Chief Marketing Officers' (CMOs) main role is to serve as 'brand custodians' on behalf of their employers today. They know that what their customers buy today is not so much product features, functions and form; but more 'the brand promise' - the image of the brand, what it stands for, and how the brand makes them feel.
Hence CMOs obsess about keeping the brand's integrity intact and ensuring that creative images and messages they use are globally consistent, and are mutually supportive of the brand promise. This has always been tricky. Local country operations often employ their own agencies to build local language versions of promotional materials, and different and often contradictory logos and messages appear, serving to confuse the customer and dilute carefully woven corporate marketing stories.
What CMOs need is a central brand control system to ensure global discipline of its troops. The solution is Brand Asset Management (BAM) which is a mix of Digital Asset Management (DAM) and its parent category, Marketing Resource Management (MRM), where Aprimo (acquired by Teradata earlier this year) is perhaps the best-known supplier.
Less well-known is the UK-based company VYRE, which is making waves in the Brand Asset Management market. Over 400 brands use VYRE's Unify BAM platform. Its clients include Diageo (owners of drinks brands like Guinness, Smirnoff and Baileys) and Shell.
Typically, brand managers use Unify as a central access point and portal for brand guidelines, creative display pieces, video, pictures, blog content etc. VYRE's larger customers have many thousands of Brand Managers globally accessing up to 100,000 brand assets as part of their daily work. These assets are then combined by local marketers into finished content, brochures, flyers, advertising etc. for their marketing promotional campaigns.
This finished content is then loaded into an Approvals workflow module so that the necessary management authorisation and sign-off can be obtained. This means local language versions can be tightly controlled by Corporate, so that brand integrity can be maintained. In addition, wasteful 're-inventing the wheel' is avoided as content can be created once and re-purposed for many different promotional uses. Such systems make simultaneous global promotional product launches a reality, maximising impact and product availability. Apple and Microsoft do this effectively.
VYRE's Unify is ideal for a large company like Shell or Diageo - it allows for a high degree of flexibility and customisation so that established working practices can be simulated within the software. Now VYRE has launched a midmarket, more packaged solution called On Brand. This is only available as a SaaS version, and starts at £2,500 per month. This means for roughly the cost of a marketing executive, a brand can deploy a fully featured BAM system. This has to be tempting, as the ROI is potentially around 3x to 5x.
The On Brand price will be attractive to marketing and advertising agencies too. The global agency, Lowe + Partners, is already a big VYRE user. Marketing agencies typically provide much of the creative content for the big brands (for example Lowe serves Microsoft, Unilever, and Johnson & Johnson) and can better manage the logistics and workflow between themselves and their clients in an extranet configuration using shared systems such as On Brand.
Traditionally, many brand marketing organisations have used generic IT systems such as OpenText as databases for their brand assets. These multi-level filing systems are not that easy to use, especially for marketing folk not known for their computer-savvy skills. A system like On Brand, designed for use by Brand Managers, is preferable and offers the potential for fast global SaaS deployment (typically 6-8 weeks).
VYRE is an established 20-year industry veteran that has quietly been building clients and competencies around BAM. It has plans to grow its presence in the US and recent contracts there bode well. On Brand may just provide the vehicle to accelerate their growth and provide a stronger global presence as a leader in the BAM market.