Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: Why I love legal and branding teams

Why I love legal and branding teams

I spend a significant amount of my time writing materials and designing various programs for technology companies. I’ve been doing this for 20+ years and have worked with legal and branding teams that apply a whole new meaning to the word “review cycle.” My former colleagues at Microsoft know exactly what I am talking about.

I’ve also designed programs e.g. channel programs, referral programs, etc, that required extensive legal review and approval before they were ready for prime-time. Everything from contracts, to program guidelines to marketing materials needs to be reviewed with a fine-tooth comb lest I bring the entire company to its knees by implying something is required when it’s not legally allowed to do so, or inadvertently using the word “will” instead of “may.”

But I’m not complaining. In fact, the legal and branding reviews are one of my favorite parts of the process. Don’t get me wrong. I love the initial stages where I can unleash the creative left-side of my brain, dream about the possibilities of the program, and come up with all kinds of creative phrases that sell.

But after a few rounds of that stage with the project owners, it’s refreshing to tuck away the creative and deal with the rules put forth by legal and branding.

You see, legal and branding are not usually ambiguous about what they will and won’t accept. In most companies, branding even goes so far as to lay it all out in a branding guidelines document. (If they don’t, they should) Legal may be a little less formal, but after a couple edit rounds you get a feel for what their risk tolerance is – where they will want attribution, where they require written vs email or verbal permissions, what implied promises they are comfortable with, etc.

Perhaps I love this stage of the editing process because it’s so predictable. When they say “I don’t like the way that’s phrased” they usually have a solid reason why. It’s not up to me to guess at what they like and what they don’t like. Contrast this with the creative phase where you are usually working with other creative people who have something in mind but may only “know it when they see it.”

Finally, like most marketers who are honest with themselves, I live for approval of my work. That may be the ultimate reason I find this phase immensely gratifying. Legal and branding people are some of my best supporters. They love people who understand and appreciate their contribution to the marketing process. They are elated when somebody takes the time to review their guidelines or gets to know what they look for in a document or program. Among the truths I’ve discovered about marketing over the years - it never hurts to have the legal and branding teams in your corner. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

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