4 Reasons You Need Brand Guidelines
The best businesses follow a brand guide. Whether it’s been consciously constructed or morphed over time, the brand guide is the company’s “bible” — the guidepost for all internal and external communication efforts. Everything within the brand guidelines will serve to dictate your marketing strategies effectively. At Catalyst, we understand the importance of brand guidelines and want to carry that knowledge onto you. While creating brand guidelines is time-consuming, there are numerous reasons why going through the effort is worth it.
If you want to appear as if you know what you’re doing, you want to stick to one particular “tone of voice.” Sit down with a team and decide if you’re going to be more friendly, casual, professional, or assertive. The list can go on and on for the different tones of voice you can use – which is why it’s best to have more than one opinion in the room. In addition to the tone of voice, colors and logos will also play a crucial part in professionalism. You’ll want to make sure that your logos and headers correspond throughout your socials and portray the same idea.
Anytime someone visits your website, receives an email, or sees your business card, they should be able to identify your company from the get-go. Having rules and guidelines set into place will provide your business with a consistent brand identity. By remaining consistent, your consumers will see the effort and attention to detail that your brand emanates. It’s more than an eye-appealing trait; it’s a demonstration of your company’s character.
Following consistency, being recognizable is another valuable trait that comes with having brand guidelines. Being recognizable takes a lot of work, time, and patience, but it pays off when you reach larger audiences. The stronger and more consistent your brand is, the more likely your audience will recognize your brand and spot you out amongst competitors. It also helps to serve as a stepping stone for future products or logos that emerge from your brand. As a result, you’ll introduce new products but remain the same brand that your customers know and love.
As stated before, brand guidelines will serve as the company’s “bible,” or the “go-to place” for any current or new employees to reference. Having brand guidelines means that your employees will always be representing your brand the correct way. It makes the training process more straightforward, and current employees won’t have to worry about making a mistake. It is wise for you to store every logo, color code, font, and detail in a central, shared location for everyone to access.
Common Components of a Brand Style Guide
To get you started on the right track, here are some key components that your brand style guide should contain.
- The logo is the face of your brand, so you want to spend as much time needed to nail this asset. The style guide should show any primary and secondary logos along with all color formats. Some color formats to showcase in your brand guide should be Pantone, CMYK, RGB, and hex codes. These codes will prove helpful for web developers, graphic designers, and printers to maintain the logo’s color across all mediums.
- The colors you use should remain consistent throughout your social media profiles, website, and advertising. You’ll want to have a handful of colors for your brand to allow room for creativity and design. In particular, you should have designated primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. The variety of color codes mentioned above should also apply here.
- There are thousands of fonts available to use, but only a few will genuinely encompass your brand. Do test trials with various fonts and styles – italics, uppercase, lowercase, and bold. The fonts will serve multiple purposes such as graphics, website copy, flyers, and so on. Make sure to present examples of correct font usage in the brand guidelines.
In addition to the look of your brand, you should also lay out the foundation within your brand history, core values, mission statement, and so on. By laying these out very clearly, your employees and customers can better understand your brand. You should also lay out other components such as voice, character traits, target audience, and market research.
You can use brand guidelines to your advantage as long as they’re done right. So take your time, grab a team, and focus on what truly makes up your brand. Not only will this serve as your company’s foundation, but it will also serve as a resource if you choose to rebrand or start a new company. Most businesses that fail are those that never truly gain and express their sense of identity – no solid ground to stand on. So whether you choose to start on your own or partner with our expert team at Catalyst, creating brand guidelines is not a step to be overlooked.