When it comes to your brand, you can’t afford to confuse your brand image in the minds of potential customers and customers, it’s always easier to start with the best possible brand guidelines than to go back and adjust to the mess.
Whether you notice that your team doesn’t produce the right content for your brand or you’ve never heard of brand guidelines before, this article contains everything you need to know to get your brand in the right place.
In this article, we will cover:
- What are the brand guidelines?
- What is the purpose of the brand guidelines?
- Why are brand guidelines important?
- What should the brand guidelines include?
- How to create brand instructions in 5 steps
What are the brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines are a complete resource that explains how to showcase your brand to the world, including message style, fonts, colors, acceptable position, changes to brand images and more.
Your brand guide is usually available in an easily shared online format, which is important because it allows new outlets, PR companies, independent employees, marketing agencies, influencers and more access to information about your brand.
What is the purpose of the brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines allow you to create a consolidation with your brand and how to view it. If you have partnerships with several companies, you can rest in mind because they all have exactly the same information about your guidelines.
Instead of having to post long emails, you can simply attach one document explaining everything.
Why are brand guidelines important?
Brand guidelines are critical for any business, whether they’ve just opened their doors or are celebrating the company’s 50th birthday.
Without brand guidelines, it’s very easy for a brand identity to become blurred. With established guidelines and sharing them with the right parties, the brand can ensure that it is displayed the way you want it to the world.
If you work regularly with independents or develop a team quickly, you need a way to control the brand’s voice.
From the marketing version to graphics and sales bulletins, your brand guide ensures that everyone has been on the same page since the beginning of the project.
Brand identity and recognition
The image that appears in the mind of potential customers and your customers when they think about your brand is what you strive to keep as it is.
You don’t want to be confused about colors, logos or fonts. When they think about your product or service, you want to have a clear picture of your brand.
With brand guidelines, your company can feel comfortable knowing that your brand will always be displayed in the right light, making it easier for your customers to recognize your brand during decision-making processes.
Brand guidelines are incredibly important for every business. If you don’t currently have one or haven’t updated it since its inception many years ago, start creating brand guidelines.
What should the brand guidelines include?
We’ll move further in the next section. To preview what’s coming quickly, you should include the following items in each company’s brand guidelines:
- Brand essence (sound, tone and personality)
- View the value provided by the brand
- Messaging pillars
- Color palettes
- Logo and its acceptable forms
- Lines and printing
Examples of what is allowed and what is not.
When the right time is allocated to ensure that all aspects of your brand guidelines are unchecked, you can feel comfortable knowing that your brand will have a unified identity going forward.
How to create brand guidelines
Select the appropriate format in brand guidelines
Before creating your instructions, you need to know which way to access them.
Some companies use digital guidelines only while others use printing or a combination of both. We advise all companies to have at least guidelines for the digital brand.
However, some companies can still benefit from printed guidance (such as those that still have to do business face-to-face).
For digital guidelines, a PDF is a great start. File sizes are small enough to store on a computer, and it’s easy to view PDF files on the cloud or in your web browser.
At present, you may see brand guides in the digital motion picture book format. These create the same look, feel, or printed guide as they are displayed on your computer.
Select items in brand guidelines
Step 2 will be the second-longest step in the process. This is when you decide what to include to get an effective brand guide.
This step should not be rushed, and you may go through many ideas for the elements that must be included before moving on to Step 3. This is normal and foreseeable.
Keep in mind the following basic elements included in most brand guides.
Your brand story explains your basic principles and what makes you stand out from others in the industry.
This section may be one page or many pages you want. This is where you have the freedom to control how your company’s story is told.
Purpose: Why was your brand created?
Vision: What will your brand achieve in the future?
Mission: What brand is set up to complete and how will you do that?
Values: What principles guide your brand?
In addition to the above, you can include your history, features, and other relevant information (such as patents, awards, etc.) about your brand background.
Your brand has a voice, just as everyone on this earth has their own voice. You must create a coherent tone and message that is easily recognizable and linked to your brand.
To do this, your brand guide must include:
- The essence of the brand
- Valuable site
- Messaging pillars
By explaining your voice, tone and personality, you can rest assured that your brand will look the same through any content produced.
Brand visuals and design guidelines
One of the most distinguishable aspects of your brand is that it is visible. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Lines and printing
- Interactive elements
Web design and programming
This will be one of the most important areas of your brand guidelines.
You’ll want to sit down and determine exactly what your brand wants to relate to in your customers’ minds. This means selecting more than just your logo. This section should not be rushed.
Diverse brand elements
Some brands may contain other elements that create recognition. Some of these include sound and smells.
Because each brand is unique, it is important to determine whether there are any unique aspects to include.
Create brand guidelines
This section may be completed within a few hours or a few weeks, depending on how well you know your brand items and how you want to describe your brand.
While designing your brand’s guidelines is important, this is the last aspect to focus on now, your first and primary goal is to make sure you can accurately describe how your brand is presented to the world.
When it comes to messaging your brand, you’ll need to add commonly used examples such as:
- Social version
- Press statements
- Marketing emails
- Promotional content
- In-app message responses
If there are any words or phrases you don’t want to associate with your brand, this is the time to include them.
If you feel compelled, you can even create templates that make it easier for anyone to read the guide to create a marketing company that complies with your brand’s message guidelines.
Visual elements of your brand take up the largest space in our customers’ minds. You want to make sure that your brand identity remains consistent by providing details about:
- Logo mode
- Color palettes
- Flow of printing
- Image instructions
You’ll need to make sure you include different acceptable logo shapes, including changes in the location of acceptable items and colors. If you don’t want to change your logo at all, make sure it’s clear.
In addition, you need to include dimensions requirements and position instructions for all brands and images associated with your brand.
Otherwise, you’ll find your logo and photos used in every way except the way you want.
Make the instructions easy to access
However, if you want to create your brand guide, make sure it’s easy to share internally and externally, that’s not something you want to specify on the day someone needs it. Develop a system that makes it easier for you or your team to share instructions quickly.
Use a shared drive or cloud-based server or create a page on your website that is easily accessible.
Pro Tip: Make sure that any company, brand, influencer, etc. you currently work with have your new brand guidelines at hand.
This will prevent them from using your old brand. This also gives you an opportunity to tell them where updated copies will be added in the future.
Update Your brand guide regularly
While all steps on how to create brand guidelines are important, Step 5 is very important. You should constantly update your brand guide.
Even if nothing changes throughout the year, issue a new brand guide annually to ensure your brand image stays the same. You don’t want someone to be working on old information.
If something changes, make sure you point to it. Because this evidence can sometimes be long, you don’t want to miss an important part of the information.
As you can see, brand guidelines are vital for companies of all ages, sizes and industries. No matter where you are in the process of developing or maintaining your brand, you need effective and clear brand guidelines.
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