Brand guidelines or brand standards are the basic set of rules for all the content that delivers your brand’s message to your clients and customers. Guidelines often include instructions on how content creators and marketers convey the brand’s history, future goals, statement message, and personality.
A company must have up-to-date brand guidelines to build a loyal customer base and a unique identity. Brand guidelines help keep your business organized and ensure that everyone producing content for the company follows the same tone-of-voice. Content rules may vary from company to company, but there is some information that any business should include in their brand guidelines.
What are Brand Guidelines?
Think of your brand guidelines or brand style guides as a rule book that helps you communicate your brand to your audience. It doesn’t just include company details but also notes regarding your brand’s voice, tone, style, and approach.
When developing your unique brand guidelines, you must understand what your brand stands for and be able to articulate that message clearly. Along with that, your support staff and employees must also have a clear view of the brand guidelines that your company represents. Since your brand represents you and your staff’s collective efforts, if both the parties have a thorough understanding of your brand guidelines and how they work, your business can successfully maintain a cohesive message and identity.
Brand guidelines are what defines your company’s personality, its core values, and what it represents. Brand values evolve, and so should your brand guidelines. So make sure that you regularly update your brand’s policies, keeping up with the market’s changing demands. In the absence of a substantial brand guideline, your company would lack character and the ability to stand out amongst other businesses within your industry.
For most companies, their brand guidelines include rules and directions in the following areas:
Brand History and Mission
Think about your brand’s history. Depending on your brand’s history and branding elements, you must choose whether you want your statement style to be calm, quirky, or sleek and classic. You may also choose to be experimental, provided your brand ethics allow it. Ensure that your guidelines have a brief overview of your history, mission, and vision, as it would affect your business’s branding.
Logos, Colors, and Fonts
Most brands have official logos, colors, and fonts that are unique to their business. Ensure that you include all information about your brand logo, specific CMYK or RGB colors, and official font style in your guidelines. Explain why you chose those specific ones and if they have any particular significance.
Often, logos or colors have intricate meanings hidden beneath; make sure you elaborate on that in your brand guidelines. For example, if you deal with maternity care products and your logo features an infant seeing the light of the world, explain the significance of the logo.
Voice and Tone
The voice and tone that you use to communicate impact your guideline to a great extent. To ensure that your messaging is uniform, maintain consistency in your style. Provide clear guidelines about your social media usage and blog posts. For example, specify whether posts should be written in the first or second person. You should also provide notes regarding the level of formality (or lack thereof) expected in social media posts.
Over time, every brand evolves, and so should its guidelines. Incorporate the need of the hour in your branding guideline; include the date of the last update and a tentative date of the next update to ensure that the guide is continually evolving to reflect any branding changes. Take suggestions from your staff, clients, and customers about making changes to your branding and branding guidelines. Keeping in mind the present times where there’s a public health threat prevailing globally, you can elaborate on how your brand helps your clients deal with the crisis better.
Get Professional Help
Consultation with professionals can be beneficial if you are starting new or going through a phase of rebranding. A digital and creative agency can help you conduct market research to improve your brand and reflect on your brand guidelines. With an outsider’s perspective, you can develop guidelines that ensure your content speaks to your audience and conveys your message effectively.
The Guide to Growth
Having strong brand guidelines can help you carve out your niche in the industry and, at the same time, promote growth and goodwill. When your customers know what you stand for, they are more likely to get drawn towards your business. Brand guidelines decide what the customer’s first impression about your brand will be, so think creatively and choose style elements with great thought and attention to detail.