What Is Brand Compliance? Your Guide To Streamlining Brand Standards

Published on:
June 15, 2024
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Being a legitimate brand, one of the crucial steps you require is following the regulations being issued. The consequence of not doing so is enormous. In 2020 alone, the corporations were hit by legal fines of $10.4 billion! It is a lot of dough to be dished out by anyone who wishes to save on compliance. However, fines are just the tip of the iceberg 

 The ultimate damage of noncompliance is the negative impact on the brand and relationships with investors, customers, partners, and regulators.

 So what is noncompliance? Noncompliance means your company isn’t aligning with the rules and regulations that are placed upon it. It could be everything: financial reporting, data security, privacy, employment practices …

Businesses worldwide serve global and local markets. Thus, keeping compliance top-of-mind and brand image globally consistent is essential. Enhancing customer experience improves, brand loyalty multiplies, and customer trust advances.

For example,  once you walk into a Starbucks or a McDonald’s, you know what’s in store. The branding, the decor, the menu: it’s all the same, and that’s how you create trust excellence and retain customers. And in retail, where there are a gazillion products on the shelves, commodifying this brand image is what cuts through the clutter and makes your products agile in customers’ minds.

In this post, we’ll discuss what brand compliance is, why it’s important, and how to construct your content brand-consistent and legally compliant through a digital brand compliance checklist.

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What is Brand Compliance?

Brand compliance is keeping your brand visually and experientially consistent across the board—from your logo to your customer service. What that involves is having in-depth knowledge of industry-specific guidelines, determining policies to follow them, implementing actions to fulfill them, and perpetually tracking progress to address non-conformities.

These strategies allow your brand to reflect your organization’s philosophy, values, and standards. 

So why is it such a big deal? 

Brand compliance isn’t just about how things look—it’s making sure every interaction with your brand meets your standards.

From the food you serve to the way you treat customers, every little thing counts. And when you get it right, the payoff is huge: you build trust and loyalty, you enhance your brand’s reputation, and, most importantly, you drive revenue.

What is the Impact of Brand Compliance?

  1. Risk Mitigation 

Companies are beginning to understand that when they make workforce decisions, they have to think beyond their four walls.

According to Deloitte’s 2023 Global Human Capital Trends survey, a stunning 81% of respondents agree that companies need to take into account broader societal and environmental risks like political instability and social injustice.

But here’s the rub: Less than 19% believe their organizations are very ready to deal with those risks when making workforce decisions. That’s a big gap!

Let’s break it down for you. Compliance officers, risk managers, and legal teams must be at the top of their game in understanding regulations like ISSO, OSHA, HACCP, and many more. By keeping up with the latest rules and guidelines, they can help their companies sidestep costly mistakes and reputational risks. 

Ongoing risk assessments are key processes. By following internal policies as well as regulatory frameworks, companies can spot potential dangers and take action to minimize them.

  1. Ethical Standards 

Taking into account how their actions might affect employees, customers, and the planet companies can build trust and respect with stakeholders.

A total of 77% of customers prefer to purchase from corporations that are committed to making a positive impact on the world, and 73% of investors claim that efforts to both improve society and the environment influence their investment decisions.

So, how does this work? Nike, for example, has committed to sustainability by using environmentally friendly materials and practices throughout their supply chain. Not only does this reduce their carbon footprint, but it also appeals to customers who prefer planet-friendly initiatives.

When companies make ethical values a part of their culture, they create a positive, responsible place to work. This means that bosses, managers, and employees at all levels know that they all share the same core values—doing business for good, and with a long-term view of success.

 And that’s good for everyone!

  1. Better Brand Image 

When brands and agencies don’t have a clear set of branding guidelines (or the right tech to help enforce them), it’s impossible to guarantee a consistent experience for every customer across all possible touchpoints. 

Consider the iconic McDonald’s golden arches—it’s an instantly recognizable sign of what lies behind it: food that’s the same from coast to coast. But if McDonald’s did not make brand compliance a priority, some shady operator could throw up a similar logo and serve subpar slop, tarnishing the reputation of an iconic, international brand and leaving customers feeling cheated.

 When organizations prioritize brand compliance, they are creating a guarantee that every customer interaction will be real and consistent to build trust and loyalty.

 And let’s be honest—who doesn’t want to be known for their reliability?

  1. Ensure Legal Protection

A corporation that effectively manages brand conformity fosters transparency and legality within its enterprise. Other than illustrating regulatory allegiance, a firm can prevent lawful liabilities, fines, penalties, and permanent injunctions.

Consider the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States. It requires that health organizations protect patient data, and failure to comply can come with substantial penalties— as low as a $100 minimum if an individual unknowingly violates HIPAA measures, per violation.

 Ensuring brand compliance in healthcare prioritizes that these HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines are followed, and keeps them out of fiasco filled with potential penalties. But it’s not just about avoiding penalties and fines — it’s about building relationships with patients and enabling excellent patient care.

Components of Brand Compliance Management 

  1. Clearly Defined SOPs

Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, are mandatory if you want to take care of your compliance needs. They are a set of policies and procedures you have to follow so everyone — and we mean everyone — can stay in line.

When it comes to compliance and customer service, Amazon is big on setting the high bar. With SOPs at work, employees make better decisions for product safety management and customer complaint resolution, maintaining the integrity of the brand. And with more than 1.5 million employees worldwide… that’s a lot of checking in with SOPs. 

Lacking clear guidelines, employees are forced to figure things out for themselves, which can result in mistakes, inconsistencies, and even legal problems.

  1. Risk Assessment 

Risk Assessments predict potential risks to impact your Organization’s Operations. By effectively examining, measuring, and prioritizing these Risks, your Managers can dramatically reduce your exposure to them. 

When doing a risk assessment, you have to think about a lot of things like compliance legislation, industry-centric standards, and procedural idiosyncrasies (deviations from the baseline.) Environmental/integrity events outside the firewall, along with privacy breaches, can put your compliance progress back to ground zero.

Equifax, for instance, did not perform regular risk assessments and experienced a huge data breach in 2017, which resulted in the exposure of millions of individuals' sensitive information. Consequently, Equifax had to pay a $700 million settlement cost, and its credibility was destroyed.

  1. Team Training 

These training programs comprise full scope regarding the legislation, approved laws, as well as the internal system's rules to execute adequately their job descriptions. Moreover, untrained employees are more vulnerable to fraud schemes or unintentionally becoming part of fraudulent activities.

As a multi-business operator, you need to ensure training that's specific to your company, your industry, and your location. For example, retail stores need to train their employees how to handle customer interactions, returns, and exchanges legally and professionally. 

  1. Monitoring &Tracking 

Companies must vigilantly monitor their brand compliance activities, capturing the potential violations and taking corrective action before they go awry. Regular monitoring audits and inspections make sure that all team members what the rules are and understand the procedures. 

For example, in the U.S. food and beverage industry, abiding by legal compliance laws is an utmost priority. Compliance is particularly important when it comes to food safety regulations such as appropriate storage/handling to evade foodborne illness and contamination which is mandated under the FDA in their FSMA act.

To maintain legal compliance and avoid the expensive and inconveniencing circumstances, F&B businesses have to track and report.

What are Key Challenges in Conducting Compliance Audits Manually?

We can probably all agree that traditional compliance audits are a snooze-fest.

They're a tedious, slow process that involves a lot of time spent chasing people throughout the business, collecting documents, and sending emails.

What you get is more and more distance between you and staying on top of what you need to do.

You settled for a huge spreadsheet to track control performance and regulatory mapping, but let's be honest: that's never efficient.

On top of that, doing an audit manually takes up a lot of resources, so you run the risk of putting yourself in a non-compliant situation. And, let’s keep it one hundred—non-compliance comes with a heavy cost in the business world. You end up dealing with data silos, increased expenses, and data breaches. 

Why Go Digital?

how should we address this? Well, the answer is a centralized compliance management program. 

A compliance management platform is a unified solution that enables an organization to more effectively manage its compliance procedures. This application automates and streamlines regulatory tasks, eliminating potential human errors and enhancing organizational productivity.

Managers and business operators can have a central location to track and manage your regulatory requirements, policies, and procedures. The tool also offers real-time monitoring and alerts, allowing you to catch and address potential issues before they become serious problems.

What's more, the tool is bundled with compliance documentation aligned with all of your regulatory commitments. You’ll get a rich library of laws, legislation, and standards that are relevant to your business to guarantee your organization stays compliant.

Here is how it goes: when an employee is assigned a task, they are notified in an instant, so they will be able to take care of it, and change anything that needs changing as soon as possible! thus, the employee will be able to deal with tasks readily and well with no delay or perplexity whatsoever. And, the software stores documents of compliance kept for a long time, so the company knows that it is fulfilling all the rules and regulations. 

How Does Xenia Help with Brand Compliance?

Xenia is an end-to-end operational mobile-first app that so you can control your day-to-day operations and verify everyone is in sync. 

Through standardized tasks and assessments, best-practice guidelines, and other performance objectives throughout the organization, employees have what they need to perform their jobs effectively and deliver great customer experiences consistently.

From creating tailor-made security documents to implementing guided adaptive hassle-free audits, the app allows you to define and scope your compliance management.

The platform also features an extensive operations dashboard, which offers a unified and expansive sight of various tasks and workflows in progress, crucial audits, and your holistic business health that cuts across all units.

What's more, this dashboard rolls up the data on those aspects mentioned above, meaningfully bringing together multiple parts and facets of your business to give you actionable insights.

Why is this important?

It helps multi-business operators to scale up and profit, growing businesses stem from a consistent customer experience.

Let’s get into detail about how Xenia manages to help a broad range audience 

  1. Seamless Operational Experiences, Everyday

Supervisors can set up checklists designed for the unique requirements of any complex or multiple-location business and include checks for as many key procedures as necessary. Customize your checklists with this freedom, adding tasks and steps on the fly. 

Assign recurring or ad-hoc tasks with precise work orders so that teams know exactly what's expected of them, then check in on progress, take on-site photos, and provide feedback to your field teams, no matter where they are or what time it is. The accountability reports show you how quickly, thoroughly, and safely the work was completed – even where and when it was submitted via GPS.

To gauge compliance, look at task completion rates. A task completion rate is the number of completed tasks divided by the total number of assigned tasks. Task completion rates only pertain to daily, weekly, or monthly recurring tasks, such as opening, and closing checklists and temperature logs. Depending on your position level within your organization, you will either be able to see the completion rates for your store (or stores), or, if you are at a higher level you may be able to drill down to see the task completion rates of different regions, teams, and stores.

  1. Monitoring and Tracking Brand Compliance

Brand consistency across locations is critical to customer experience and the maintenance of brand standards. For operations leaders, the challenge lies in monitoring compliance, especially when it comes to expanding to new locations and onboarding new team members.

Take this scenario, for example: You're auditing a store from your home office and you go into the bathroom, and - whoa! - it's disgusting. You take a picture, request a work order, and dig into past performance metrics to see whether this is a one-time thing or something that regularly happens. Maybe it's just a weird blip but you still drop a comment or shoot off a quick message to the General Manager or directly to the relevant employee, "Hey, fix this, pronto."

But that’s not all.

 Xenia goes far beyond just connecting you to the right people - it also helps you gather and store all the important information in a central place, where it’s easy to access and share with others. It’s like a super organized digital dashboard that keeps everything in one place. You can quickly pull up the stuff you need, shoot it off to whomever it’s meant for, and then go about your work.

  1. Ensuring Brand Consistency

Regarding brand compliance, communication is another element that helps to bring consistency across all locations and teams. Xenia’s powerful communication functionalities make it easy to reach out to your field team, communicate with HR to employees, one employee to another employee, and manager to employees, etc. The in-app chat feature and Employee Directory enable you to connect with your team members. 

Realtime Push Notifications and Update can instantly distribute SOPs to all employees—no matter where they are.

Plus, shift Leads can customize training procedures to tailor them to your employees' performance and improvement areas. You can deliver these mini-lessons on a platter that your staff will gobble right up. It's like having your study guide! You'll understand precisely where someone needs extra support and provide them with all of the resources they need to excel. All of the problems aren’t simply put out - you'll expect and foster a team of professionals.

Summing It Up 

Multi-unit operators have the potential to earn 23% more revenue with a unified brand. Behind the scenes, creating standardized processes and producing brand-compliant procedures across every location can be tough.

 Whether it’s distributing your auditing document report r getting mission-critical SOPs across your organization consistent, quality is king. Without it, you run the risk of diluting your brand’s power and profitability, damaging customer trust, and exposing your company to financial and reputational risk. But, manual processes can hold you back.

However, achieving compliance does not have to be difficult. With the right brand compliance management software and strategies, you can deliver a stronger, more cohesive brand.

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