Smart templates are a lifesaver for all teams—brand, marketing, and creative. Every brand’s goal is to be among the first few names that come to a user’s mind for their particular industry. In order to improve brand recall, digital communication from a brand must be clear, consistent, and effective. Smart templates are fundamental to this process.
Constantly refining your communication process and building resonance with your consumers is how you build brand equity. Traditionally, companies would try to achieve this goal through manual processes and painstakingly build countless creative variants. This isn’t an optimal solution since it requires more resources, both in the form of man-hours and opportunity costs.
These obstacles and inefficiencies led to the automation of certain segments of the creative process. Smart templates are a modern-day marvel for creative teams since they give you the ability to improve your brand reputation while gaining a competitive advantage since you can scale creative production and minimize costs.
For those of you who are new to the concept of smart templates, we will begin by first explaining what a smart template is before discussing its impact on your brand management strategy.
What is a Smart Template?
“Smart” templates are templates that have the capability to auto-adapt, auto-align for captions, and auto-fit for size for variants generated to scale as per creative requirement without any manual effort.
Smart templates are utilized when generating messaging and creative options, to ensure that it doesn’t negate or stray from the business’s core brand standards, values, and visual identity. The added benefit is that such templates help in improving brand equity because they allow teams to deploy a large number of creatives which are brand compliant, instead of manually adding specific elements.
Why Smart Templates are Important
Smart templates are the foundation for any brand consistency in digital communication. How can we make such a bold claim, you may wonder? Well, the answer lies in smart templates functionality.
Smart templates provide some rigid guidelines to maintain brand compliance yet they allow flexibility to experiment within those parameters. Starting with a template allows you to try a wide range of concepts and see what works best.
Let us share a real-life example: Suppose you are a creative team leader who is tasked with creating 200 variants of your banners and video ads for an upcoming campaign. You decide to do get this job done the way you always have: by dividing the task among your creative team members. You send them a brief that says “Generate awesome variants of these creatives while keeping in mind brand compliance.”
Problem solved, right? Not quite. (Your team members probably won’t be thrilled to manually make hundreds of creative variants in a few days either).
Apart from the obvious fact that this process will take a lot of time and multiple people, there is another problem: Brand consistency will be almost impossible to maintain. It could manifest in the form of font size being a few points different, tone discrepancies, or any such problem. This is not your team member’s fault, it is simply a known shortcoming of manually performing such tasks.
Smart templates are an elegant solution to this problem since they go above and beyond generic preset templates and make a highly worthwhile return on investment. Thanks to smart templates your team members can allocate their time to different tasks and you can scale up your creative production process almost effortlessly.
Unique Benefits only Smart Templates Provide
Let us understand the concept of “blank canvas paralyzation.”
We often take the creative output of graphic design members on our team for granted. Many companies, sadly, do not factor in mental blocks or difficulty in designing new creatives.
A blank canvas can be daunting even to the most seasoned design professional. After all, it implies that the entire creative design needs to be made from scratch. Expecting flawless output is unrealistic, even if you have hired creative professionals for this very reason.
Smart templates come to the rescue here, leading to greater output (and relief!) from your team members.
Another unique benefit of smart templates is that they can be both a starter kit and a learning tool. Because smart templates automate certain portions of the design process, it allows you to onboard new team members quickly and eliminates any chance of brand inconsistencies.
Imagine the risks associated with handing over design responsibilities to a new hire or intern. The chances of them making errors are high compared to someone with more experience, and training will cost resources as well.
Your team’s output improves exponentially with smart templates. This tool simplifies the learning curve of the design lifecycle as well. Your talented professionals can focus on “smart” work instead of wasting time on the mundane and monotonous tasks.
How smart templates increase your brand equity
In order to gain a competitive advantage and position your brand as being trustworthy, you must manage the consumer perception of your brand. Moreover, a brand must be willing to continuously evolve and adapt according to changes in consumer preferences and feedback.
Because of such competition, if a brand does not go the extra mile it reflects poorly on the brand’s values. In this regard, smart templates are a very important tool to have since it simplifies the obstacle of brand compliance.
Smart templates are essential for increasing brand equity as it reinforces brand ideas without being repetitive. This is very important because otherwise, customers experience “ad fatigue.”
This system also allows fast deployment of variants in case the need for making changes arises.
Smart templates establish a set of brand guidelines, which makes it layout visual details. This also includes important notes about the company’s voice, tone, and messaging. This sense of familiarity and consistency is important to cut through the noise and get a consumer’s attention.
You are guaranteed to improve brand equity by occupying space in a consumer’s mind. This is only possible with attention to detail and robust brand management.
Finally, smart templates allow you to analyze and measure the impact of your creatives. The added benefit is that the additional data allows you to further reiterate your template and communication.
Smart templates are an important ingredient of the brand management process and incredibly simple to integrate. It is an obvious upgrade from current digital asset generation practices. Brands which do embrace such technology are likely to have a clear competitive advantage in their industry.