Have you ever realized that when you see a golden arches logo, you think of McDonald’s? At the same time, light blue bird reminds you about Twitter and green & yellow stylish flower associates with BP? How were big brands able to build strong brand identity and become recognized by millions? All of them have brand guidelines which they strictly follow. But not only MNCs should build brand identity. Any business that wants to be successful should always follow brand guidelines. It is important to keep your brand in mind in any marketing activity your company does.
But what are brand guidelines? How to create and follow them? Normally brand guidelines are for the internal use. They help your employees not only understand the brand but also convey the brand message to outsiders correctly.
Brand guidelines are very specific, clear and simple rules about how your brand should appear and behave. The creation and maintenance of brand guidelines are usually the responsibility of the marketing department. These guidelines can be displayed in business document form, stylish PDF or web page.
What should you include there? Here is a list of major things that are usually included:
- Brand details: who you are, what you do, brand history, mission, and vision, etc.
- Visual identity: logo’s, do’s and don’ts, colors, typefaces, images
- Social media: do’s, don’ts, language and tones
- Some content examples for reference
What do brand guidelines do?
- Value: help others understand the value of your brand and know how to use it. Studies show that brand-guided companies outperform their competitors, with results that improve profitability.
- Understanding: explain your employees, distributors and marketing agencies why and how they should use the brand to achieve your business objectives.
- Consistency: ensure that all parties use the brand elements consistently.
- Relationship: demonstrate a relationship between your company and other parties associated with you.
- Perception: build and reinforce a consistent perception of your company.
Why are brand guidelines so important? Well, simply because your brand is what helps your customers recognize and trust your business. So it is very important to communicate a consistent message across all the channels that will be easily recognized by many people. By following brand guidelines, there is a higher chance of doing the things in a right order from the very beginning and reduce the chances of re-dos which saves your time and efforts. Finally, as you understand from the list of things included in the guidelines, your brand is not just a logo but a combination of other elements – for example, name, tagline, colors, graphics, customer relationship management (CRM), etc. So guidelines also educate your employees about the brand and help them to become valuable ambassadors of your company.
So don’t be afraid to create brand guidelines that consist of 30, 40 or even 50 pages. The more details you include there, the higher the chances you will convey a consistent message across all of your touchpoints.
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