“You are unique.” Just how many times have you heard these words spoken to you? Your preschool teacher, your parents, your closest friends: the list goes on of people who assure you that there is nobody out there with the same DNA you possess. But as we grow up, we see others with the same color of hair, who also like the same music, and also visit the same restaurants or clothing shops, as we soon realize we’re not as unique as we thought we were… or are we?
Some are okay with blending in with the crowd because there’s nothing wrong with that. But for attention-seekers and cravers of the spotlight, the insatiable need to stand out has to be met. It’s an entirely different ballgame for marketing your company, as your brand has to stand out, along with your products and services. It’s a mortal sin to blend into the competition, and the consequences you’ll face are far more than just lost profit or stunted industry longevity.
One of the strong ways to make your company memorable is by working on your branding through a well-crafted brand guide. If you haven’t created a brand guide, this is the opportune time to explore what will make your brand tick and how to compile integral details of how to present your brand to the world. This article mainly focuses on brand aesthetics in building your company’s visual identity and how to align it with your intended brand voice. All your life, you’ve been told that you are unique. But for your brand, take a step further in defining what uniqueness is.
What Is A Brand Guide?
McDonald’s golden arches, Netflix’s four-second intro sound, even when people say “Kleenex” instead of tissue paper: these companies have successfully embedded units of culture into the public because of brilliant marketing. However, a brand does not stop at a logo, a sound bite, or the use of metonymy. The company must adhere to a distinctive line of representation to create a recognizable brand. What gives them leverage in toeing the line is a brand guide.
A brand guide, also called a brand book, is a set of documented rules and specifications on how to represent a company visually, be it for advertising or any public communication. This document is key to achieving brand consistency and voice. One may even say it’s free advertising. This brand guide can also be shared with collaborators and other parties working with the company to ensure the brand is well-represented.
While many are familiar with a style guide, it’s not at all equivalent to a brand guide. Having a brand guide will help your company with overall graphic design, while using a style guide will maintain writing and editing rules for a copy. Many would refer to a brand guide as a “brand style guide,” but remember that a brand guide is for maintaining visual appeal, not how the company is presented through words.
With companies vying for consumers’ attention and wanting to pop into a sea of products and competition, a brand guide is now more than ever a compulsory tool for marketing. Here’s why:
It promotes understanding of your own brand.
Consider the brand guide as a collective agreement of how the company wants to be known on a global scale. Present it to everyone, and once all stakeholders within the company agree to its content, it’s a great first step in understanding what the brand is. A unified approach to the brand is a strong foundation for marketing the company.
It consistently presents your brand.
By adhering to a set of brand identity guidelines, your company’s presentation will build recognition. A consistent brand is dependable, and consumers find it easier to trust a consistent brand. One can even relate these to the values brands, and consumers share. It’s not enough that a consumer realizes you share the same values. It’s imperative also to carry these values forward, no matter what.
It encourages strict adherence.
Without building a brand book, you’ll scurry through menial changes or make last-minute edits to your ads or layouts. A brand book keeps everyone in check on agreed-upon rules on how the brand should appear. Also, it prevents your company from deciding to rebrand after a series of failed decisions. Rebranding is a big pain: it will cost you a lot, and you may lose loyal customers in the process.
Building A Brand Book Is A Meticulous Yet Concrete Process. Here’s How.
Just the thought of how your brand is aimed at making your company recognizable anywhere is already daunting in itself. However, do remember that your company brand has to be authentic and will stay true to what your company is at the core. So, before identifying what brand guidelines you will adhere to, reflect on this first:
What are your company values?
These are important tenets any company leader should return to, especially when making groundbreaking decisions. So why not use said values as an anchor to what your brand guide will be?
Take Starbucks, for example. It uses a lot of green in its visuals, from cups to barista aprons and in its locations’ interiors. As per its website, Starbucks’ mission is all about inspiring and nurturing the human spirit. Furthermore, part of its values is warmth and belonging.
The color green indicates nature, tranquility, and health: very much on-brand with Starbucks. If you are a fan of its feel-good beverages and the relaxed atmosphere of its stores, then you probably get its brand. How do you want consumers to get your brand?
After you have revisited your company values. Here’s what to include in your brand guide:
- Organizational foundations (mission, vision, goals). Many companies start their brand guides with these principles as they want them to be communicated through their brand.
- Company logos. Logos will be used in various forms: product labels, print ads, billboards, you name them. Include variations of your company logo and leave a working link (if the brand guide is digital) to where to download the logo. A specific logo version has to be made based on usage. For example, a vibrantly-colored logo version may be apt for social media posts, while one with more somber colors may be used for text communications.
- Color schemes. To add visual appeal, decide on colors that you feel will best represent your company. Identify the colors’ hex codes, Pantone names, and RGB/CYMK numbers so that it will be easy for graphic designers to pinpoint specific colors.
- Typography. This refers to font choices, such as what typeface and text size to use. Leaving these details will give designers less time to try out which fonts or sizes work.
- Iconography. Aside from the logo, what visual items, like photos or drawings, would your company like to stick with? List down brand guidelines when it comes to images. A consistent set of photos help in a uniform representation.
- Tone. Finally, describe the overall visual style of your company. Look at your brand guide’s components, and create a succinct description of what feeling or sentiment you want consumers to gain. Is your choice of frilly fonts and captivating colors make your brand exciting and joyful? Or is your slate of pastel hues and images relating to family and relationships make your brand more heartfelt?
PROTECT YOUR BRAND INTEGRITY THROUGH ALLIED INSIGHT.
Good luck on your journey toward becoming a household name through effective branding! But if you still need help in achieving brand consistency for your company, know that Allied Insight is here to help your organization achieve uniqueness and longevity in the market! Through our assistance, we hope to support your company initiatives and attract further business opportunities.
Though corporate initiatives may always change and the market remains unpredictable, we will be there to help you stay true to your brand and many more. Avail of brilliant marketing solutions through Allied Insight. Contact us now!