all its time creating on-brand variations of existing materials or policing stakeholder materials instead of producing high-value marketing work.
  • A rebrand? Don’t even think about it. Your brand needs an update but the very thought of trying to rebrand makes you physically ill.

If any of these issues resonate with you, welcome! Read on, we’ll find you a solution.

Getting Started

Who This Guide Will Help

From the brand builders to the creative visionaries, from the execution specialists to the bean counters — in fact, if you have much at all to do with marketing, there’s something in this for you. This guide is for:

  • Brand managers who never want to see off-brand material again
  • Design leads who want to focus on high-end design work
  • Digital marketers who need to feed the hungry beast
  • CMOs who want to scale marketing activity and drive growth.
  • Brand Agencies who want to ensure their client’s beautifully crafted brands are delivered into safe hands.

If you’re looking to rebrand, expand into new markets, execute faster, meet new regulatory requirements, review your martech stack or simply improve brand consistency, you’re in the right place. Read on to find a content automation platform.

What This Buyer’s Guide Will Help You Do

Choosing the best technology for your organization can be a confusing process. The purpose of this guide for buying content automation software solutions is to help you understand and define your own organizational requirements, learn how brand automation can help, and ultimately, identify the product and the vendor that best meets your needs.

You’ll find a handy list of questions that are designed to help you make sure you’re asking the right questions to find the best solution for your organization.

We hope you’ll choose Brandfolder Content Automation, but of course, that’s your decision! Let’s get to it.

Brand Management and Automation Software

We’ve talked about the value a strong and consistent brand will bring to your organization. But brands don’t manage themselves. And in today’s rapidly changing marketing landscape, it takes more than a few slides in Marketing’s annual presentation to the executive team to maintain brand integrity.

What is Brand Management?

Brand management is the development and execution of a strategy to strengthen brand perception in the market. It covers your brand’s touch points with prospects, customers, internal stakeholders and partners and traditionally encompasses:

  • Brand architecture or hierarchy
  • Visual identity
  • Messaging and communication
  • Product, positioning and price
  • Brand experience
  • The customer’s relationship to the brand and other users of the brand.

What is Content Automation?

Content automation is the process of using technology to automate manual yet predictable on-brand marketing tasks associated with the brand management and marketing production process.

What is Content Automation Software?

A content automation platform takes your carefully crafted branding and visual identity, your tailored messaging and your key outputs and combines these using responsive templates to produce on-brand creative assets at scale.

But content automation goes further than merely applying the right colors or logos based on a user profile; it augments and reduces the production work that comes with operating a successful brand. It also produces assets based on data sources and data sets without manual set up or intervention.

Content Automation Software can help you:

  • Improve brand consistency
  • Increase your speed to market
  • Boost production volumes while lowering costs
  • Automate data inputs
  • Empower your entire organization to self-create on-brand materials
  • Reduce risk.

What Features To Look For in Content Automation Software

A great content automation tool will have easy-to-use, robust features that make it simple and intuitive for your teams and better yet, other stakeholders in your business, to produce on-brand marketing assets at speed and without a designer.

Here are a list of the key features to look for in content automation software solutions:

Asset Management

A centralized library of digital assets that makes all your approved images, files, logos, typefaces, styles and text snippets accessible to your team in one place, wherever they are based.

Hosted securely in the cloud, asset management should offer easy-to-see asset names, file types and dimensions, categorizable and taggable image hierarchies, search via tags, file type or asset name and bulk drag-and-drop upload.

Permissions must be customizable, restricting assets lock-ups and download permissions to certain teams and assets, with shareable links to provide access to external partners.

Responsive Templates

Powerful, flexible HTML-based templates aligned to your brand guidelines that generate on-brand assets for all your marketing channels.

These should enable you to lock up your brand colors, fonts, styles, logos and other design elements, as well as provide the flexibility to define and lock down your brand hierarchies and sub-brand treatments, while allowing designated elements to be edited.

They should offer dynamic customization for all marketing channels and auto-tagging of metadata by team so you never ‘lose’ an asset again.

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In-Platform Approvals

The ability to give oversight and approval sign-off to your internal marketing team before enabling execution to market, through pre-configurable or open approval workflows.

Approvals should include customizable flat, tiered and third-party approvals, in-platform feedback and commentary, direct edit capability for approvers, automated email notifications and a personalized in-app approval center.

Multi-Edit Capability

The ability to edit a branding or text component once and instantly update it within assets of numerous shapes and sizes.

Print and digital executions of the same creative should be able to be changed instantaneously, universal updates to headline, image and price applied across a campaign, and multiple files exported at once.

Campaign in a Box

On-brand campaign kits specific to a local market, region or territory containing all the assets teams need to execute a campaign at speed, without risk. Think banners, EDMs, social tiles, A4 flyers, signage etc.

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Brand Compliance Function

A marketing compliance capability that builds in specific industry, team and legal requirements and approval workflows and generates an audit trail.

It should include automated application of disclaimers, terms and conditions and other elements by project and template, automated user identifiers and contact details, custom approval workflows and automatic audit trail capture.

Data Automation & Personalization

The ability to integrate with CRM, marketing automation platforms and other tools to personalize, build and deliver content.

This should include automated personalized content creation without the need for spreadsheets or manual import, dynamic document production on the fly from predefined actions or status changes and automated updates to marketing collateral based on external datasets.

API-based Integrations

Integration across your tech stack with existing or customizable API-based integrations with a range of technologies including external DAM providers, marketing operations platforms and others.

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Workflows & Permissions

Workflows and permissions ensure only final artwork is exported. It gives the central marketing team the final eye over content before it goes to market.

Send-to-print is also a helpful workflow you’ll need to consider. It cuts out extra work post-approvals by enabling content to be sent directly to your pre-configured print supplier with no fuss.

Other features to consider are version control, so no work is lost, audit trails so you know who made the last edits and reviews functionality.

Technology & Support

Content automation software needs to be secure and stable; downtime and unsafe environments are not the norm and you should know your assets are safe and secure at all times.

Importantly, support is a high-priority consideration you need to research. A dedicated customer support team is crucial to help you get the most out of the platform, as well as an array of ways to get support when bugs crop up is beneficial – such as 24/7 chat, email or phone support.

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All-Channel Content Creation

Full digital production across all your marketing channels, alleviating high-churn work and unblocking production processes, including:

  • Digital
  • Social
  • Email
  • Event collateral
  • Landing pages
  • Long-form documents
  • Large-format signage
  • Personalized stationery
  • Print production including print-ready files and web-to-print integrations
  • And more.

Robust Reporting

Full visibility over the content that is being created and launched including internal views, usage and rendering of templates and assets.

This should include customizable dashboards aligned to the metrics you require and in-app communication and featured content to help disseminate best-practice across teams.

How Does Content Automation Improve ROI?

Content automation delivers value for its customers year after year, allowing them to deliver personalized customer experiences, while achieving greater levels of operational efficiency, brand integrity and compliance.

Organizations often assess the return on their investment by considering several benefits, such as:

  • Production cost savings (agency and internal savings)
  • Team productivity and efficiency gains
  • Increased speed-to-market
  • Improved brand integrity in market
  • Compliance risk mitigation
  • Greater capacity for strategic work
  • Improved visibility across the marketing department’s exports

Some of these benefits can be difficult to evaluate, but a simple, tangible way to assess the value of brand automation technology is to measure and clearly attribute ROI to production output in the tool every day.

The key question customers ask is: What would it cost to produce that content without automation? These costs are otherwise spent with external agencies or in-house design teams.

For real-world examples of the ROI that content automation delivers, download the guide.

Defining Your Organization’s Software Needs

Before purchasing content automation software it’s important to prepare. Preparation ensures your needs and objectives are clear and makes it easier for you to select the right technology provider.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of questions for you to ask your organization and potential technology providers.

Get the Buyers Guide