We all know that branding is important for your business, whatever sector you’re in. It’s what underpins everything you do and defines to a large extent, your standing in the marketplace.
Just as vital nowadays, however, is producing a set of brand guidelines that people associated with your company in a variety of ways can use. It’s something that businesses all too often ignore – they spend many hours and a lot of money creating the right look, feel and value to their brand without considering how it is going to be used on promotional material by other people.
What Are Brand Guidelines?
Essentially, they are a list of instructions or style guide for using your brand elements. In its simplest sense this could, for example, dictate the size of your logo on leaflets, flyers and online material. It will probably involve basic aspects such as the font to be used, the colour palette for various designs and the positioning of headers. It can even include the type of language used in communications.
The Benefits of Brand Guidelines for Businesses
Brand identity needs one major thing to bed itself in and engage customers – it needs to be consistent. If you give your marketing over to a third party such as a marketing team, the last thing you want is for your brand to be altered because someone in that department thought it looked better done a certain way.
- The purpose of branding is to create a common understanding of the values of your company and what you stand for. It’s key that this remains the same across all platforms.
- It may be easy to control your brand on your website or with your promotional literature but what about social media and other areas?
- Brand guidelines are equally vital when your business begins to grow. New people come on board and won’t have a clear idea of what their responsibilities are if you don’t make it explicit. A document telling them exactly what they can and can’t do is therefore highly important.
- Even if you are still a small company, it’s best not wait. Get your guidelines down in writing to avoid any confusion as you grow.
The Elements of Brand Guidelines
The first thing you need to do is put your guidelines into a formal document that can be sent to third parties to ensure they follow your rules. This has to be more than a simple one page outline.
- Include an attractive cover and a contents section so that individuals and companies know that this is an important document.
- The guidelines should include an overview of your brand ethos and where you sit in the world. This should also relate your values, who your customers are and even where you expect to go in the future.
- The next issue to cover is how your logo is used. This can include where it is placed in any document or promotional material, the size and whether there are any particular restrictions.
- You may have a specific colour that is associated with your brand so you will need to make designers and other marketing professionals as well as staff aware of what this is and how it should be used.
- Another aspect is the font you use – the last thing you want is for someone to throw in a quirky font that doesn’t match your brand.
- You should cover things such as layout, for instance, whether you have margins aligned or not and when to use typefaces such as bold and italics.
- There’s how images and other graphics are used in your promotional material. That can include positioning as well as style and size.
- Finally, you should include examples of where your brand has been used to highlight best practice.
Good, strong branding guidelines not only make your own staff feel more confident when sending out material, they help with third party designers and marketers who are trying to help you sell your product or service. If you want to keep control of your brand across all mediums, producing guidelines should be top of your list of things to do.