If you want your target audience to recognize your business, you need to promote a consistent brand. The key to a consistent brand is a brand style guide. If you need help capturing your business’s key branding elements, hire an extra set of creative eyes so your style guide will be cohesive, consistent, and attractive.
WHAT IS A BRAND STYLE GUIDE?
When you think of businesses like Nike, Apple, or Amazon, can you picture their logo, colors, or tagline in your head? If you can, that’s thanks to a mighty thing called a brand style guide.
Also referred to as a brand guidelines, brand standards, or brand identity guide, your brand style guide gives you and your employees clear rules on how your brand should look and sound across all production and mediums.
While you can include any aspect of your brand necessary, a typical guideline can have two sections. One section is the visual assets that exemplify your unique brand elements. The second section is the messaging surrounding your brand, like your tagline, story, and values.
Without these guidelines, you risk inconsistency, which weakens your brand identity.
“Referencing a brand style guide ensures that content distinguishes a brand from its competitors and is cohesive”- Forbes.
If you want your brand recognized as easily as an apple with a bite indent create a consistent brand guide and share it with any employee that creates content for your business.
HOW CONSISTENCY CAN AMPLIFY YOUR BRAND
People are creatures of habit and they like to depend on reliable brands they recognize. If you use a brand guideline to remain consistent with your image and messaging, your audience can familiarize themselves with your brand. If you’re a familiar brand, customers will choose you over all the others crowding your niche.
You can position your business at a higher level of professionalism when you have an appealing brand that’s cohesive and consistent. At this level, you can expand your audience, acquire investors, and grow your business to its full potential.
A customer walking away isn’t the worst thing that can happen to your business. But a customer feeling insulted or tricked by a confusing, off-brand message could be depending on how chatty they are. Consistent messaging that communicates your brand correctly is crucial for customer satisfaction and retention.
KEY ELEMENTS OF A BRAND GUIDE
Your color scheme will appear in the majority of your assets and brand messaging. And, because colors can elicit emotion, choosing the right color scheme to represent your brand could invoke a positive response from your target audience.
Typography determines the font, size, spacing, and capitalization that is used throughout your brand. You can see a brand’s typography through logos, taglines, and headlines. Choosing the perfect font gives your consumers a stylistic preview of your entire brand.
Your graphic designs represent the visual identity of your brand. With a consistent graphic design like a logo symbol or an icon, your customers can familiarize themselves with that design and immediately recognize you.
BRAND TONE AND VOICE
Now that you have enticed your customer with your colors and graphic design, you have to deliver an appealing message. From your short but snappy tagline to your company’s story, your brand’s tone and voice must be clear and consistent, or you could be perceived as inauthentic and confusing.
Brand persona relates to how your brand as a whole makes people feel. You want your customers to take in your color scheme, logo, and story and walk away feeling like they can trust you.
WHAT NOT TO DO
DON’T RUSH IT
When you create a style guide you will have to make a lot of decisions about your brand elements and your business projection. To create a timeless brand that can pivot and grow, take your time and think about how your brand might evolve in the coming years.
DON’T OVER COMPLICATE IT
You can fill your brand guidelines with every little thing about your brand. You can create a 100-page, multi-tabbed document that describes everything from your logo to the circumference of every punctuation mark. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Simplicity will help you achieve consistency. If your business needs lengthy guidelines, feel free to fill up those pages with necessary things to achieve a consistent brand identity. Leave the punctuation marks alone and focus on your key elements.
If you are unsure how to simplify your complex brand, hire a marketing agency for their expertise.
GET AN OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE
Hiring an expert marketing agency to consult or create your brand style guide will give you an outside perspective and a resource of expertise.
“People might understand their brand but not know how to communicate it. A branding guide gives you a tool kit to reinforce consistency, but when you’re internal, it’s easy to bounce around. Outside help makes you stay consistent.” – David di Donato, Creative Director at 18Ninety Creative
When you hire an expert, you get someone who can see the forest (your brand identity) from the trees (your brand elements). This perspective will help you promote content that exemplifies your brand identity and attracts the attention your business deserves.