Creating a brand guide is a great way to keep your business consistent by setting a president of how and when to use your branding such as colors, logos, etc. From digital marketing to developing a branded letterhead, it is important to implement brand guidelines so your company is recognized across all business assets and efforts. Integrating your brand, and in the correct manner, can be a simple task as long as you have a predetermined set of rules.
What goes into a brand guide and why do you need one?
A brand guide is designed to give everything you create, post, or share a consistent look and tone so it becomes a part of your company’s image. This includes your brand values, story, services/products, and differentiators. The first step to making your company consistent across all platforms is using the same set of colors and texts, similar imagery, familiar messaging, etc.
Take a look at your existing brand elements, do you notice a theme across all your business material? Or are there areas that lack a visual association to your business?
Below are components of a brand guide that your company should follow in order to uphold brand consistency to generate brand recognition and awareness.
Tone and Messaging
To develop a consistent tone, you need to identify how you want your company to be viewed. This includes determining your company’s values and how these influence your overall business strategies.
You can demonstrate these values by framing your messaging and tone to reflect your company. For example, if you share the core value of integrity, you could blend integrity into your messaging from social posts to client communication to website copy.
Your company’s mission statement is a great place to start and find the tone you wish to share. Do you want to come across as warm and friendly or assertive and professional? These are the identifying questions you should be able to answer before moving forward in creating a brand guide.
Utilizing your logo in all of your content is an easy way to build brand recognition and trust. Your company must actively incorporate its logo fluidly into all of your emails, social media accounts, website content, etc. A brand guide will show the proper way to use your logo, for example against different backgrounds, size restrictions, color options, etc., so not only is it included on content, but it is properly displayed.
Finding a color scheme to match your logo and brand is a very important step to building a brand that goes beyond the logo itself. Your custom color palette will guide what specific colors to use while customizing all your business material.
When choosing brand colors it is important to understand your users’ experience. In order to understand your users, you need to take into account their feelings, motivations, and values as well as efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction in relation to different colors. By understanding what the user is looking for both in the content and feel of your messaging, it becomes easier to develop communication through the use of your brand colors.
An important element in your brand design is the ways in which you use imagery to convey your brand’s story and style. From graphics to photographs to videos, imagery often becomes a content’s primary attention-grabber. The imagery needs to encompass what your brand stands for and the story behind it. A bright and cheerful photograph versus an animated graphic has very different connotations. Determining which type of imagery reflects your company’s style will show how you can use similar imagery across platforms.
Letterhead and Business Cards
Direct client material, such as letterheads and business cards, need to be clearly associated with your company. By using custom letterhead design that is used for all of your documented interactions, you will ensure your brand is a part of every conversation you have. The other way to add branding to your company is through the use of business cards. Make a template to be used for all of your employees and have the company logo prominent so the recipient can easily see not only the person the card is from but the company as well.
A brand guide should serve as a map to how you want your company to be communicated and the ways to effectively and consistently do so. It outlines how designing, messaging, and delivery of all business content should be created and executed.