Smart content for marketing: automated rebranding

Alan Pringle / Content strategyLeave a Comment

dandelions of multiple colors

Because of a merger or a change in company direction, you’ve got snazzy new branding to roll out across your marketing content: updated logos, corporate colors, fonts, and more.

And then you realize you’ll have to adjust hundreds (if not thousands!) of InDesign, Microsoft Word, and other files to reflect the new branding. Ouch!

Rebranding can be a huge time sink because of all the manual work, but it doesn’t have to be. Smart, structured content can drastically reduce how long it takes to rebrand your content.

Smart content means content and formatting are separated. You may be familiar with this approach from HTML and CSS. An HTML file contains tags like <title> and <p>. The CSS file specifies how to format those tags. You can replace the CSS file and totally change the formatting. But in a Word or InDesign file, the formatting and the content are bound together. Smart content (usually XML) means that you store the tags in one file and the formatting in another.

dandelions in multiple colorsThe separation of content and formatting inherent in smart content means you don’t have to open up and modify individual files to update the brand formatting in your brochures, product sheets, and other marcom content.

Instead, you adjust the process that automatically applies formatting. When you run the modified process, the new branding is applied to your content. You save enormous amounts of time and money because you aren’t manually adjusting zillions of individual InDesign and Word files.

But we aren’t set up for smart content yet! What does all this buy me?

Having massive amounts of content to rebrand may provide a compelling business case to migrate to smart content immediately. We have clients who have justified the entire cost of smart content because they needed to rebrand. They could have paid to manually rebrand their InDesign and Word files, but they decided instead to invest in smart content to address the immediate rebranding requirement. These companies now reap all the benefits of a smart content infrastructure for the cost for a manual rebranding effort.

Are you facing the challenge of rebranding and unsure about the best way to proceed? Contact us.

About the Author

Alan Pringle

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Content strategy consulting. Publishing (electronic and print). Eating (preferably pastries and chocolate). COO at Scriptorium.

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