As your business grows, with new products and new marketing materials being produced in different countries and languages, the importance of a consistent brand message is hard to overstate.
A consistent brand shows your clients, distributors and suppliers a reliable approach, demonstrates confidence in what your company stands for and endorses your commitment to quality. It also allows you to build brand equity into your business, which adds to the valuation of your company should you come to sell it in the future.
As you grow your business, you may commission a range of suppliers to produce marketing materials. You may also hire agencies in different countries to produce materials for local markets. It is vital to protect the visual identity of the brand you have worked hard to build.
Your brand is more than just your logo – it is the values and beliefs that the stakeholders in your company perceive when they deal with you. The logo is the most obvious expression of your brand however, and it needs to be protected.
- Created by professional designers
- Saves time for your staff, distributors or suppliers
- Adds real value to your bottom line
- Ensures consistency
- Protects your brand
- Saves you money in the long run
A great brand guidelines document (also known as style guides) not only sets down the rules for using your ‘brand assets’, including logos, colours and fonts, but also injects life into your brand, and makes visual branding a joy, not a chore! Think of it as a roadmap for your brand.
A brand guidelines manual from Core gives your staff, your distributors and your marketing agencies clear guidance for how your documents, websites, advertisements, newsletters, customer emails, letterheads, signage and other marketing communications show your logo and strapline, and accurately reflect your company’s brand values.
Its will also provide guidance on your company’s tone of voice – the language you use to communicate with your clients, staff, distributors, suppliers and partners. This is important so all your stakeholders clearly understand the characteristics and benefits of your company and its products and services. A strong tone of voice also allows you to position your company as a premium supplier among its competitors.
A brand guidelines from Core will include:
- Brand ethos/motto
- Logo usage guide – what’s permitted and what’s not
- Colour guide – pantone, web, full colour
- Typeface guide – examples of font usage
- Guide to graphics and/or photography styles
- Guide to best practice, with helpful examples
- Examples of your brand being used on literature, advertising, presentations and the web
Perhaps the most important benefit of establishing a style guide is to ensure consistency and continuity in the way in which your business is perceived by the public. If you are a small business, you probably don’t have an in-house creative team. This means that you will most likely outsource design work to a variety of different agencies and suppliers. If there is no style guide in place, external designers are basically ‘flying blind’.
Yes, they will know what your corporate colours are, but without a style guide they will have no idea how to correctly use your logo, nor what typefaces to use for headings and body text etc. Over time this will result in visual communications that all look different. This not only dilutes the strength of your brand, but also looks unprofessional.