When thinking about your brand, it’s not only a logo and a couple of nice images that will make your brand stand out. Consistent brand identity and personality is key for any brand to succeed.
Communicating a consistent brand identity comes with brand guidelines. Brand Guidelines are protocols describing a set of standards for how a company’s brand should be referred to – within the company or outside. – Let’s look at an example such as Urban Outfitters. Urban Outfitters is a lifestyle retailer that is all about edgy designs and quirky product shots in its visually creative guide. Their brand guidlines focuses on photography and a good deal of information about it’s logo and brand. These are what the brand guidelines refer to.
FIRST, WHAT ARE BRAND GUIDELINES?
Brand Guidelines are protocols describing a set of standards for how a company’s brand should be referred to – within the company or outside. This is usually in a document format and it’s approved by higher management.
Brand guidelines are mostly used by designers to create designs following those standards. Yet, all marketing activities should take the brand guidelines into account – to ensure a consistent brand identity. For example – when posting on social media you must take into account the tone of voice, colour scheme and common business practices. This will be detailed in your document.
WHY ARE BRAND GUIDELINES IMPORTANT?
You are probably wondering why you would need brand guidelines – it might seem like a huge task.
To explain it better, let’s give an example: Apple is one of the most famous brands in the world. Anyone can recognise the brand’s logo, colours, and designs. Anything Apple does, from marketing to products, has a recognisable standard. Guaranteeing Apple international recognition. This consistency is only achieved by having brand guidelines.
If thinking international is a bit out of your reality (for now!) think local – would you want your favourite local restaurant or barber to recognise your brand by seeing it on a billboard? To make sure people recognise and trust your brand, you need brand guidelines. Let’s explain in detail the importance of brand guidelines for businesses:
Setting standards for using brand identity elements.
Not only you can find all your brand identity elements – logo, colour palette, typography – but you can also find a guide on how to use them appropriately. Different shapes and colours might be used for different purposes. For example, you’ve decided that all titles of any text used should be in red colour – but body text should be white.
Effectiveness comes with consistency.
Being a recognised brand comes with consistency. Style your brand identity and ensure that the elements are used effectively – and that they look professional anytime they are used.
It’s a key tool in any marketing activity.
Any posts related to the brand should follow the guidelines, especially when there are graphic designs involved. Another plus – designing will be easier and more effective when having clear instructions.
Increase brand recognition and value.
As mentioned, to be recognised you must have a set of standards. This will make your audience instantly remember your brand. With that recognition, your brand will have a more professional and trustworthy presence.
SO, WHAT IS INCLUDED IN YOUR BRAND GUIDELINES?
Although guidelines can vary between companies, we recommend that you put as much information as possible. Providing guidance is important in case there are any external or internal changes made to the brand.
Include all variations of your company logo and how they are to be used – Include any sizing and spacing restrictions. Adding a ‘what not to do’ section is a great way of setting the standard for your company logo.
The colour palette: Any colour styles and how they should be used on designs, recorded on web and print version.
Explain the various typefaces associated with your brand – their different formats, weights, styles and how to use them.
Introduction to company: A quick introduction to what the company is about, including its values.
Tone of voice: how are we communicating with the external environment? How do we want people to perceive us to be? A quirky personality? Or corporate-focused?
We highly advise businesses to create and follow brand guidelines, as a key element for recognition and success.