Whether you’re a huge multinational or a small local company, your business has been built around a foundation of core values. Sales are made when your customers learn to trust in these values, and happy customers buy again and again. Happy customers with a good brand experience build the reputation of the business through word of mouth and more sales can be generated.
Your brand is what helps to tell your customers about your values and the more consistent you are, the more likelihood your business will succeed.
So why have brand guidelines?
Achieving that all important brand consistency isn’t difficult, you just need to create a framework of how the brand should be represented – and it doesn’t have to be complicated. That way regardless of who is experiencing the brand, it always gives the same feeling or messaging. Without guidelines, a brand could appear haphazard and customers are more likely to be distracted by better presented businesses.
It’s important to note that a logo is NOT a brand. How the logo is used and what words and images you put with it to communicate our company values is your brand. So your brand guidelines need to cover:
Colours (what colours can be used and when)
Messaging (what should your customer understand of your brand)
Images (what style of images do you plan to use and why)
Logo placement (where should it be placed and how much space should you have around it)
Tone of voice (how you communicate)
Without clear guidelines, your brand is open to the interpretation of every person who handles it. Take for example if new business cards need to be ordered, the staff all order their own cards from a variety of different printers. Without a set of brand guidelines to follow, all of the cards could have the logo in a different place and use a different font. Imagine if all those members of staff where in the same meeting handing out those cards. What would your potential customer think of your business?
Your brand guidelines are also there to protect the investment your business has made in time, money and effort. After all for many businesses their brand is a ‘bankable’ asset. Remember a brand can still be flexible and exciting – even when there are guidelines!
So giving a little thought to your brand guidelines early on in the design process can be really beneficial. Make it easy for your staff to implement and use your brand whilst giving your customers confidence that they are dealing with a professional business.