So what exactly are brand guidelines? Essentially, they are a set of rules that explain how your brand looks and feels at every touch point. They are a roadmap of information surrounding the personality and values of the brand. Brand guidelines incorporate the colors & fonts, logos, and other brand essentials that help define the brand’s identity. Now let’s dive into the importance of these bad boys!
To be successful, your brand needs to build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers. The best way to do this is to ensure that all creative pieces are cohesive. Nowadays, consumers are constantly being exposed to competing brands so now more than ever, these guidelines are crucial to help your business stand out amongst all of the noise.
The two best ways to differentiate your brand from competitors are by: 1) maintaining consistency within your own brand identity and 2) using a unique voice and look. The process of creating brand guidelines helps to bring up pivotal questions about the essence of your business.
Consistency is key with anything, but especially with your brand identity - it should never be left up to interpretation. If something you put out doesn’t look like the rest of your brand, people WILL notice. These guidelines aren’t set up to stifle creativity and make everything look starkly similar, but to ensure that all creative is sending the proper messaging and is effective in achieving the goals that are set in place for the business.
Standards & Rules
Brand guidelines establish rules that ensure all elements of the brand are used consistently throughout all creative pieces. They support marketing strategies by ensuring that all messaging is relevant and related to brand goals. This creates a strong brand identity that resonates with consumers, which helps increase overall awareness. Take Coca-Cola for example - they’re a brand that focuses on building happiness. Everything about their brand evokes positive emotion from their bright red cans to their classic font and personalized products. Consumers know who Coke is can clearly differentiate a marketing campaign for their brand versus another soft drink brand. This kind of consistency and recognition is exactly what brand guidelines are for.
Brand guidelines are also extremely helpful for designers. They allow them to understand what and how to use specific elements such as logos, colors & fonts, spacing, and imagery. Setting these rules also help new employees who don’t yet know the true identity of your brand and what all it encompasses. Obviously it’s helpful for them to look through previous pieces, but giving them a guide that explains how to properly use the elements of your brand will help stave off any issues and set them (and your brand) up for success!
Brand guidelines give your brand a voice and point of view. A great way to help distinguish this is to play a game we like to call “This or That.” We’ll suggest different describing words and our clients will tell us where on the spectrum they believe their brand lies.
Is your brand funny or serious?
Is your brand soft or bold?
Is your brand modern or classic?
Is your brand demure or edgy?
Now think about this: if you think your brand is funny, what kind of funny is it? Do you want a corny joke or pun involved in every creative piece or do you want your brand to focus on more intelligent humor? This might sound funny, but it really helps to distinguish the heart and soul of a brand. You’d be surprised how often we ask clients to name 5 adjectives about their brand and they can’t! Even when they can, the question is would your employees and customers name the same adjectives? This is a crucial step, so make sure to really think about the true essence of your brand!
Creating Brand Guidelines
Creating brand guidelines can be a massive undertaking. Besides establishing a voice for your business you need to consider a color palette, fonts, imagery, logo, and several other elements to create a truly useful set of guidelines for an impactful brand. It’s not impossible, but it is time consuming. Elysium Marketing Group has created several brand guidelines for various clients in very different fields, and each time it’s a journey deep into the heart of the brand to ensure the final product clearly defines the voice, essence, and identity of each brand. Whether you’re creating a new brand or re-branding an already established brand, we’ll ensure you have the tools you need for a strong brand that meets its business goals.
Contact us to see how we can help move the process along!