Which brand platform suits me?
Digital brand platforms have replaced the PDF style guide almost everywhere. But many of our medium-sized clients do not have a clear overview of the numerous SaaS models on the market. Moreover, these do not always fit the needs of smaller companies. That's why we have developed our own lean JUNO Brand platform. Here we share some of the advantages and disadvantages of both models with you.
In a nutshell: What does a digital brand platform offer?
- Browser-based: Installation, maintenance or long searches on the server become superfluous. This makes it easier to work on the road and allows third parties access via password.
- Up-to-date: Information is always up to date, and versioning can be used if necessary.
- Versatile: Brand platforms offer the integration of moving images, are interactive and can be linked more easily. In addition, other brand dimensions, e.g. motion design and sound design, can be integrated.
- Asset provision: everything at your fingertips for quick use, e.g. logo, fonts, colour libraries or templates.
- Integration of other software applications: facilitates seamless work, e.g. with digital asset management systems (DAM), asset generators or a component library.
Our experiencese with SaaS-Platforms:
While larger companies sometimes develop their own web solutions, start-ups, small companies and SMEs often look for ready-made alternatives in order to be able to use a platform as a place of documentation for the brand and as a hub for all important assets, even with a smaller budget. SaaS solutions (Software as a Service) are usually considered here.
These are our learnings from cases with Frontify and similar solutions:
- Access: mostly simple and low-threshold. Editing the content is done via an intuitive editor.
- Support and customer service: quick and easy to reach.
- Costs: can be low, depending on requirements. As a rule, SaaS services are offered in a subscription model, without a high initial investment and without extra costs for maintenance, updates and support. However, long-term subscription costs must also be taken into account. Cost plans are sometimes complicated, are not clearly communicated and/or the services behind them are difficult for laypeople to understand.
- Design options for styleguide construction: are often sufficient, but you have to live with the respective limitations of the tool.
- Storage space is limited: Large assets can mean more expensive budget.
- Integrated media library/DAM: sometimes offered, but rather unperformant. Performance seems to take a back seat with some SaaS platforms anyway.
- Access options: are sometimes not sufficiently adjustable. Single sign-on (SSO) is expensive.
- Documentation of UI elements/components: is more worthwhile with a large library, if at all possible, as a more expensive plan is usually necessary here.
- Hosting on own server and individual platform domain cost extra.Limited customisation options and too many special functions (e.g. for creative collaboration seem too much).
- Limited customisation options and too many special functions (e.g. for creative collaboration seem too much).
- Brands with individual sub-brands are difficult or impossible to map.
- Almost all solutions offer an excerpt of their performance as a free version, but as soon as larger requirements are placed on the platform, this can become cost-intensive.
The JUNO Brand Platform
With a JUNO team consisting of concept, design and programming, we have developed our own brand platform that explicitly tries to compensate for the weaknesses of the SaaS services available today. We have the UX and code in our own hands and can offer a customisable tool that we can always tailor to the requirements of our customers.
Special features of the JUNO platform:
"Have you asked ChatGPT yet?" is not always the solution to all problems, even for tech teams. Sometimes you come across questions where the knowledge and experience of other developers can be helpful. In the Kirby Community, such questions are shared and solutions are discussed together.
- Technology: The platform is based on the CMS Kirby, which we have been using for years for programming our clients' websites and our own website. It is secure, performant and highly customisable.
- Multilingualism: is included and does not have to be purchased separately.
- Data control and dependency: The platform can run on the server of the customer's website, for example. A specific domain, storage space and data security can thus be controlled independently.
- Access options can be individually coordinated; SSO is also feasible.
- Brands, including their sub-brands, can be mapped.
- Customisation options: The platform should be further developed with our customers and tailored to their needs. Individual extensions and change requests are possible.
- For additional software applications such as DAM systems and UI/component libraries, we can recommend specialised tools that can be integrated or connected to the platform.
With SaaS brand platforms, customers get the standard multi-function pocket knife with good support, a practical content editor, low-threshold access and a wide range of functions - although many users are unlikely to use some aspects, while others are only unlocked at extra cost.
Our own development has a more specialised approach and focuses on mapping the facets of a brand with the most useful functions for users in a comprehensible and performant way. At the same time, the platform offers more freedom than some SaaS tools: from design and structure, hosting and expandability, to financing with a fixed price or subscription model.
Whether JUNO Brand Platform or SaaS tool, the individual requirements determine the right solution for each company. In order to be able to advise properly, it is always important to listen to what customers need, what they want or what they do not yet have in mind.
For this purpose, we have developed a questionnaire that comprehensively assesses your requirements. If you are interested in learning more and getting advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Author Fynn Scheewe is Senior Designer at JUNO.