In today’s overcrowded marketplace, more and more businesses are recognizing the value of having a strong brand. However, even as companies invest more in branding, many make the mistake of forgoing a branding guide.
If you want your brand to be successful, you need a branding guide – plain and simple.
A brand style guide keeps everyone on the same page and provides a clear road map for all your advertising and branding efforts. Without it, sooner or later you will stray from the path. Branding guides get even more important the more people you have working on your advertising, because it gets harder and harder to stay focused with large teams.
A branding guide covers a variety of elements to inform your company’s marketing and advertising, keeping it consistent with your established brand. At the most basic level, a brand guide covers elements such as logos, fonts, color palettes, and writing style.
Beyond that, a brand guide includes high-level concepts such as brand personas, brand voice, tonality, and brand promise. These are all strategies and concepts that keep you centered on who your brand is, what makes you different, and your specific audience.
For example, brand personas cover a detailed description of the demographics, lifestyles, interests, and values of your target audience. On the other hand, brand voice and tonality cover the personality in your brand’s communication style – is the language you use formal or casual? Is it witty, or more serious? All voices and tones have their place, and your branding guide helps you focus on the best communication style for your company.
Let’s dive into some of the benefits of a branding guide.
It Provides Consistency, Which is Paramount
A brand is only as strong as it is consistent. Whether it’s font, colors, messaging, tone, or art styles, it needs to be consistent across all channels. That includes your website, print materials, social media, trade show booths and so forth. Without a branding guide, that can be a very difficult task.
Every color that doesn’t quite fit and every line of copy that doesn’t mesh adds another degree of uncertainty and confusion to your messaging. It makes it harder for audiences to know who you are and where you stand. Consistency is the key to helping audiences build a strong, cohesive impression of what you’re all about. By reinforcing audiences’ associations over and over again through consistent advertising, you are able to build a strong brand that people instantly recognize.
It Helps You Stay Focused on the Core of Your Brand
It’s relatively easy to stay on-brand for a single advertisement, or even a single campaign. But what about when you’re launching your 5th campaign, or your 10th? What about at your umpteenth brainstorming session? A branding guide keeps you laser-focused on the essentials of your brand.
It’s tough to stay focused on the core of your brand across multiple campaigns, advertisements, product lines, services, etc. As you brainstorm new ideas and new advertisements to keep things fresh and new, it helps to have a brand guide that keeps you centered on what’s important: who you are, and why it matters to audiences.
It Makes You Look Professional
With all things branding, the devil is in the details. An advertisement that’s off-brand or a mismatched color may not seem like a big deal, but trust us, people notice. Small discrepancies across channels make you look unprofessional. If the discrepancy is big enough, some people may even question whether the ad is legitimate. They may think it’s an imposter trying to scam people if it’s inconsistent with other channels. Staying consistent ensures you avoid that advertising headache.
A brand style guide keeps your staff and messaging on point 24/7. If you’re going to invest time and money into marketing and advertising, do it right and make sure you look professional on all mediums at all times.
What are your thoughts on brand style guides? Give us a call today to talk about branding best practices.