Imagine you have a product with the potential to be a memorable brand. But for that, you need a perfect marketing strategy. A compilation of everything from email marketing and content creation to PPC and website design. While all the components are complex and crucial, they have to be connected to be effective – to be memorable.
That’s where brand guidelines come in – something that goes far beyond a logo or icon. It’s an investment to ensure that all your marketing efforts are working towards the common goal of gradually building up brand recognition among potential and existing customers.
Brand Guidelines communicate a variety of things about your brand, both internally to your organization or business, as well as externally to your partners, affiliates, and the general public. It can range from the core values and vision to elements like colours, imagery, fonts, tone, and even the feeling you get when you see one of their ads. In a nutshell, brand guidelines ensure consistency and continuity with your brand’s visual identity and underpinning strategy.
Still not convinced? Here are 5 compelling reasons to have your own set of brand guidelines.
Consistency Is The Key
The key to creating a strong brand identity is consistency. Brand consistency is the pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. The more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding. A harmonious correlation between words, design, or perspective helps clarify what your business stands for, allowing your business to communicate your purpose, personality, and promises.
3 critical areas where brand consistency drive customer loyalty:
- Customer Experience – Providing a consistent customer experience fosters trust and confidence in your brand.
- Values – Backup your promises with actions.
- Brand Identity – Consistency in visual components make your brand recognizable and help you stand out from your competition.
Example: The consistent red and white branding with the iconic cursive logo of Coca-Cola evokes the same feeling of positivity, authenticity, inclusiveness no matter where you are in the world.
Recognize and Recollection
According to a study by Nielsen, a global marketing research firm, “consumers only buy from a small repertoire of brands, and the average customer spends 13 seconds purchasing those branded items in store. In other words, when your customer scans the shelves, they reach for what’s familiar and they do it fast. This is known as ‘instinct buying’”.
So, when you are looking for chips, you instinctively move towards the colourful packets of lays. You don’t check out the brand, you know the colour, size, and taste. That is why consistent brand recognition is so important.
Brand guidelines help you deliver a cohesive brand experience, making it easier for people to recognize your value. When you consistently provide high-quality content, customers come to rely on you and—even better—seek out your content. They trust you will deliver what they want every time, and that trust is the basis of a long-term relationship.
When your brand’s identity is cohesive, the perceived value of the brand increases. Consistency allows your brand to appear more professional and reliable. By implementing brand guidelines, you ensure that you’re always putting out content you’re proud of along with maintaining the quality and integrity of your brand.
Aesthetics Over Everything
Clear communication and good design make your reader/viewer’s life a lot easier. Simple acts of alignment, data visualization, aesthetically pleasing colour, or readable typography help creators design content more effectively. Also, it shows your customers that you care about your brand and value their time.
Apart from the visual aspect, an inconsistent brand experience not only weakens your marketing efforts – it promotes distrust among your customers. You can initiate the best social media marketing campaigns and a series of blog posts, but if they don’t align the body with values, it won’t resonate.
While launching a new product or re-branding the existing ones, a brand can get stretched too thin. By implementing brand guidelines, you have a general direction and tools to effectively maintain consistency while increasing the quality of the content. Brand guidelines help you stay sane and aim your business’s interests with your intended audience.
What is Included in Brand Guidelines?
For brand recognition, brand colours have to be simple and consistent. In the past, brands picked one or two colours but the present-day brands multiple color schemes to add vitality to their brand communications.
Whatever the choice, it’s a good idea to make your core brand colors clear. Don’t forget to include the necessary hex codes, RGB values, and CMYK color codes to make sure your colours are presented consistently across media. Along with these instructions, you must mention the shade variations, and some do’s and don’ts.
Choose typography that matches your brand’s visual style. It is one of those things that go unnoticed if it’s done well but sticks out like a sore thumb if it’s not.
To enhance your brand experience, use a brand style guide to ensure you are using consistent typefaces and families, font sizes, and the hierarchy of the fonts across your collateral.
The logo is one of the most consistently visible parts of your brand. And how your logo should be displayed in different formats is an important part of your guidelines. A brand guideline should include size restrictions, colour combinations, and how your logo should look on different backgrounds making it tough to go wrong.
It doesn’t hurt to give some concrete examples, making it dummy-proof. Here are some of the dos and don’ts:
Brand voice refers to the words that your brand chooses to use to show your company’s values and personality. And the importance of having a consistent brand voice in your messaging should not be underestimated.
It is crucial to spend some time finding the style that resonates with your audience and aligns with the personality of your brand. Once you have it figured out, ensure that it’s replicated across your channels.
Skype has gone above and beyond in defining their voice–including a ton of dos and don’ts for grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, naming, and tone.
Every brand is backed up by a compelling brand story. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the brand story wraps up a company’s vision, mission, and core values. The best kind of stories add a dash of their personality.
For example- Land Rover’s campaign video ‘ The Land of Land Rover’ offers a brilliant example and a reminder that the best stories are not your own, but those of your customers and your fans. Caring for those stories brings them to life and prioritizing them over your product message makes them iconic.
Image & Data Visualization
Imagery could include the style of photographs, colour, and content your company uses on website or marketing collaterals that contributes to the perception of your brand.
A brand guideline creates a general guideline for imagery (photos, illustrations, charts, infographics, etc.) that are to be included in your brand’s promotional materials.
A brand book is the physical manifestation of the living, breathing concept that is your brand. Without a guiding document, any brand can spin out into inconsistent chaos. In an attempt to slow that process, Marketing Departments often develop Brand usage guidelines. These guiding documents have a lot of names: Brand Book, Brand Guidelines, Brand Bible, Brand Usage Guide, CI Manual, Identity Guidelines, etc.
Irrespective of several names, a brand guide’s sole motivation is to keep your brand identity consistent, recognizable, and still unique, even as several different minds work to develop content for your brand. Since a style guide defines a brand’s identity, it’s important to spend the time and resources to get it right.
Get in touch with us, and we promise to build a style guide that helps you maintain a strong, cohesive, and distinguishable brand.