WHAT ARE BRAND GUIDELINES?
Brand guidelines are absolutely imperative to your business, and can help you immensely when working with third parties, or even onboarding new colleagues! Your brand guidelines are a clear cut, put-on-paper declaration of what your business does, the tone and approach you take with your target audience, and the colours and typography you use to convey your messages.
Your brand guidelines can work as a dynamic document, in case anything should change within your business.
Brand guidelines can be as comprehensive as you feel necessary and can include details about how your brand should not be used, and how your logo can be used on marketing material where no colour options are available. Brand guidelines of established companies can go on for pages and pages, sometimes being delivered to partners as books! This helps to ensure that there is no room for error in how your brand is represented, in any format and any situation.
Your brand guidelines can also take the shape of a basic guide – a summary page of colours, fonts, straplines, frequently used icons and tone of voice. A quick guide can be a really handy reference to keep your branding consistent! Both types of documents are incredibly useful – it’s definitely worth investing the time in both. One strategy might be to start on your basic guide and then build on this to add more details and scenarios.
The aim of brand guidelines is to consolidate the essence of your brand and business, to ensure consistency in your messages, regardless of who is working on your brand.
WHY ARE BRAND GUIDELINES IMPORTANT?
Below, you’ll find 4 key reasons that creating Brand Guidelines can benefit your business:
1. Established brand guidelines show you’ve worked hard on your brand, woot!
If you’ve got brand guidelines then you’ve thought hard about your message, your mission, your values and your ideal clients. All these things contribute to a killer brand that makes you stand out.
Putting together a consolidated document of your business profile and the elements that make up your brand identity, shows that you’ve put a big commitment into your business and brand. You should feel a great sense of pride in devoting so much energy to your brand! This hard work will pay off when it comes to creating new assets that need to include your branding, as it will be super easy for you to find all your colours, fonts and styles!
2. Brand consistency builds a strong brand identity with your audience
Your brand guidelines will help you to be consistent across your online and offline presence, as well as all your marketing. This means your brand will be easily recognisable to your target audience, and that they are more likely to remember your business by regularly seeing the consistency, and associating it with your brand. The more familiar your audience becomes with you, the more likely they are to use you and refer you to others.
3. Get 100% behind your brand, and show up with confidence
Have you ever felt reluctant to post on your social media or share a link to your website? That feeling is a clear sign that you don’t love your brand and it’s holding you back! Going through the process of building your brand guidelines will give you brand clarity, help you to love your brand, make changes if necessary, and give you more confidence to show up for your ideal clients. Once you have a brand guidelines reference on paper, it will be so much easier for you to refer back to this to check fonts, colours, and whether something you’ve written fits into your tone of voice. Committing to your brand means you can shout about it with conviction!
4. Provide structure to any third parties you’re working with
Having brand guidelines means your assets and brand personality are easily shareable, and easily understood by anyone working with your business. For example, if your goal is to spruce up your website and you’ve outsourced this project, your website designer will benefit from a clear, concise document showing your brand colours, fonts, styles, and anything else associated with your brand.