Brand identity guidelines are a written manual that explains how a brand should be used internally and externally. A consistent tone of voice, and a consistent brand identity, helps keep a brand consistent.
How you communicate your brand both internally and externally to your partners, affiliates and the general public needs to be consistent and “on brand”. Every brand you’ve ever heard of use their brand guidelines as a resource for cohesion on how to represent their brand.
Brand guidelines (or as we like to call them “your brand book”) contain various sections covering: Your brand identity, your purpose, vision and values as well as personality and tone. Then your brand assets (or as we call it “Your Brand toolkit”) containing appropriate usage of your logo, colour palette, typeface, spacing, etc.
Brand guidelines are an essential resource if you want to create a strong impression and consistently communicate with current and prospective customers. They are a set of rules to create a unified identity and they incorporate multiple elements within your brand, such as colours, your logo, and your typography. Here are other compelling reasons to have a set of brand guidelines.
Keep your brand consistent
Every time someone visits your website sees your business card or receives marketing material from your company, they receive a perception of your brand outside of the content they actually consume. By putting usage rules and restrictions in place, it becomes possible to communicate consistent and familiar brand identity.
Consistency is key in making your brand recognisable and reliable. It ultimately communicates that you know who you are and that you take pride in detailed delivery.
Establish your own design rules to control how your brand is viewed
Your brand guidelines are composed of rules on how to use your brand’s visual elements. These rules will include when to use a logo versus a wordmark, how to space the logo and the hierarchy of colour and typography and other graphic elements.
You probably know your brand’s identity inside and out, but a new employee or someone setting up a new store or location may not. Brand guidelines are a valuable tool for your employees to keep your brand cohesive. Twitter’s brand guidelines do an excellent job of defining acceptable ways that other people can display their logo.
Keeping your brand consistent allows it to be more immediately recognisable with your target audience. Building a recognisable brand can take a lot of time, but your brand can quickly be distinguishable by adhering to your brand guidelines.
When your market recognises you, it can quickly move past ‘who are these people?’ and on to the message you are trying to communicate, and the action you are trying to influence.
In a fast-paced world, you need to stay agile
Doing branding on an ad-hoc basis can leave you stretched too thin for various applications and opportunities. By implementing brand guidelines, you have the strategic clarity and practical tools to quickly and effectively stretch your brand into supporting new opportunities and applications. You can evolve your business without losing equity. You can move into new product lines and not dilute who you are. The consistency gives you a better return on all of your marketing spend. Brand guidelines help you impact and align your business’s image with your intended audience.
What are the benefits of implementing a set of Branding Guidelines?
Build value in your brand
When a brand’s identity is cohesive, it increases the brand’s perceived value. Consistency allows your brand to appear more trustworthy and familiar. By implementing brand guidelines, you make it easier to maintain the quality and integrity of your brand’s image.
Brand guidelines are beneficial to a business in so many ways, it’s surprising that so many companies neglect to use them. Or having said that even have them as a resource in the first place. If you apply your brand willy nilly then don’t be surprised if you are perceived that way by your customers.
It’s so easy and quick to create blog posts, social media posts or even digitally printed communications nowadays. An idea can go from concept to completed so quickly that it doesn’t get thoroughly vetted for brand consistency. And with an internet connection and standard business software, almost any employee has the opportunity to create content that contains their version of your brand. Many employees will do just that, even with the best of intentions. Don’t leave your brand open to a variety of interpretations and customisations if you want your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers. A constantly changing brand personality just doesn’t do the job.