'Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.'
-Publishing Executive Steve Forbes
Consistency is the key to successful branding. From outdoor signage through to stationery, your visual assets should all look the same. Your logo, colours and fonts must all be identical across all formats. No excuses.
The same methodology applies when your brand speaks with its customers. The tone of voice you adopt when writing a Facebook post should match the exact same style you use for an EDM or a brochure. Consistency builds trust. And trust is everything. Brand guidelines help build trust with your customers.
Brand guidelines explained
Brand guidelines are your source of truth and ensure a consistent approach to branding across your business. Your guidelines should be provided to anyone who is responsible for producing marketing communications for internal and external stakeholders. Ideally, your in-house marketing team will approve any draft communications before they are distributed but if you don’t have access to these internal resources, or if the team simply does not have the capacity to check every document that is created, your brand guidelines document is the reference that should be distributed to anyone in your organisation who is likely to use your brand. These people include: the Chief Executive, the Executive Team, Executive Assistants, the Marketing and Communications team and Administration Assistants. Remember to provide a copy of your brand guidelines to any external third party suppliers you may engage, such as videographers and signage suppliers, so that they know how to treat your brand when creating any collateral for you.
Brand guideline inclusions
A Brand Guidelines document will typically outline your:
- Brand personality i.e. the tone of voice be to adopted for all written communications
- Brand purpose i.e. the why of your brand
- Brand vision and values
- Brand story i.e. the long from version of your brand’s purpose and values
- Logo usage i.e. space required around the logo plus examples of how to, and mow not to, present it
- Colour palettes i.e. CMYK and RGB breakdowns for print and online use
- Co-branding rules
- Brand architecture i.e. the organisational structure of a company’s portfolio of brands, products and/or services.
- Photographic style
- Brand application e.g. business cards, letterhead, social media graphics showing the logo in context
The importance of following guidelines
It is imperative that anyone who is likely to use your brand refers to these guidelines. Branding must be applied consistently to protect a brand. The reputational and financial risks are too great if they are not followed. If your marketing is inconsistent, you will send mixed messages to your target audience. Inconsistency erodes your customers’ trust in, and loyalty to, your brand. Inconsistency erodes value in your brand – and that is bad news not only for the money you’ve invested to develop a new brand but the overall growth of your business.
The whole point of branding is to set your brand apart from your competitors. If you make it easy for your customers to identify you, through consistent and credible branding, you make it easier for them to decide to do business with you.
Our team of Graphic Designers and Brand Strategists can create a clear set of guidelines to help guide the implementation, and use, of your brand. Our guidelines are easy to follow with detailed explanations and visual representations to ensure your branding is strong and cohesive.
Explore our brand guidelines portfolio and see how we can work together to develop a set of guidelines that promotes your brand consistently to your customers before you invest in your next marketing project.