by Peter Cass
Effective guidelines can be a major asset to your brand and business, and yet they are often overlooked. Our Creative Director, Peter Cass, explains why every company should have brand guidelines.
The crux of the matter is that many people do not understand the commercial value of brand guidelines, and so don’t attach much importance to them. It’s easy to dismiss them on a quotation as a ‘nice to have’ but not something that is mission critical. However, putting effective guidelines in place can not only prevent inconsistencies within your marketing, it can also have a direct impact on all areas of your business. So here are some of the benefits of putting one of these powerful documents together.
A good brand guide will document all aspects of the brand, including the logo and any derivatives, such as typefaces, colour references and graphical assets. But it also provides a single point of reference for company values, positioning and tone of voice. Developing guidelines helps you actually understand what your brand is and what it stands for. It’s not just a set of rules; it’s a living and breathing thing that embodies the evolution of your business. Whether it’s a member of staff or a prospective client, they should be able to read your guidelines and be crystal clear on the identity of the business and what it’s all about. Brand guidelines breed understanding.
One of the most common problems that businesses face with their marketing is inconsistent use of the brand. A proposition that is consistently presented will look more professional and boost recognition, which in turn helps to nurture brand loyalty and increase sales. Directions on how to apply the brand should be included to maintain the integrity of a brand’s visual identity during reproduction. How should the logo be treated by designers? What are your specific Pantone colours for the printer? Are there certain words and phrases that should be avoided by the copywriter?
Consistent use and execution of your brand will create trust and recognition among your target audience. Consumers expect the brand experience to be similar across all platforms and devices, so guidelines are integral to retaining that seamless experience.
Enhancing efficiency and productivity
Guidelines are a valuable resource for your staff and suppliers. Having clearly-defined guidance on how to present the brand can save a lot of time when producing marketing materials for print, web and social media. It allows your team to do their job more efficiently and removes the frustrations of having to hunt down Pantone references or body copy typefaces. If you are engaging the services of a design agency or other third-parties, guidelines will reduce time wastage and unnecessary cost, as everyone involved in the process has a clear idea of what can and can’t be done with the brand. It also sets a solid foundation for any subsequent marketing projects that need to be on-brand, such as a website re-development or content marketing campaign.
Incorrect use of your brand can be damaging to your business and reputation. Easily accessible information and approvals can minimise this risk.
Setting standards and creating culture
By creating brand guidelines you are setting a benchmark for the use and communication of your brand. This develops a positive culture of approaching the business with a professionalism and consistency that will help you to sustain good brand equity and inspire your staff and suppliers. Speaking from experience, it’s always a pleasure to work with a company that values its brand and takes pride in the correct use of it.
When you think about it, your brand is the single biggest asset your company owns, as well as being the key differentiator between you and the competition. Brand positioning influences every aspect of business operations and drives all marketing activities. It should be approached with care and consideration. The clarity, consistency and culture that an effective set of brand guidelines can bring to an organisation surely makes the investment in them a no-brainer?
Looking for some help putting guidelines together? Get in touch