Aka brand style guide, Brand book and brand bible.
This is an essential document which communicates how your company’s brand should be. The brand guidelines provide consistency to messages being delivered to your audiences. By sticking to the standards set out in your brand guidelines you can establish a prominent identity, credibility and cement a strong presence in which your customers can connect with, and shine brighter in the market against your competitors.
I know what a brand is… or do I?
It can often be thought that a brand is just a logo. However there’s a lot more to it than ‘just’ a logo. A brand should clearly define your organisation as a whole. So here we are talking about your company’s values, key messaging, visual style and tone of voice. A set of brand guidelines can package the heart of your brand together so it can be shared with others.
Who uses them?
Brand guidelines aid clear communication and consistency to your audience whether you are a writer creating content for a company’s website, a graphic designer creating a brochure, or even an animator writing a script for a product demo. The guidelines can become quite extensive in terms of usage and instruction for a variety of users, so remember they aren’t a secret bible solely for designers. They can include company history, core values and really build a dynamic story of the company’s brand and how you want to tell that story to your customers, future employees, contractors or partners etc.
It’s all about connection.
Your audience will get to know and relate to your brand, products and services. Connecting your brand to the right audience is key in developing relationships between a company and its customers. You have to think, there’s no point creating something that just won’t resonate with the very people who you want to connect with. Meaning – just because you “like it” doesn’t mean it will work. This is where focusing on a brand strategy works wonders. In short this can provide insight into who your customers are and how your brand will work for them. How do you want to talk to your customers? How should they see you? What should they feel when thinking about your brand? All this is before a logo’s made it to the drawing board.
Sharing what you know with others.
So you’ve made it! You’ve strategised, you now know your company’s brand inside and out. You’ve put a lot of time into creating your company’s brand, so the easiest way to transfer what you know is with… yes! – brand guidelines. These can now be created by your designer and referred to by others so they can get to know your company’s brand as well as you do. Your brand can be used, and confidently communicated on point by others, with consistence, through future projects, people, products, formats and applications. Lastly it’s important to remember brand guidelines can evolve, you may start with a ten page document but through use and application it turns into a 30 page document covering not just visual elements like your logo mark but how to set out written copy, adverts, tone of voice documentation for every different audience your company interacts with. There’s no one rule with brand guidelines, as long as the key is consistency throughout then you’re onto a winner.