Branding gives the target audience an opportunity and guides them on how they view your company. It affects everything about your company from defining who you are, what you do, how you communicate and your business strategy.
The importance of branding especially to the market strategy is necessary hence the need for having guidelines.
Brand guidelines determine the design, composition and general appearance and texture of a company’s branding.
Why a Brand Guide?
Accurate representation of your company and what you stand for is important in marketing and company branding. A brand guide will benefit you through:
I. Brand Recognition
As a company, you want to build a memorable brand that customers and consumers would spot from afar. This sticky memory of your brand would ensure your presence is felt through the repetition of the same logo, colours, images and even fonts of your brand. This gives you an upper hand in communicating a sense of reliability and security to your consumers.
II. Increased understanding
Good and clear communication is crucial in making it easy for your reader and viewer to know you. Guidelines on colours, data visualization and general composition help designers are more effective and create a better experience when it comes to content. This sends the impression that you value your readers’ and viewers’ time and are willing to give them what they are looking for.
III. Enhanced quality control
Good content represents your brand and gives a reputation to your company. Most company directors are struck off time to monitor the ongoing projects which may lead to producing disconnected and ineffective content. A brand guide will help cushion you from such by ensuring you release content you are happy about.
What Should Brand Style Guide Have?
Your aim is to create a hands-on guide that allows brand creators to create a series of on-brand content. You also want the guide to help people understand the look and communication of your brand. Your brand guide should at least incorporate the following if not more:
A. Brand’s Statement
This is the uttermost description of your brand’s fundamental principles, which can influence your communication with customers to designing of your websites. This essentially is your mission statement which gives a compass for your brand style guide as well as ensuring your content follows the same goal of problem-solving. This statement incorporates:
- The purpose for your company existence
- What you want to create for the future or your vision
- What goals do you have for that vision
- The values you stand for guide your actions.
B. Verbal Identity
This concerns how you communicate about your company, describing your products and relations with customers. Having defined your brand’s strategy, articulation of the qualities of your brand is key to ensure harmony with everything you have already established.
The verbal identity includes:
i. Brand’s Voice: “It is not what you say, it’s how you say it”. The mode of communicating your content, copy and general language of what you are saying and the manner of saying it. Unique phrases and attitudes reflect your communication style.
ii. Brand Story: An emotional voicing of what your company and brand stand for. You are telling your audience your story which in turn, showcases your voice and personality.
iii. Brand Tone: This is the impression given about your posture, attitude and character under any given circumstances. Having a consistent tone that is also flexible to adapt to different situations. The tone should reflect your ability to communicate in a manner appropriate for a situation whether formal or casual.
A verbal identity enhances consistency and clarity in content creation and is infused in your marketing and corporate undertakings. A strong verbal identity distinguishes your brand from competitors. Your brand’s personality will be consistent across all your communication channels and will be infused in the messaging, tone and voice of your content.
C. Visual Identity
This is your image. It concerns your brand appearance and feels across all channels. A unique visual identity will distinguish and make you recognizable among your competitors. Visual identity in your brand guide ensures and promotes consistency in the use of visual elements.
A visual identity comprises of:
Standing out among your competitors is the drive to create a visual brand. The logo should be recognizable immediately by anyone and known to belong to your company only. Your brand style guide should outline the rules for using the logo (when and where) to avoid sending the wrong message.
Logo uniqueness is the identifying mark in your field of business. It is important to guard the originality of your logo through copyright or trademark protection. Your logo should be different from those of other companies you are in competition with to avoid infringing on their trademarks or confusing your potential customers.
The brand style guide should inform when and where to use the brand colours. Definiteness in describing how the elements of your logo utilize each colour, the colour of headings in editorials and other internal documents, details of the website and other digital document colours are very important.
The choice of the colours for your brand will play a key role in informing the consumer’s decision making about you. Choose colours fitting the emotions and conveying the message your brand wants to communicate.
Your consumer’s response will most likely be based on your appearance than how you sound. The type you use and the arrangement of your text matters in your brand’s visual identity. Simplicity yet uniqueness in evoking emotions should align with your brand’s message.
As your brand grows and changes, so should your brand guidelines. Reviewing the application of the content guidelines is important and addressing what needs to be clarified, updated, edited, expanded or removed.
Assessing what is working or not and making your brand guideline easier will also be beneficial to your team and your consumers.