create a solid foundation for business.

How Brand Guidelines Create a Powerful Brand Identity

A brand is more than just a logo. It’s the sum of all the touchpoints a customer has with a business, organization, or public figure.

Purpose

The Purpose of this guide

Effectively used, these guidelines will help grow a robust brand that provides longterm value to ‘customers’, the market, and to your business. The guide will describe how to use the elements of your brand, such as visual identity and messaging, and it serves as a comprehensive manual for anyone who uses the brand and its components in their work, including employees, volunteers, channel partners, event promoters, designers, and marketing agencies

Value

It is essential that everyone understands the value of the your brand, how to use it, and the importance of complying to its guidelines. A 2005 study by consultants Booz Allen Hamilton and Wolff Olins found that brand-guided organizations outperform their competitors, with results that improve target outcomes.

Understanding

Brand guidelines operate at two levels: they explain why your employees, distributors, and marketing agencies should use the brand to achieve strategic objectives, and they provide practical instructions on how to use brand elements consistently.

Consistency

A key goal of brand guidelines is to ensure that all parties use the brand elements consistently. Brand guidelines provide information and tools, and set the standards for using brand names, logos, typefaces, text copy and other design elements in advertisements, brochures, newsletters, packaging and online communications. Guidelines give us control over the way other people use our brand so that its visual appearance is always consistent.

Perception

Brand guidelines play an important role in managing perceptions. Every time you communicate with a customer, employees, volunteers, journalists, and local communities, it is essential to build and reinforce a consistent perception of your brand. Brand guidelines help us to achieve that goal.

Anatomy of Brand Guidelines

Your brand guide may address the following components:

Brand Messaging

  • Brand Core 
  • Brand personality, tone, and voice
  • Brand value
  • Target audience

Logo Usage

  • Acceptable vs. unacceptable use
  • Proportions, alignment, and clear space
  • Secondary logos
  • Sub-branding

Color Palette

  • Defined colours for digital and print (Pantone, cmyk, rgb and hex values)
  • Typography
  • Font families
  • Style and sizing for headings, sub-heads, body copy

Approved Imagery

  • Photography style
  • Iconography style
  • Additional elements, shapes and textures

Marketing Templates

  • Stationery
  • Sell sheets, brochures, white papers, menus, products
  • Social media
  • Email templates and signatures

Building Trust

The Value of being consistent

Developing a strong identity is easier when you have a set of guidelines to help you maintain a consistent brand image. A brand that communicates your purpose, personality, and promise clarifies who you are and is more likely to appeal to your target audience.

For example, a construction contractor firm or stationery manufacturer will likely have more stringent rules regarding the tone of voice (particularly on social media) than a local restaurant or boutique. As such, both target audiences will be more engaged with the tone that speaks to them, thus creating a sense of alignment, and trust.

Established brand guidelines also help ensure that new assets will work with your existing brand. Whether you’re introducing a new product, hosting an event, or launching a social media campaign, new themes and campaigns should incorporate established brand elements to support recognition and acceptance.

Looking the Part

A consistent tone of voice, especially one that is sincere, informed, and friendly, will help your brand maintain an image of professionalism and expertise. However, tone of voice is only one element. Consistent use of color, typography, imagery, and logos throughout your print and digital marketing materials is critical. Take the time to ensure your message and visuals are working together to strengthen your brand. One of the most important reasons for a business to establish brand guidelines is to ensure an impression of trust and competence.

Brand Recognition

Think of your favorite brand. What words would you use to describe it? How does that brand visually represent itself? Brands that are instantly recognizable execute their marketing campaigns (print, digital and social) with strict adherence to well-established guidelines. When you see the “golden arches” in red and gold, you know you’re looking at the McDonald’s logo. The black and orange in the Harley-Davidson bar and shield logo is another example of how color and symbol paired together immediately delivers brand recognition. Both companies fiercely protect all elements of their brand (logos, colours, messaging), which helps the marketplace identify the “genuine” brand from imitators and improve overall brand recognition.

Everything Evolves

Your brand message and visuals should be consistent, but not necessarily static. As your business grows and evolves with new technology, new products, or new audiences, it is important to keep your brand guide up-to-date and communicate the changes.

Embody your Brand

Everyone in your company should understand the importance of consistent branding and utilize the brand correctly – the right shade of blue, the right tagline, the right font, and the right sized logo for the project – because branding is all about details. If you have a new intern, or your Marketing Manager is out of the office, having established guidelines can help you ensure consistency. Ultimately, a brand guide can help reduce confusion and inconsistency, saving time and money.

This publication contains general information only and Dream Engine is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Dream Enigne shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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