What are Brand Guidelines, and why do you need them?
Brand guidelines are an essential part of an effective marketing strategy. In essence, a brand guide (I might use the term brand book, brand guide, or style guide interchangeable) works as a key document that guides content creators to communicate a consistent message across your audience. It helps content developers and designers to understand how to use the different elements of the brand. So te main reason brand guides are so useful is simply to create consistency across the brand.
Some of the basic sections you can find in a style guide are the following:
- Brand identity (mission, vision, tone, personality, etc.)
- Brand assets and the appropriate way to use them (fonts, logos, colors, imagery guides, etc)
What can a Brand Guide do for your Business?
It helps generate a strong and trustworthy brand. Consistency is key when it comes to developing a brand. Every time a potential customer visits your website or see your business card, they perceive some of your business purpose, personality, and promises. By setting rules and restrictions on how to use your brand, it becomes easy to communicate relevant messages related to your business goals.
Strong and consistent brands help clarify what your business is all about. This consistency will allow establishing a strong brand voice that resonates with your audience, creating brand awareness (YAAAY). Overtime this brand awareness and consistency build trust.
They help communicate professionalism. Inconsistent branding never looks good. For example, if your logo colors and style differ across your social platforms and website, you might get your customers confused or even apprehensive about you and your business. But a consistent use of a tone of voice, colors, and logos across your business online and physical will help to maintain an image of professionalism.
They help with recognition. This might be the most important reason why businesses need guidelines. Keeping your brand consistent means instant recognition.
Building recognition is not an overnight job, but adhering to your brand guides will help clients to remember who you are and what do you do. One of the most recognizable companies is Google. They have carefully developed a strong style guide that allows “us” (the client) to recognize those four colors even if we don’t immediately see their logo.
The stronger and more consistent your brand is, the more like your audience is to identify you and differentiate you from your competitors.
It increases Brand Value. I know this post is all about consistency, but I just have to say this one more time (sorry!). When a brand identity is cohesive, it increases the brand’s perceived value. Consistency allows your brand to appear professional and reliable.
They are useful for employees. This might be the most practical reason of all. Brand books are a valuable tool for your employees. They will ensure your employees are always using the branding elements in the correct way – the right color tones, the proper logo, the approved fonts, etc. Brand owners might know all the ins and outs of their own brand, but new employees might have a hard time remembering them, having an accessible style guide means the right branding will be accessible to everyone in the company.
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