10 Jan Brand loyalty: why brand guidelines matter to your business
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Did you know that the way your business is perceived is completely within your control? All it takes is a set of clear, constructive brand guidelines.
Investing time and resources in a set of guidelines will reap huge rewards over time, in terms of financial savings, clear communications and the establishment of an engaging, memorable brand.
Whether your business is a small start-up or a multi-national corporation, your brand must remain clear and consistent at all times. Get the foundations right and you can be confident that everything will come together visually and verbally, communicating a strong coherent message.
A weak and uncertain brand will soon become diluted and lose its power and reputation for quality. Your brand represents the identity and personality of your business. How you interpret this internally and, more crucially, externally, will underpin how your audience feels and talks about you. What message do you want to put across?
Consistency is the key to building a powerful and instantly recognisable brand. Staying true to your core message and ensuring that all your marketing communications follow the same, clear brand guidelines will help emphasise your brand’s voice and amplify its impact.
Brand guidelines should include clear direction about how your logo should be used, as well as your typeface preference and chosen colour palette. These all help cement consumer recognition and encourage loyalty and trust.
Ultimately, brand consistency brings clarity and purpose and prevents confusion over what you are trying to say. Think about where you want your brand to be in the future and start as you mean to go on.
Recognise the four brands below?
These four big brands have understood the power of an instantly recognisable colour palette. Adhering consistently to this part of their brand guidelines over time and across all marketing communications has led to mass consumer recognition, simply through the colours they chose for their logos.
What are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines are a set of standards that must be followed when creating any and all marketing materials. They ensure total uniformity wherever the brand is used, both internally or externally. Brand guidelines should communicate what assets are available to everyone associated with the business, and how and when they should be used.
They also ensure that your message is delivered to a high standard across all levels of a business or sector. Employees, managers and suppliers are all on the same page and are all obliged to implement the exact same strategies to help create a strong, unified identity.
Investing in a set of brand guidelines and providing the right set of brand tools will therefore benefit your business at every stage of its growth. Every person working for your organisation is an important brand advocate. Being able to provide them with a set of clearly defined guidelines will make their ‘ambassadorial’ role easier.
What should your brand guidelines cover?
A good set of brand guidelines should share several common elements. These include, but are not necessarily restricted to the following areas:
The guidelines should give clear instructions about the design, colour palate and sizing of your logo, as well as any rules around its positioning, exclusion areas, format variations. They should also show how to use it in partnership with other brands.
2. Colour Palette
This is an important area to cover, as it specifies the range of corporate colours available to designers and other suppliers, including Pantone references, for consistent reproduction across all media.
Typography guidelines define all approved corporate fonts, weights, spacing and layouts to ensure clarity and legibility in any written communications or marketing materials. This will normally include the use of fonts in logos, as well as titles, sub-headings, picture captions and standard text.
4. Tone of Voice
A crucial part of any brand guidelines, this sets down in writing exactly how the business must communicate with its audiences. What its values and key messages are, and the effect it is aiming to have on its audiences. Guidance on how to talk about the business and any specific words or phrases to use – or avoid – in any and all marketing communications. This might also include advice on grammatical issues, such as whether to use the first or third person in sentences and how to format numbers and dates.
Another useful area to cover in your brand guidelines is the use of images and photographs to remain consistent with your writing style and graphic design. There should be details of where people can access a library of approved images and photos, as well as guidance for anyone seeking to take additional photos or source new images. Technical details, such as preferred photo sizes, file types etc. can also prove useful.
6. Graphic Elements
Complementing the previous section about images, detailed advice about additional visual components and graphic design guidelines are good to include, so that they will further enhance and complement the brand identity in future marketing communications.
7. Digital Assets
Finally, a good way to make people’s lives easier and therefore make them more likely to adhere to your brand guidelines in the longer term is to provide a set of approved templates that will help them create consistent, correct digital media in all the appropriate formats.
There’s always a good time
Even if your business is well established with a solid identity that has evolved over a period of time, a strategic, multi-disciplined approach across web, print and new media will undoubtedly add some valuable renewed clarity and direction to your brand.
At Detail, we work alongside our clients, acting as their brand guardians and helping them develop comprehensive guidelines that work seamlessly throughout their marketing communications.
We are passionate about what we do and can assist you with new concept design projects, or help you shape and develop an existing brand. Please get in touch to find out more.