Niels BeerninkWednesday, October 16, 2019

Are you A COMMUNICATIons STRATEgist, networker, and transitions hero?

Does this sound familiar? You are 80% brand manager and/or communications professional, and 20% Product Owner of the Brand Portal. But is that even possible? Is that the recipe for success?

What are your most important tasks as Brand Portal Product Owner?

A Product Owner essentially makes sure that the Brand Portal contains all elements needed to work with the brand. From clear brand guidelines to such foundations as photography, InDesign files, PowerPoint templates, Word formats, etc. – and ensuring that this data is kept up-to-date in an easily accessible and shareable form. The latter part does not come automatically! Whichever tool you choose: logically chosen key words in your navigation + organisation specific queries (metadata) are, in fact, crucial, and often unique to your organisation. In addition, you continually explore the possibilities for continued development. For example, have a look at Rabobank’s position after years of work on their CommunicationShop or use the model below as a support.

NEtworking and positioning

Additionally, you will need to move around within your organisation, connecting with people/departments/locations/countries/agencies and showing them the advantages. Because it is important that colleagues and their departments begin to embed the Brand Portal into their working method which, like so many things, will not happen automatically. The power of repetition, and the position of the Brand Portal in the organisation are therefore crucial.

Formulation propositions and smart communications

So, preferably, you should answer the question of ‘what is in it for them’ for each major target group (refer to the User Communications Whitepaper for more information). Then, you can formulate a value proposition per target group, and communicate the right perspectives. For example: marketeers are often uninterested in brand guidelines. Improving campaign conversion rates, on the other hand…

By using the perspective of ‘consistent communication for improved campaign conversion’, you are sure to pique marketeer interest. And remember to repeat this message as often as you can to avoid “the forgetting curve”! Speaking of which:

There has been a great deal of research into the workings of the human brain. Herman Ebbinghaus (1885, Ebbinghaus) identified scientific evidence for the learning curve, also known as “the forgetting curve”. If you learn something new, but then never repeat or practice what you have learned, the associated knowledge will ebb away. The results of this scientific study can be used to improve the efficiency of recollection to this day:

  1. Make your information as relevant as possible (first ensure comprehension, establishing links, possibly using a mnemonic) before implanting it. Consider, for example, creating value propositions for your target group(s);

  2. Use audio/visual aids, such as of infographics on how to implement the Brand Portal;

  3. Schedule a repetition of the information quickly following the first implantation round in particular, and then spread them out further as time goes on. Implement a nurture sequence/Onboarding Flow, for example automated emails with information and teasers to activate people;

  4. Better to implant information in four sessions of fifteen minutes (at different points in time) then one session of sixty minutes. That is why our Brand Portal Onboarding Flows are particularly effective in combatting “the forgetting curve”.

Which talents are required to maximise your potential in this role?

Are you able to position and work out target group propositions, and are you a natural networker and digital native with the stamina needed to effect a lasting transition/behavioural change? Then you are probably the ideal Brand Portal Product Owner! You inspire people and create brand thinkers in your organisation. What an outstanding job!

How much time does it take?

Once the organisation becomes convinced of the added value of the brand for business results, a Brand Portal is an ideal vehicle for practical implementation. However, it is not merely a matter of implementing technology – strategic considerations of activation and continually enticing colleagues and departments is the most time-consuming (and, in my opinion, best) part of the brand/communications professional’s role. My advice: set aside at least 50% of your time (20 hours) for your role as Brand Product Owner to ensure success. Anything less, and you will not have the time you need to proactively implement your role, nor to make optimum use of your skills to make it a success!


Obviously, I understand that this is not always a realistic option, but I do want to challenge you to embed your Brand Portal activities in your work. For example, schedule brand activation on meeting agendas as a standard item. Or include a bit of content on Brand Portal functionality in the company newsletter. This way, you are not going out of your way to perform new activities while still paying attention to the activation of the Brand Portal – in turn having a positive effect on your work’s identity. Don’t work harder, work smarter!

Another little tip: A Tiny Habit can help to remind people of the Brand Portal. Developed by BJ Fogg at Stanford University, the Tiny Habit method takes little time, while allowing for a huge impact on people’s lives.

For example, after each discussion on MarCom, always ask: “How easy is it for you to work with our brand?”.

You will see that this results in many new leads for improving the relevance of the Brand Portal to your target group! For now, have fun – and if you ever need a sounding board about what to do next, let us know!