A strong brand can lead to growth, development and long term success for businesses that are in a saturated market and face strong competition. But how do you create a definitive brand for your company? It’s all down to your brand guidelines.
What are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines, also sometimes referred to as style guides, are a set of rules that highlight and explain your specific company brand, and how it is put together. They can include everything from specific colours and fonts, to typography, use of logo and tone of voice. While they are essentially a set of rules, it’s not uncommon for businesses to add to their brand guidelines as they grow; often tweaking or changing them to reflect the needs of the business at any given time. Being flexible with your brand guidelines is important as you don’t want to stifle any creative opportunities, but you should also attempt to work within a set of brand parameters. If you find them too restrictive, it could mean that you’re in need of a re-brand.
Most companies naturally fall into a set of brand guidelines without meaning to. Ask yourself: Are there specific colours you use on your website and marketing materials? Do you think that you communicate with your clients/customers in a certain tone? Are you pretty serious? Are you lighthearted and fun? Quirky? Authoritative? These all fall under the category of brand guidelines. While you may have them in place accidentally, it’s important to set clear brand guidelines for your business that are geared to furthering your business and its brand.
Why are they important?
Brand guidelines can be a tremendous asset to your business. First and foremost, they help you build brand recognition with your clients, both existing and potential. Whatever you produce, whether it’s new products or marketing materials such as emails, leaflets or even event stalls, your brand guidelines ensure that they are instantly recognised as coming from your company. People like what they know and once they recognise you, they’re then able to place their trust in you.
But not only do they help your customers recognise your business, setting you apart from your competition, they can also be extremely useful internally.
Consistency is key when achieving brand recognition and by setting clear brand guidelines from the offset, you increase your effectiveness and your efficiency tenfold. If every member of your team knows the brand guidelines inside and out, it means whatever you produce; new products, infographics, blog posts, gifs and images, they will all be working towards the same goal, and within the same brand guidelines. Without these brand guidelines to follow, you can end up constantly having to redo or edit work that doesn’t fit into your brand; wasting your time and resources.
TL;DR: brand guidelines are like a blueprint for your business and they’re pretty important, okay?