Greg SheppardPhoto: Templafy
Templafy, in a recent study, found that nearly 90% of US employees have used Google to search for their company’s logo when creating content. And not only do employees lack the internal infrastructure to create content, US workers are often involved in a lengthy content approval process that delays their ability to do other work. Once this content has been approved, the majority of respondents said they still find errors and mistakes.
Sheppard said he’s surprised companies lack efficient content creation processes, especially since Templafy has found that most companies want to rebrand anyway. He said it conducted this research to understand the scale of the problem and to help businesses understand how the lack of an efficient content creation process affects them.
In an interview, Sheppard spoke to Protocol about why companies struggle to keep their employees up to date on the rebranding process, why they’re even looking at rebranding, and Templafy’s role in the endeavour.
This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.
Why isn’t there a content creation process?
This content, and the way we define content, is broad. And we see content as a company-wide topic. Some companies have solved it at the departmental level or localized content creation processes. But most organizations don’t solve it at the executive level. They don’t have the solutions that tie together all the latest content, brand-approved content. They always place the content where the employee needs to go instead of meeting the employee where they work. And that creates many 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 The second is outdated information. And then content review is the third: too much time for review. This is how outdated information happens, despite the fact that 62% of managers say – I think that’s kind of crazy – that reviewing and monitoring content is the most important part of their job. And in the US, it amazes me that an average of 10 employees are involved in content review cycles. Is this really how we should spend our time and essentially focus our handwork on the content? And then the fourth part is about brand integrity. Employees use outdated templates by default. It undermines a brand.
Who has the responsibility to smooth this process?
It can affect a number of people in our organization; What we usually see is that it falls into either a marketing organization or an IT organization. And they realized that this problem exists. And they will grab it and solve it by implementing the right infrastructure that connects this great content to the employee workspace. And then everyone gets what they want. You will no longer see employees using a template containing the 2019 compliance language below. Or the old logo. So when you meet them where they work in Office or G Suite or in Salesforce, they like using the right content.
What does an efficient content creation process look like?
When you rebrand, you create all sorts of new content, and ultimately that needs to resonate with employees and be consumed. And what we often see is that companies rebrand to focus on all the external content, they have their website or media assets, and then they create all this great content, then they don’t put the same energy into executing it their own employees. They could send their employees swag and everyone gets a new sweatshirt or something. But their employees are still using that outdated content for their decks, their templates, images and all that stuff. And then the brand teams become your brand police. And it’s a big mess.
By default, when companies work with Templafy to activate their rebrands, they improve the entire content creation process. So all this new, amazing branded content is being fed to employees within the tools that are already working. So when an employee opens Microsoft Office or Google Workspace to create a deck or put together a sales proposal, they have the right content ready and can access it just as easily as they did the last deck. Or they go to Salesforce and put the quote together, their report there uses the right branding. So the companies that do it well do it because it fits into those workflows.
What tools and resources would you recommend for companies looking to rebrand?
Once they have decided to rebrand, I would encourage companies to think about how to enable their employees to become brand ambassadors for that rebrand. Very often companies work with their agency and they create new advertising and media and they update the website because they can control it themselves. But I encourage and definitely talk to clients all the time about how you enable your employees to become those ambassadors. How do you ensure your sales team is using the new brand every time they speak to a customer? How do you ensure that the QBR your account team runs with your top account isn’t the old branding, even if it’s six months later? And that goes back to meeting employees where they are. That’s what Templafy does.
Why would a company even look for a rebrand?
We typically see three top criteria for company rebranding: growth, change and repositioning. So the growth could relate to funding rounds and the upcoming IPO. Overall expansion and our research shows that a large majority of US companies are not only considering a rebrand in the next five years, but also feel confident and ready to tackle it. For example, 54% of our panelists agree that helping their business achieve its goals is beneficial to their business. But brand activation is a mountain that many companies can’t climb because they don’t have that infrastructure or content creation process in place. And I said before that content is everything, everywhere. And 69% of our respondents agree that launching content will be the most challenging aspect of a rebrand.
Change is the second. It could be a new CEO or something simple like that. New products that change a company’s market positioning or even M&A activities.
The last is repositioning. This could include changes or expansion across markets, investing in a corporate identity program, and the like.
Are you surprised that so many respondents are looking for a rebrand?
Not really. You see cycles. And if we look at that for the next five years, that seems about right.
So every five years there is a cycle of companies looking to rebrand?
I actually don’t think it’s as easy as doing it every five years, I think companies actually often change their branding and tweak things over time. There’s often this major rebranding that happens on a five to seven year cycle. But over the years there have always been optimizations and small adjustments.
How does a lack of efficient content creation processes on the part of employees affect whether they are satisfied in a company?
Our customers love Templafy because it makes their life easier. They have tools to simplify and speed up the document creation process and also use the most powerful content creation process.
The challenge that Templafy solves increases in this new digital HQ world. It has exacerbated the challenge that has always existed. And now you have employees working all over the world, whether they’re in their offices, whether they’re at home, or working from the beach. Now more than ever you need the right tools.