Yes, EVERY business should have some kind of branding guide.
Your branding guide could be a thick booklet or a single page, depending on your specific company’s needs - but every business can benefit from having a single point of reference which keeps everyone in the company on the “same page” when communicating with your public audience.
So. . . let’s talk about BRANDING GUIDES. . .
What exactly is a Branding Guide?
A branding guide for your business is an outline of how your business will present itself to everyone - from vendors to clients to the world at large. It tells your team how to communicate while staying true to your brand.
Why is it important?
A well-planned branding guide is a blueprint for presenting your brand clearly and consistently. Keeping your brand consistent is key in how your customers will interact with you, and a branding guide can help you do that. Your branding guide provides a structure to be used whether you are starting a new advertising campaign or someone in your office is sending an email to a client.
I thought this was just about style.
Well yes, it is. Your brand style needs to support your brand story. The colors that you use, the fonts, your logo and the tone of voice used in your communications tells a lot about that story. Your customers will have made a judgement about you before they even talk to you or order your products. If your style contradicts your story, then you are pushing away the customers you want and attracting the ones that don’t want you - not a very efficient way to do business! If your style attracts them and supports your brand story, then you are more than halfway home.
What's included in a Branding Guide?
A good branding guide covers two important areas: visual design and text/content presentation. It provides a single point of reference for all public-facing materials produced by your company. There are many things that can go into a branding guide, but it should, at the least, include:
- Your official logo and usage guidelines
- Your tagline if you have one
- Brand colors for digital and print formats
- Company fonts and typography
Your branding guide could also include any variants of your logo and when they should be used, any other graphics that should be associated with your company, a values statement, use of photography guidelines, page layout and corporate tone. In short, it should include everything that will help a newly hired employee prepare a press release that looks and sounds like it came from your company.
OK, I'm convinced. What do I need to do?
Before you can create a branding guide to define your company brand standards, you need to define your company carefully:
Who are your customers and what are they seeking?
Why should they pick you over your competitors?
What values or personality do you want to project?
Answering these questions is not easy. It will take research and time, putting yourself in your customer’s place and determining what message attracts them to your business - and how you can improve on that message. At 11 Fingers, we often prepare several rounds of questionnaires and interviews with clients to help them with this process.
Defining your brand is not a values statement pasted on the wall of an office. This is your “elevator pitch”. This is your “Hi. Nice to meet you. Here is why you should do business with me. This is what I offer that makes my product better.” If you could distill your company sales message down to a paragraph, what would you say?
Once you and your design team have a good understanding of your company story, it’s time to start putting together the visual tools that you will use to communicate that story. Your design team will help you in choosing a logo, brand colors, fonts, and other design elements will introduce you to your customer and stay true to your story.
Let's do this!
Why not give us a call and our design team will be happy to discuss your story and how we can help you define your brand.