Does your company need brand guidelines?
Quite simply, brand guidelines ensure your company is represented in a consistent and compelling way. If you want to sell, promote and communicate with people efficiently, brand guidelines are needed. It’s the way you talk to the public, your logo would often be the basis of this, but there is much more to it.
What are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines are a document, printed and/or digital, that dictate how your company image should be portrayed in all the ways your brand is promoted or shown. They can indicate how your logo should be displayed, any logo variants (eg. on a black background) and how they should be spaced against other design elements.
They should include the colours and fonts that must be used throughout all communication materials and designs.
The guidelines can also tell the story of your company and it’s message, it’s ethos and it’s direction.
A small company may only need a page or two to document the essentials, while a larger business could require a much larger set of guidelines including all of the above and more.
It’s not just technical marketing speak
It might sound like a technical term, something that isn’t worth considering… you have your logo and that’s all you need, right?
Well, even with a great logo, you could still be communicating with your customers in a confusing and disorganised way, without realising it.
Brand guidelines could easily be called ‘communication guidelines’ or ‘marketing guidelines’, even if you’re a small business you’ll still be communicating in some way with your target customers. You want to make sure they recognise who you are and what you do, telling them in a clean and precise manner.
Look to the big brands
Consider some of the big brands, like McDonalds or Apple for example, really look at how they communicate. Everything the big brands do is consistent throughout their communication, all their establishment signage, tv and web adverts, billboards, posters etc, they all have the same look and feel, using the same fonts and type of imagery, they use the same style across all the ways they communicate.
A McDonalds television advert will feel connected in style and message to the adverts you see on the street. This can be subliminal, happening on a subconscious level, but it all reinforces their brand message, it all works as one consistent campaign. They may have lots of different designers working on adverts but they’ll all be using the company brand guidelines to ensure their style is always the same.
You should do it too
Even a small or medium sized company can keep their promotion ‘on brand’, perhaps a scaled down approach, but still effective.
You may just have a website and use social media to promote your products or services. Is your brand’s style consistent across these different communication channels? Are colours and fonts the same? Is your tagline or message the same?
It can sometimes be difficult to keep track of how your brand is being represented in a variety of designs, especially when every designer has their own thoughts on how to do it best.
Do you have numerous ways of communicating with your customers? Have you tasked different designers to create adverts and marketing material, designing posters and online adverts? Take a closer look at how these designs work together. Do they seem to have a uniform style? Do they appear to be consistent in appearance?
If it all looks haphazard, confusing and disjointed, using lots of different styles, fonts and imagery types, then it’s likely your potential customers are feeling confused too.
Some simple guidelines can help avoid these issues. With everyone working from the same set of rules, your company’s designs and marketing materials will fall in line, and this consistency will help to boost your brand image.
Get a brand review
If you’d like a review of your brand, please get in touch with me. I can help you develop a consistent, recognisable style and brand guidelines, keeping your company brand on track and ensuring your customers know what you are all about.