What is a brand? A brand is the way a company or organization is perceived by those who experience it. It’s the personality of that company, it’s the look and the feeling that is given when looking at that company. When a company builds a brand, there are many different components that go into it to make it a complete and cohesive entity that represents the business.
When a brand is created, it is important to have guidelines. Brand guidelines are essentially a set of rules that explain how the brand should appear. It includes the look and feel, the message, and a framework for using that brand in marketing materials. Everything that is created for the company should follow these guidelines to stay consistent. Brand guidelines commonly include:
- Colors – Typically 1-3 colors that make up the logo and the color scheme of the business. These colors are used in all marketing materials, both online and offline.
- Logo – This is commonly an image that is created to represent the company. Logo variations are also created, as well as a criteria for when to use the different versions of the logo.
- Submark – An element pulled from the full logo image, a submark is typically a graphic or icon of some sort.
- Fonts – To establish brand guidelines, typically one or two fonts will be selected for the business. These fonts will be used in the logo and all marketing materials.
- Imagery – The images that inspire the brand’s logo, tagline, tone, submark, and logo variations.
- Tone – The brand’s personality and voice. How the brand communicates with its customers in all of its messaging.
- Tagline – A tagline is a memorable catchphrase that represents the brand. Not all brands have a tagline.
- Mission Statement – A summary of the values, vision, and purpose for the company.
These are the most common elements to consider when creating a brand and establishing brand guidelines. These guidelines are important for your brands identity, consistency, and recognition. Additionally, these guidelines create standards and rules about how the company should function and market itself.
4 Reasons Why Brand Guidelines Are Important
- Brand Identity – Your brand guidelines outline the persona that you are trying to portray for your company. Identity is the personality, values, and tone of messaging for your brand. This represents who you are, what you have to offer to your customers, and how you do it. A brand’s identity is the result of defining all of the elements of brand guidelines.
- Brand Consistency – Having brand guidelines creates brand consistency, which means that your brand always has a similar, familiar experience no matter how your customers interact with the business. This in store (offline) and consistency ensures that your customers always have a great interaction with your brand. Creating this positive, consistent experience with all of your marketing materials builds credibility and trust with your customers. Furthermore, brand consistency also shows that a business is well put together and professional.
- Brand Recognition – Tying into brand consistency is brand recognition. By establishing trust & credibility with consistency, your customers will start to recognize who you are just by seeing your brand colors or submark. The long-term goal is to be easily recognized and seen as a trustworthy brand – something that businesses like Coca-Cola and Apple have done particularly well. The more people that recognize and trust your brand, the more likely people are to purchase from you. This brand recognition also ties into brand value, as businesses with a consistent, recognizable experience tend to be perceived as providing greater value to their customers.
- Sets Standards and Rules – Having brand guidelines sets standards and rules for how to market and advertise the brand. If you’re a small business owner, brand guidelines give you a more credible way to market your business, while also providing you with a framework of how to do so. If you have a large company, brand guidelines keep everyone on the same page for all marketing, messaging, and promotions, including social media content! These guidelines also allow your business to scale and grow much more seamlessly. Brand guidelines set expectations for how your employees represent the business. These guidelines can also be important for a company who is outsourcing design work, as they ensure that the work always aligns with the brand.
Brand guidelines can be an in-depth 50+ page document, or it can be as simple as a one-page brand board that outlines the elements of your brand. Whichever you choose, brand guidelines are a crucial component of nearly all successful businesses.
If you are interested in having brand guidelines created for your company, New Moon Strategy would be happy to help!