The importance of brand guidelines when it comes to expanding your business cannot be ignored.
A lack of understanding when it comes to brand guidelines is far from uncommon. Without knowledge and understanding of how your guidelines will benefit your business, they are about as much use as a chocolate teapot, which is where we come in, of course.
In this blog, we are painting a picture for our readers, focusing on the importance of brand guidelines and how important they are to you. It’s fair to say when it comes to helping facilitate the growth and development of businesses, we’ve been around the block a fair few times. We’ve seen first-hand how planning and making sure you iron out all the creases can help your business in the long run.
So, let’s get into the juicy stuff, peel back a couple of layers and break brand guidelines down. Onions and ogres have layers…so too does your business, and brand guidelines are right at the core.
What can be done with your brand?
The overarching purpose of your brand guidelines is to highlight what can and can’t be done with your branding. This includes how and where your brand can be used and who it is used to target.
Before you start building your brand guidelines, the key question you need to ask is, “what are the values of the brand itself?” As a business owner, you should think about why you chose to start this journey and what motivates the business each day.
The answers to these questions will make up the values of the brand. For example, if you are an ethical clothing company, your brand guidelines would include values like using ethically sourced materials and aiming to have a neutral carbon footprint.
These guidelines help others understand what your business is about and, therefore, where and where not to place it.
Without a brand guidelines document, it would be almost impossible to promote brand consistency. If there are no set rules that apply to your brand, then it is likely the style and look will vary depending on who is using or promoting it.
Brand consistency is essential for any business. If a potential customer is unsure of where they have seen you before, inconsistent messaging across different platforms cold create confusion. With this confusion comes a lack of trust or understanding of your brand and could to lead to reduced sales.
We know what you’re thinking… “but what sort of info needs to be in my brand guidelines?” If you didn’t know already, we have the answers!
Essentially, when it comes to creating brand consistency, you need to cover all bases. Therefore, there are lots of different pieces of information you need to include within your brand guidelines. For example, all of the various styles of your logo.
In the world we live in, it’s pivotal that you think outside the box; no longer will a one-logo-fits-all approach work. You should be thinking about how your logo looks as an icon on your website, how will it be spaced out across clothing in comparison to how it looks on your Facebook header, and so on.
Logo’s aren’t the only thing that need to remain consistent. Your brand guidelines should also lay out all the necessary colours associated with your brand.
Your logo should portray a certain vibe or evoke emotion within your potential customer, it needs to be used in that style. If your black logo is turned to pink to match a particular advertising campaign, unless it’s entirely relevant to a cause, it shouldn’t happen. A different colour creates a different feeling and vibe, don’t confuse your existing clients or customers.
Your typography should also be something that you aim to keep consistent throughout your activity as a business. Your brand guidelines should have the names and weights for the various fonts used within your brand, from the typeface of the text on your website and marketing to that of the logo and other key branding pieces.
Your tone of voice is something that is often overlooked, it isn’t a tangible asset to the business. But sharing conflicting messages in different voices/writing styles makes your brand appear less credible than one that has a consistent tone of voice.
Your guidelines should highlight the values that your brand follows, but they should also take into consideration the tone of voice used within your marketing, advertising, and social media feeds.
At Create8, we pride ourselves on providing honest, strategic and well-informed advice. As a branding and design agency, we have worked with a whole host of entirely different brands and concepts and honestly, we love it. Every day at Create8 HQ is different, we pour our heart and soul into every project we undertake.
If you are interested in looking at some of our most recent branding projects, check them out, have a look around and let us know what you think.
Put yourself in front of people!
One of the hidden benefits of producing an in-depth set of brand guidelines is that they allow you to put your business in front of people in a uniform and complete format.
If you are looking to showcase your brand to a group of potential investors, your business will be a rapidly sinking ship if you don’t have guidelines prepared. A brand guideline document shows the character and ethos behind the business all at once. Allowing you to sell your ‘brand’ rather than attempting to sell what people deem a good idea.
Having the ability to put your brand in front of someone before you have an actual product is also incredibly advantageous, as it allows you to gauge opinion on your brand before you over-invest. Potentially saving yourself money and time before you order in those thousands of marketing materials.
Think about who can use it!
Having a set of brand guidelines means that people have access to your brand and an understanding of how and where to use it. A brand guidelines document is essential for outsourcing work to an independent agency. The information within the document creates an understanding of possibilities in several different fields, a printer will know your Pantone colours, a web designer will know your fonts and hex values, a content writer will know your ethos and potential tone of voice.
For example, if you are looking for a web designer to freshen up your website and add in a bit of Thierry Henry ‘Va Va Voom’, it’s essential you can provide a set of brand guidelines.
The document you provide governs the work that the designer can do to depict your business correctly. If your designer doesn’t ask about your brand guidelines, they won’t have all the content and information they need to design and develop your project.
Your guidelines are equally crucial for marketing agencies. A marketing agency can understand what sort of content suits your business and which platform is likely to create the best return on investment.
Without a brand guidelines document, you are not giving a marketing agency the information they need to start your project. Guesswork from a marketing agency can lead to inconsistency with your branding in general.
It’s also important to bear in mind, just because a campaign hasn’t worked previously doesn’t mean it should be destroyed entirely. Try keeping similar styles and reworking your efforts based on the user journey of your potential customers.
At Create8, branding literally runs through our veins. Over the years, we have worked on campaigns and projects of various sizes, and those experiences have provided us with the knowledge we have used to construct this blog. Throughout your business journey, it’s important to remember that if you are looking to build something exceptional, you should be thinking about creating a brand and not a business. If you are going to focus on building a brand that is around for the long haul, then you must create brand guidelines for your business to follow.
Your guidelines should be fresh on the mind of everyone who works with or for your business, from the employee who is selling your brand far and wide to the agency structuring your latest marketing campaign.
Leave no stone unturned and educate all of those involved in your brand. You are far more likely to be successful if people understand who they are working for.
If anything you have read in this blog is of interest, or if you want to discuss how we could potentially help your business transform into an unforgettable brand, get in touch! We look forward to hearing from you.
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