The Role of Brand Guidelines for your Business
Why you Need Brand Guidelines
Has your company just completed an exhaustive rebranding process? Are you a startup bringing your name to the market for the first time? Are you a well-established organization with concerns about how your brand is perceived by the public? If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you can benefit from a style guide. Also referred to as brand guidelines, a style guide is essentially a toolkit that includes everything your teams will need to develop great content that aligns with your brand.
Read on to learn tips that will help your organization develop and disseminate a style guide.
Best Practices for your Company Style Guide
Consider the following best practices to make your style guide a success:
Include all essential elements.
When most people hear the phrase “style guide,” they often immediately think about how a logo will be used both internally and externally. It’s true that brand guidelines include strict policies around logo usage, such as the proper spacing around the logo and sizing.
However, a style guide is composed of so much more than directions around logos. For example, it highlights your brand color palette and specifies the Pantone color name and number, CMYK, RGB and HEX codes. The brand guidelines will also offer clarity around typography, dictating approved fonts and where and how you may use them.
Offer distinctions for each brand.
Many organizations have numerous divisions and brands under one main corporate umbrella. Include clear rules for each sector of your business so that there is no confusion about how various brands will need to visually represent themselves in the market.
Make multiple languages available.
Does your company have offices located around the world? Are members of your team bilingual? To make sure your style guide is inclusive and is used by everyone, translate it into various languages and makes these versions available to internal and external teams.
Showcase examples of what not to do.
It may seem counterintuitive to do so, but your style guide should also highlight mistakes that can put your branding goals at risk. For instance, you can include visual examples of incorrect applications of your logo. When people can reference bad logo usage in addition to your policies, it helps them better understand where they can go wrong in their execution.
How to Promote your Brand Guidelines
Once you have your company’s style guide pulled together, you need to make your employees and partners aware of the brand guidelines so that they apply them. The goal is to maintain consistency across all of your brand’s materials, no matter who is producing these items. For example, your internal marketing team will need the brand guidelines to execute e-newsletters, advertisements, tradeshow booths, brochures, social media designs and more. If you work with external agencies or freelancers, you will also want to share the style guide with them.
So how can you host your brand guidelines so they are always accessible? If you have a company intranet, you can keep the style guide there. While this is convenient for employees, it doesn’t necessarily solve the issue of sharing the information with external stakeholders. Here’s where cloud-based brand management software comes into play. Sites such as Frontify, Bynder and BrandFolder can help your organization keep its digital assets organized and view style guide examples. Not only can you include your style guide, but many of these platforms enable you to keep images, designs and documents stored in one place. From Lyft to Puma to Facebook to Mastercard, there are many leading brands that rely on these solutions. What’s great is that you can customize how your brand looks on these brand management platforms by adding your logo, custom headers and more.
Creating Clarity through Brand Guidelines
Got branding? Then a style guide is a must-have for your business or organization. A style guide clearly outlines your brand’s purpose and helps you uphold consistency across all of your marketing assets. Whether you are creating advertisements for a campaign across Europe, developing a new trade show booth to be used for global events or rolling out a microsite for a corporate contest, you will want to reference your organization’s brand guidelines on a regular basis.
Startups, non-profits and corporations of all different sizes benefit from brand guidelines. No matter if your marketing is B2C or B2B, you want to make sure that everyone involved in the marketing process is on the same page. By following the best practices outlined above, you can create a unique and useful style guide that can elevate your brand and evolve with the organization as it grows. And don’t forget, there are platforms that can provide brand guidelines templates to make the process even easier.
Are you hoping to revamp you brand guidelines or improve the accessibility of your style guide to encourage compliance among employees and external partners? Contact Mulberry to learn how we can help you take your brand guidelines to the next level.
Jess Messenger is an Account Director at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She enjoys developing PR campaign strategies and writing for B2B audiences across numerous verticals such as retail, foodservice and healthcare.