You drive past a billboard on the highway advertising a coffee shop. They’re having a sale for the upcoming holiday, and are giving a 20% discount for the whole week. We never specified the coffee place, but you thought of one instantly, didn’t you? That’s called brand recognition, or the ability to be recalled or remembered in different situations. A company that’s able to be known beyond its logo or label. But how does this happen? All famous brands out there have one thing in common— they started with a brand guide. Every brand strives to become chosen from other options available, and it’s a long journey getting there. But first, you have to lay the groundwork to pave your company’s way to success. If you’re still not convinced you to need one, here’s the down and dirty proof on why you should have a brand guide yourself.
What Even Is A Brand Guide?
A brand guide is a set of rules set by the company to follow regarding the tone of voice, company story, logo, color palette, typography, and imagery used, all to determine how your company wants to be presented to the world. This guide can be an aide to a designer needing to access the correct colors and typography needed for your website and advertising, or even a content writer who wants to make sure their tone of voice matches what the company wishes to portray. It’s important to use high-quality images, graphics, and a consistent color scheme when creating your brand. Having inconsistencies in your graphics and content can muddle your image as a business, and can cause consumers to view your establishment as untrustworthy. The importance of a brand guide is not just skin deep. Strong branding brings in more money, and gives your business more than just a name, which is the foundation for creating brand recognition.
How Do I Start The Process Of Creating A Brand Guide?
Now that you know what a brand guide is, and why it’s important to have one, it’s time to take that knowledge and put it into action. The first step to creating a guide is to sit down and scope out who you are as a company, and what your consumers are wanting out of you. Ask yourself:
- What are your values, goals, and benefits as a company?
- What is your mission statement, or what you want to accomplish?
- Who is your target audience?
- Why would your target market seek you out?
Your core values are the foundation that your company rests on. You won’t have a successful company if you don’t keep true to your mantras. They also make up your mission statement, or the goal your company wants to achieve for its customers.
For example, you run a business that specializes in baking gluten-free cakes, cupcakes, and cookies for events. Your core value as a company could be to give the opportunity to consumers with allergens to enjoy desserts stress-free, and you can achieve that by guaranteeing your kitchen is 100% free of anything gluten, so the ingredients would never get cross-contaminated. A good mission statement for that would be to always serve your customer’s top-quality gluten-free cakes, without sacrificing taste.
Your target audience and your goals to accomplish should go hand-in-hand. You can’t accomplish your goals without first attending to the needs of your audience. Most often, people get caught up in trying to advertise to everyone on the whole planet. But, bigger isn’t always better. It’s better to have a semi-small market. For instance, the bakery that sells gluten-free cakes could technically say their target market is anyone who can eat cake, regardless of allergens, age, or gender. The likelihood of them getting more business being broad is slimmer because although it might reach a lot of people, the chances of it reaching the individuals who will actually purchase a cake are low. That being said, if they set their audience to 35 to 55-year-old women who have Celiac disease, the business would boom, because your advertisements would be reaching the actual buyer of the product.
This all leads back to the last question; Why would your target market seek you out? The goal for your company should match why a consumer would try to look for you in the first place. People who need gluten-free desserts would seek out bakeries that have gluten-free ingredients. Sometimes, a service or a certain product is the reason people will choose you over competitors. Pinpointing what customers are mostly purchasing from you could be a key factor in figuring out if and why they seek your company out.
Implementing Your Guide To Your Work
After determining what your company is and who it speaks to, take control of your tone of voice in your work. In other words, the creative side of a brand. Imagery and graphics associated with a brand make it more recognizable and give a sense of stability to consumers. When creating a brand, limit yourself to a small pool of colors, typefaces, and types of imagery, and list them in the guide for everyone to see. Having this accessible for your employees will make sure the items you use for websites, social media, and advertising keep consistent in color and visual. Don’t tailor them just for the designer-use. Everyone has to be able to understand the rules listed. The visuals you use for your brand will create a sort of style. Make sure to keep consistent. Don’t change your style every year. Consumers won’t be able to recognize your brand anymore. It’s okay to reference back to your guide periodically. You can refresh your guide as needed as styles fade in and out.
A brand guide is like your company’s personality. How do you want the world to see you? Here at Transformation Marketing, we help clients with their branding daily. We understand how important it is to keep a brand fresh, consistent, and eye-catching for years to come. If you or your company needs assistance in revamping your brand or even creating one, give us a call!