In a previous blog, “its all about the Brand stupid“, we discussed the necessity for a strong brand and stronger brand guidelines. In this blog we have a got a 5 point checklist for your brand guidelines document.
The Core Brand Values are the words we use to describe the main attributes that define and how we want the outside world to perceive our business. By developing Core Brand Values we differentiate ourselves from the competition in our marketing strategy. These attributes, write them down and agree them internally, will set the tone for your key consumer, why they originally bought your product and why, if appropriate, they come back for more – ie a repeat customer.
Most non-marketing people think the company logo is the brand. But the reality is that Logo Development is is only one of the components – a key one because it should be a point of recognition. The Brand Style Guide will detail key usage guidelines for the logo, where it should appear on the page in different circumstances, how it should be displayed when photos are used, how to adjust it with a colored background, whether it can be reversed out and whether the brand strapline text or company name must always be used with it. When a brand is really strong like Nike, the Logo is all that’s needed for instant recognition. But however big your company is, the definitions concerning usage are crucial for communicating consistently across all types of media.
Colour is a form of non-verbal communication with symbolism and meanings that go beyond ink and screen. Colour is emotional and as a rough rule of thumb choose no more than 3. The brand colours will need to be defined for each process RGB and hex for screen and website design, CMYK, Pantone for print and marketing literature. This ensures that your brand is colour accurate irrespective of the media. All designers worth their salt will know precisely what those are.
Your logo is not the only icon that helps define Brand. The text of all of your documents should have a common look and feel. This means ALL documents – every outgoing email must use the same fonts and colours, and the business needs to be ruthless about imposing this – staff love to create their own stationery sets that are not the company guidelines. Having one consistent treatment to your documents provides a professional-looking and cohesive experience to the consumer.
Finally, in your Brand Guidelines Document, as important as it is to define how the logo should be used, it is critical to detail how the logo should NOT be used.
New Media will emerge over time and will necessitate revisions to usage and maybe colour, but once you have your guidelines in place and totally aligned, it’s easy to get your sales and marketing activities pulling effectively and efficiently in the same direction to generate a professional and consistent image to the consumer.
Author Matthew Simmons