Whether it’s a marketing agency, an online academy, or a watch manufacturer, brand guidelines are a cause for constant discussion. Obviously, the quality of a designed brand can elevate a company or sink it with other forgettable companies.
Uniformity is important because it makes your brand recognisable and credible. Customer loyalty is ultimately a response to brand credibility. Regardless of what industry your brand belongs to, loyal customers will have certain expectations. They will know the values of the brand, the way it looks and the tone in which it communicates.
So, if you have started a business, you need to develop your brand guidelines. Most people believe that a brand is a logo and a slogan. In fact, that’s not the case. There is often confusion about the definition of a brand, its identity and strategy. However, it is crucial to see the difference and understand the essence of each of the elements.
The dynamics of consumer brand perception have undergone significant changes over the past century; indeed, even over the past ten years, the situation has changed dramatically.
And, if earlier people relied more on qualitative indicators of the product, now the priorities have shifted in favour of the emotional aspect – modern consumers prefer companies whose beliefs and goals align with their own. Like any procedure or process, effective brand guidelines provide a clear roadmap of how to handle issues in a particular area, reducing inefficiencies and improving consistency. The purpose of brand guidelines is to clarify marketing basics for your brand, in particular – messaging, content, visuals and any other marketing elements.
Brand recognition relies heavily on the ability to offer consistent representation of your brand. Any decision you make about your brand should help articulate these core elements. The purpose of brand guidelines is to help serve your company’s mission, vision and values and ensure that they are consistently presented across all channels.
In addition to these core statements, you can include additional contextual information. This could be a brief history of the company, a biography of management, or a note from the founder. Having this foundational information helps set the stage for great marketing materials and consistent brand execution.
Brand guidelines comprehensively cover a company’s brand identity, including its:
- Logos: full logos, secondary logos, and icons
- Colour palette: primary and secondary colours
- Typography: font styles, sizes, and spacing
- Other imagery: photos, illustrations, and artwork
- Voice and tone: how the brand use language and emotion
Tone of Voice
This defines how you talk about, and as, the brand. Include adjectives to describe how your brand personality should show up in writing. Are you authoritative and assertive? Or are you friendly and approachable? Should your writers be playful and witty or focus more on facts and explanations?
The art of typography plays a major role in a company’s identity. Through alphabetical letters, a company’s personality and values are conveyed. For these reasons, a company may choose to create their own typeface. Nevertheless, brands may also use a recognisable typeface that they believe carries established perceptions which they want to portray.
Your logo should be the most recognisable feature of your brand. Highlight the section of your brand guidelines pertaining to your logo, including the free space around it, the way it’s presented, and any alternate colours. Also, don’t forget to include allowed locks and icon versions; if you have a horizontal version, a vertical version, a square version, or a label-only version, they should all be mentioned in this section as well.
They say first impressions count. This is especially true when it comes to your brand since your brand colour is likely to be the first thing customers see. Colours elicit emotions and feelings, plus they convey certain information. This enables customers to form an initial impression without even knowing what your product is about. Put simply, brand colours are powerful in helping customers decide whether or not they want to engage.
Here you should include recommendations for any photography, illustration, and iconography. If you use stock photography in your marketing, include sources and examples. If you have a proprietary illustration or icon treatment, include examples and where to find relevant files.
How Pennypop can help
Our team at Pennypop can help you to get your brand in order, by creating rules for consistency in fonts, colours, and logo usage to keep your brand instantly recognisable from anywhere. We will assist you in creating detailed guidelines for every aspect of your brand, to ensure you have everything you need to build the brand marketing strategy without stress.
Like most other standard operating procedures, brand guidelines are only effective if everyone follows them. Communicating the intent behind your company’s guidelines will be critical to gaining interest from your team since the purpose of the guidelines is to make their lives easier and reduce questions about how to represent the brand.
When you start creating guidelines for your brand, be sure to get input from key team members about what might be helpful for their particular needs or role. If you have buy-in and excitement from your key players, they are more likely to convey that attitude to the rest of the company.
Your brand guidelines should not be set in stone, but act as a living document. It’s important to review your brand guidelines regularly, just like any other marketing element. Every year or so, make sure that no updates need to be made and that everything included is still timely and relevant.
Overall, the right brand-building tactics can turn a small player into a strong competitor. You’ll suddenly find that customers trust you more and are more willing to buy your products.
At the end of the day, all the hardships you and your team have gone through to develop the brand guidelines will more than pay off with the success to come. What’s more, don’t assume that brand building and promotion is just for the big players. In fact, having defined brand guidelines can be a strong success factor for small businesses.
If you need help developing your brand guidelines, reach out to our team HERE
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About the Author
Founded in 2022, Pennypop is an Irish Marketing agency specialising in Marketing and Communications. The business is based in Louth, Ireland and supports businesses across Ireland, UK and USA.