Should Companies Have A Variety Of Internal Initiative Logo Lockups? Does It Conflict With Brand Standards?

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 14 April 2016

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I received a call the other day from one of our clients, a corporate director of branding. In this role he is responsible for the corporate brand identity standards for his company in addition to maintaining the company’s external image, tone of voice, advertising, corporate communications, personality marketing, and research. He explained that they are a “branded house” and that they have very strict identity standards and don’t allow deviations in any way shape or form from their standards. No independent logo lockups are allowed. Period.

However, recently several functions and areas within the company have expressed a desire to create logo lockups to rally their employees around strategic initiatives such as innovation, diversity and inclusion and HR/talent management that would be used internally only. The leaders of these initiatives feel strongly that they need a visual representation and rallying image/slogan to communicate what their initiative is all about and to gain commitment and employee engagement.

So our client, knowing that we are experts and specialists in the area of employee engagement, posed the question; “should I allow these groups to create their own logo lockups? And what impact will it have on our brand standard integrity?” We seem to see this happen all the time and that his situation is not at all unique.

My advice was simple. Either he lets them develop their own logo lockups under his auspices / internal creative team and retain some control, or they will develop lockups on their own without his knowledge, and thus trample the brand identity standards that he currently has in place. I explained that his brand identity standards should have sufficient leeway and freedoms which provide opportunities for expression of ideas but still reflect the main tenants of the brand identity standards

Yes, he should allow individual logo lockups to rally the employees around singular business initiatives.

I suggested he should develop a set of rules that all the functional groups must adhere to when developing their own logo lockups. Some of the examples of rules I suggested were as follows:

  1. Require that the sponsors write a creative template brief in advance that can be submitted to the internal creative group explaining the goals of the initiative, target audience, how it will be used, and what the logo lockup should convey/communicate.
  2. Logo lockups should ALWAYS use the approved fonts, typeface and color palette.
  3. Establish dimensions in regard to size of the lockup, how it should be used and where it should reside on a page/slide.
  4. Ensure that it is compatible and congruent in tone and manner with the corporate brand logo lockup. If it looks odd beside the corporate logo, it should not be used
  5. Set standards/rules in regard to using photos, illustrations or clipart. What is allowed and what is not allowed.
  6. Establish a set of internal logo lockup templates that reside on the corporate brand center and can be customized for individual strategic initiatives as needed that are aligned with the corporate brand identity standards
  7. Require that all lockups be submitted into a logo lockup archive that can be referenced in the future with case histories on how they were used, and whether or not they were successes or failures
  8. Require that there be no more than a designated number of internal logo lockups per year to prevent confusion and mixed messages across the organization
  9. Make it a collaborative team building activity between brand, creative and the sponsoring organization and brainstorm ideas together once the creative brief is completed
  10. Maintain that the brand director has final authority and approval of the logo lockup and has veto power.

By establishing a set of rules and maintaining authority and control over the brand standards, you can actually create higher levels of awareness and commitment for these initiatives from your employees. It’s better for the brand group to become collaborative facilitators for employee engagement and communications, rather than brand/logo cops that nobody respects because they are constantly telling people what they can’t do. And frankly, you’ll make many more friends helping them with their initiatives rather than telling them what they can’t do.

If you would like to discuss and explore what your company might consider or see some examples of logo lockup’s we have created for some of our clients, let us know and we’ll set up some time to discuss it.