BMA brand survey says compliance low

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While the vast majority of b-to-b marketers rank brand compliance as a high priority at their companies, many businesses fall short when it comes to implementing brand compliance across the organization, according to a new study by the Business Marketing Association.

The 2005 Brand Image Solutions Survey was supported by General Binding Corp. and conducted by Readex Research for the BMA. It was based on responses from 204 b-to-b marketers to an e-mail survey conducted in October and November.

According to the report, 70% of respondents said the issue of brand compliance is "very important" or "important" at their company, and 67% said their company has launched a branding or rebranding campaign within the past two years.

"Branding is still very important for b-to-b marketers, and on average they are increasing their brand expenditures," said Kirby Strickland, president of Strickland & Co. and chairman of the BMA.

Respondents said their branding budgets had increased an average of 12.3% over the last two years.

In terms of how much they're increasing budgets, 14.2% of companies have increased their marketing budgets for branding or rebranding efforts by more than 50% over the past two years; 10.8% have increased budgets by between 25% and 49%; 12.3% have increased budgets by between 10% and 24%; and 5.4% had increased budgets by less than 10%.

Marketing budgets for rebranding or branding efforts remained flat for 35.8% of companies, and 10.3% decreased marketing budgets over the past two years; 11.2% of respondents did not answer that question.

When it comes to implementing brand compliance standards across the organization, many companies still have a long way to go, the survey found.

Only 60% of respondents said their company has a documented brand standards manual.

"This indicates there may be some problems in compliance," Strickland said. "For 40% of companies, there is not a certified brand standards manual to make sure the brand is represented consistently internally and externally."

Only 45% of the companies surveyed have a standardized brand guidelines manual for training purposes; 40% have an online brand resource center; 27% have new employee orientation programs; and 17% have company sanctioned continuous improvement programs.

The survey also looked at how brand compliance is structured in organizations. It found that 73% of companies have divisions, business units, subsidiaries or local offices that implement all or part of the organization's brand identity.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said monitoring brand compliance is a centralized corporate responsibility; 28% said it is an internal departmental responsibility; 18% said it is an internal divisional responsibility; 15% said it was an internal regional responsibility; and 10% said brand compliance is monitored through partnerships with external vendors or agencies. Respondents could give multiple answers. 

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