Just as every fingerprint has its own unique identity, so do your local affiliates and their brands.  Brands are the fingerprints fingerprintthat your partners are imprinting on the minds of consumers. They create emotional responses, stimulate visual cues and generate consumer reaction. These unique local brand identities are what make a business develop and flourish — they are also the very thing that you need to control as a brand manager to ensure your brand is making the right imprint on local consumers.

Since brand identity plays such a significant role in driving sales growth and establishing a distinctive personality, don’t throw your money away by allowing your partners to misrepresent your brand. Ensure your channel marketers represent your brand’s value in order to best position and maximize consumer engagement by offering co-op funds as a reward to your dealers, agents, distributors and franchisees for properly executing brand compliance. Incentivize affiliates embracing your brand fingerprint.

But HOW can you leave your brands’ lasting impression on consumer’s minds through co-op marketing? Here are four suggestions to keep in mind:

1. Provide advertising guidelines to affiliates

You can’t expect your dealers to know the intricacies of your brand unless you provide them with insight. Share communications that outline your expectations via trade guidelines, brand standards and advertising requirements. For example, would you allow your logo to be modified, and if so, within what means? If having your logo consistently represented throughout advertising is important to you and a part of your identity, it would be a valuable call-out to highlight your expectations of how the logo should appear. By providing this type of information up front, you’ll help protect the value of your brand.

2. Implement a pre-approval process to guarantee reimbursement based on ad messaging

Let’s simplify the claims process. Take a look at materials prior to run dates and advertising audits. Are the colors, logo, and photography consistent with your brand? Is the tone of voice and copy a reflection of your identity? If there is any misrepresentation, work with your affiliate to align brand communication. Pre-approval of ads and brand compliance assist in guaranteeing co-op reimbursement by streamlining the process from the start. This alleviates any hiccups down the road that could potentially delay reimbursement and make for unhappy affiliates.

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A total of 97 percent of affiliates who receive co-op funds use them. Ensure your brand’s fingerprint leaves the right impression by incentivizing affiliates who properly execute marketing using your brand guidelines.

3. Allow pre-approved marketing materials to be easily accessible to affiliates

If you don’t have a distributed marketing management platform in place, now is the time to consider it.  With everything your partners are managing, making the marketing of your brand easier is the difference between it happening or not. Streamline the process for your local affiliates by reinforcing specific advertising assets, templates and materials for use in local marketing and allowing for immediate submission of those pre-approved ads for co-op fund reimbursement.  (Check out how Brandmuscle streamlines the process by offering an integrated co-op marketing platform which includes distributed marketing management.)

4. Reimburse only the affiliates accurately using your brand fingerprint

Co-op funds should be seen as a reward to your partners who are helping drive your brand. Remember, your brand identity is one of your partners’ most important tools to help drive business. By requiring brand compliance with co-op marketing, you’re encouraging consistency in brand communications. Money talks, and in the case of brand compliance, unsatisfactory marketing does not equate monetary reimbursement.

 

When you’re working with your partners to connect with consumers through a clear and consistent message, you’re creating a connection worth responding and reacting to. Create a win-win partnership between your partners and your brand by ensuring brand compliance with co-op marketing; your partners drive sales and receive marketing funds for their efforts, while your brand identity is protected and reinforced.

After all, your brand fingerprint is your own unique identity. Leave your mark where it counts!