Your brand embodies everything from your brand message and mission statement through to use of logos, tones, fonts, colours and imagery the brand guidelines help to underpin your marketing activity. Brand guidelines and rules help to keep all these aspects consistent. Essentially your guidelines act as a ‘brand bible’ in order to establish and preserve an effective brand presence. It allows for consistency throughout your marketing efforts, and for employees to follow a common set of goals in order to reinforce your brand offering.
Adhering to brand guidelines help to keep your image defined and memorable.
Overcomplicating and confusing brands can often lead to poor brand loyalty and recognition. You want your brand to stand out amongst competitors, and keeping brand guidelines surrounding how your logos, fonts and images are displayed helps keep a simple and consistent image in people’s minds.
All aspects of the brand should be able to reinforce the message your company wants to convey, whether it’s through an image or a logo or the copy on your website. Your guidelines should be built around your mission statement and value proposition so that all the different parts of your brand can deliver this message effectively.
Maintaining consistency not only keeps your image defined and memorable but also helps to improve awareness. A strong brand presence creates more impact creating a wider spread level of awareness. It also increases competitiveness within any marketplace when there is more than one strong brand within the market.
Not only do brand guidelines help to increase impact and awareness it also helps to educate, reinforce and motivate anyone involved in the brand. It allows them to follow common goals leaving no room for confusion. This helps maintain brand presence and creates a successful brand which leads to a more motivated workforce.
When your staff are all working towards a common goals it helps them to understand the brand and what message the business is trying to get across. This creates a brand culture within the organisation, giving the brand a personality. Following guidelines reinforces not only the way the brand looks, but creates a culture surround the brand message which affects the whole organisation, not just marketing.
If there is no consistency in all the different features of your brand then it can look weak and messy leaving confusion around who you are as a company and what the value of your company will be to the customers. It creates an uncertain air which leaves your company open for interpretation. This allows for customers expectations to differ considerably and questions the capabilities of your organisation to meet them.
Brand guidelines are established in order to create a harmonious existence of all your marketing activities for the company. It reduces the potential for confusion or uncertainty for both staff and customers, leaving the company with a strong brand presence that clearly conveys the message they want to portray.
Five ways to build better brand guidelines
1) Strategy; make sure you include you overall business objectives and strategy as well as you marketing strategy within your guidelines so it all focuses towards what the company is trying to achieve.
2) Imagery; provide enough imagery to demonstrate what your guidelines are trying to achieve
3) Clear and concise; make sure your content is easy to understand and engaging. You don’t need to write an essay to explain your point.
4) Balanced – keep the appropriate balance between structure and flexibility. Leave the execution in the hands of the designer which allows for creativity without losing sight of the purpose and effect.
5) Scalable: companies change over time, people change over time which means your brand will need to change over time. Leave your brand guidelines so they can be expanded or revised at any time to fit your needs.