Brand guides help you and your marketing team create parameters for your brand’s common elements, such as logos, fonts, colors, and images. Brand guides aid in keeping your brand consistent in its appearance and messaging. This prevents inconsistencies in branding, which can have negative effects on a business. Even having a simple brand guide is better than not having one. Brand guides can help businesses control their brand with precision. If a large team of people is responsible for the creation of marketing materials targeted toward your audience, you need a brand guide.
The simplest brand guides are only a few pages. They cover common and important design features for a company’s marketing materials. Brand guides are most often formatted as short PDFs. However you decide to format it, having a guide will help you control your brand’s consistency and public image. Your brand guide’s exact size will depend on your company’s needs and what you want to accomplish with your brand. Basic brand guides are almost always beneficial for small businesses and non-profit organizations.
Brand Guide Outline
There are a number of things your brand guide should contain, including:
- Fonts for various types of text
- Colors to be used in advertisements
- Taglines, mottos, and catchphrases
- Rules for specific kinds of ads
- Guidelines for interacting with customers on social media
- What content is allowed on social media posts
- Stationery designs, such as business cards, PowerPoint templates, letterheads, email signatures, etc.
- Mission and vision statement
- Dos and don’ts for logos, ads, social media, etc.
- Examples of your marketing materials for comparison
- Example advertisements and brochures
- Your brand’s “personality” (how you want to be perceived by the audience)
Brand guides can certainly contain much more than these points. These are examples of some brand guide basics that every business should incorporate. Not all these points are equally important for every business. Sorting through which are most significant for your company is vital. Without weighing your priorities, it will be impossible to craft an effective brand guide for your marketing team.
Brand guides can be more or less complex, depending on the complexity of your company’s marketing strategy. If you put a lot of effort into your marketing techniques, your company will likely require a longer brand guide. Regardless, make sure to cover the most basic characteristics of your brand so that you achieve consistency and quality. Businesses that work without some kind of brand guide tend to have inconsistent campaigns. Brand guides, and consistent campaigns, can create brand recognition with your audience. Creating a solid brand guide, even a simple one, goes a long way to ensuring that your marketing materials have quality content.
Starting Your Business’ Basic Brand Guide
When designing your company’s brand guide, keep in mind the most important aspects of your brand. As your business grows, so will your brand and the work required in keeping it consistent and appealing. Make sure to revisit and revise your brand guide periodically. Do not make changes so often that you end up making your materials inconsistent, though. React to what gets results, but make sure to weigh the potential impact before making big changes.
One of the most effective ways to narrow down the most important aspects of your brand is to ask your employees and customers what they think. Both tend to be very interested in helping companies produce better materials that reflect their input and opinions. Plus, their involvement helps guarantee that your content is relevant to your target audience.