Getting the Brand Back Together
Chances are high that your product or service is not exclusive, no matter your industry. But just like people, businesses have unique qualities. What sets yours apart? How are you different? Most importantly, how can you strategically capitalize on that in your marketing?
Standing out amongst competitors is vital for success. If you can distinguish yourself among the pack, clients and customers can easily pick you out from the crowd. A branding guide provides key components to establishing recognition with your audience.
Branding Guide or Brand Standards?
If you eat, sleep and breathe marketing like TRIO…this is an easy one! Simply put, a branding guide is a collection of guidelines that help outline how to use your brand. These “rules” give you, your entire team and any vendors, partners or freelancers a framework for anything and everything, from creating web content and designing assets to communicating on social media and beyond.
The value of a branding guide extends beyond the company. A branding guide helps you provide consistency for your customers. Your brand is a promise to your audience that provides credibility and trust. By developing a formula for how communications should look and feel, you’re making your brand more easily identifiable to audiences everywhere.
Brand standards are a little simpler. This leaner list of guidelines is typically a point of reference for your brand’s aesthetics, not so much determining your messaging, but rather its presentation. Your standards cover brand specific elements such as fonts, colors, specific spellings of words and more.
What should a branding guide include?
The honest answer…there’s really no set guidelines for what goes into your branding guide. Don’t you love a bit of irony? But seriously, there is a method to the madness. The contents of a branding guide can vary depending on your organization’s needs.
However, certain items should be staples of any branding guide package. And just because we like you so much, we’ve pulled them together in a tidy little list:
1. Values, mission and vision (Oh my!)
Let’s get deep here for a second. Why do you do what you do? If you just love doing it, that’s fantastic! Doing what you love is one of life’s greatest treasures – take it from us. And while it is possible to market a brand on love for one’s work, it can also be challenging. You could highlight WHY it inspires you, but if people don’t love the work you produce as much as you love producing it, you may find yourself without customers.
Who are you helping? Why are you doing it? At its core, what does your company stand for? What are its beliefs? Developing a clear mission statement, consistent messaging and core company values to operate under helps audiences invest in your brand on a deeper level and creates a guiding light that shines through across your brand.
Pro Tip: Need help crafting your values, mission or vision? We have a blog covering the basics!
2. Voice and tone
Your audience can tell a lot about your brand simply by your language and how you use it. Pay close attention to discussions you and your team have surrounding your brand. You’ll notice themes or patterns to the language used that can be useful in formulating your brand’s personality and be adopted in your core messaging.
The Walt Disney Company is an excellent example of an adopted language. For example, the brand refers to all customers as “guests” regardless of who or where they are discussing them to emphasize that they are not simply a revenue source but something more.
3. Logo and variants
From sneakers to highway signs and beyond…Logos. Are. Everywhere. And that’s because they matter! Unless you’ve got your own Kermit the Frog or talking gecko, you should view your logo as the face of your brand.
When developing your branding guide, always include your primary logo and any variations. Include any additional specifications (size limitations, space required, etc.) needed by graphic designers, printers and publications to maintain consistency wherever it’s used.
4. Brand color palette
Define the colors used by your brand whenever possible. Defining your palette will ensure a sense of content consistency across the board. Take note of the CMYK, RGB and Hex codes for chosen colors to help designers create confident, streamlined content. This will also help keep colors consistent across all mediums.
5. Brand typography
Typefaces specific to your brand should be outlined in your guidelines, as well as any rules concerning their weights, cases and difference in use (headline vs. body). As an added precaution, be sure to select additional choices that can be considered “safe” alternatives should your standard fonts not be available.
Good for business inside and out!
Once you’ve been able to officiate the standards of your brand, all that’s left is to implement them and reap the benefits.
Of course, we know this is easier said than done! Even if it seems challenging to integrate new standards into your operations, keep at it. Old habits die hard, but the benefits of adopting these new practices can pay off in spades.
Consistency in marketing creates credibility and trust for your brand in the customer. Branding guide create the opportunity to develop a uniqueness amongst your competitors, making you more recognizable to clients in your field.
If you’re ready to revolutionize your strategy or need help starting from the ground up, give TRIO a shout! Our triple threat team of marketing gurus is ready to work with you.
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