Chances are you’ve got a set of brand guidelines that your design and branding agency created for you.
But how often do you refer to them?
Daily? Weekly? Never?
Brand guidelines are the marketing equivalent of an employee handbook. They’re often flicked through when you first get them, and then popped to one side and forgotten about. As branding experts, we’d say your carefully created brand guidelines deserve more than that. They are a crucial tool in building a strong, unified and sustainable brand identity.
Brand guidelines create clarity for those who work with your brand
It’s too easy for employees to interpret your brand as they see fit and, as you can imagine, everyone will interpret your brand differently. This results in people tweaking things – just a little – so that they look ‘better’ or ‘work in this instance’. For example, someone in the sales team might prefer a different font and start using that in their presentations. As the marketing team evolves, you might find your logo starts turning up in unusual positions, or worse, your brand ‘develops’ so much that it becomes unrecognisable.
There will also be people who are run off their feet. They don’t have time to check the latest display board against previous versions. So, they do what they can, but that isn’t always what’s right for your brand.
Having clear and easily accessible brand guidelines helps stop this from happening. By making your brand guidelines central to your work, it’s clear what can and cannot happen. There’s no question about what is and what isn’t acceptable, saving you and your business time, energy and money.
This leads neatly to our next point – with a sense of clarity in place, it becomes easier to guarantee a coherent approach to your branding.
Brand guidelines make it easy to establish a consistent approach
It’s not what we do now and then that shapes our brands. It’s what we do consistently. This consistency builds recognition, forging familiarity and trust for your audience.
This means it’s important for your branding to be the same every single time. No matter where your audience sees your brand and no matter what message you’re communicating, this consistency reinforces who you are and what you stand for.
Having – and applying – brand guidelines makes it easy to be consistent because everyone knows the constraints under which they operate. Strong brand guidelines illustrate what is acceptable. They also illustrate what is not acceptable. With this in hand, there is no doubt about how to treat your branded assets.
Brand guidelines dial up your distinctiveness
Many people – and certainly those outside of marketing roles – forget that branding is about more than a logo and a typeface. Having brand guidelines in place ensures all of your brand elements are used, elevating your brand to the next level and providing you with a distinctive, coherent design.
As well as making your materials more consistent and impactful, this adds value making your brand look more premium, reliable and professional.
Brand guidelines mean a more efficient team
It’s easy to forget that brand guidelines aren’t just about protecting a brand. They’re also about protecting the people who work on a brand. By creating a no-nonsense process that’s easy for everyone to follow, work becomes more efficient, leaving you and your team time to focus on other tasks.
It’s easier to sign off on projects and it’s faster (not to mention cheaper) to work with 3rd parties because of the lack of ambiguity. You’ll also find there’s less conflict because the important creative decisions have already been made.
Brand guidelines even make it easier to onboard new starters and agencies, bringing them up to speed quickly and smoothly. With a central location for materials, guidelines, and branding elements, it’s child’s play to get things right first time!
An easier way to control your branding – partner with a brand guardian
Although it’s common for brand guardians to work in-house, this can create bottlenecks and disruption when that person takes a holiday or moves on to a new role. For this reason, outsourcing the role of brand guardian to a creative agency such as Room11 makes perfect sense. This is a service we provide for many of our clients and typically includes:
- A brand overview
- A primary and secondary logo
- An icon or Favicon for use on social media and where space is at a premium
- Guidelines on how to use your logo (and how not to use your logo)
- Colour palette
- Typography for print and screen
- Imagery treatment
- Samples of your branding in use, for example as a PowerPoint presentation, on banners, for business cards and letterheads.
By appointing us at Room11 as your brand guardian, we can guarantee a fast turnaround to requests, and ensure a consistent, cost-effective way of maintaining a strong and sustainable brand identity.
Interested in learning more about how we could help you establish a consistent, impactful brand? Call us today, we’d love to chat!