A lot of time and effort can be invested in to crafting the visual identity of a brand. Logos, websites, digital communications and marketing campaigns can be months in the making. As organisations focus their attention on day-to-day business activities, all to often those once consistent brand elements start to fall out-of-step.
A key ingredient to an effective brand is consistency. To attract and retain customers, organisations need to build trust through brand consistency. The more cohesive your brand is, the more recognizable it is to consumers, increasing your brand’s perceived credibility. To achieve this level of consistency, organisations can utilise brand guidelines to ensure visual standards are adhered to.
What are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines define how your brand’s graphic elements should be used and they set the tone in which your organisation communicates with your customers. Logo usage, colour palette, typography and photography are just a few of the elements that are outlined in brand guidelines.
To ensure consistency across all marketing touchpoints, they are usually provided to stakeholders who use your brand elements to create marketing material. As a result, no matter who’s responsible for your marketing efforts, whether it’s an external supplier or an internal member of the team, everyone will have a universal understanding of how your brand should be perceived.
Why are brand guidelines important?
They maintain consistency
Effective brands are hugely consistent. Change your brand’s colour palette or use a new typeface each time you run a a marketing campaign and it will have a negative impact on your brand’s memorability. Brand guidelines keep your brand identity consistent and recognisable. Inevitably, this will lead to your brand being perceived as trustworthy and professional by consumers.
They set brand standards
Brand guidelines contain specific rules detailing how to use brand elements such as logos, colour palettes and typography. They are not there to limit creativity, but to assist anyone tasked with producing creative communications for your organisation and to make certain that all brand elements appear as they should.
They provide tools
Aside from setting rules, brand guidelines are supplied with the tools to keep your brand identity consistent. These can be used by anyone sending a message from your brand and include elements such as a logo pack, font files, brand patterns and image treatments to name but a few.
They provide a clear understanding of your brand
Brand guidelines aren’t just for designers and writers. They can be used by anyone within an organisation to get a grasp on the company values and how the company should be perceived. You may be very familiar with your brand if you helped create it, but brand guidelines can be a useful asset to a new employee learning how your organisation communicates with customers.
They add value
When your brand’s identity is cohesive, your brand’s perceived value increases. Visual consistency will give your brand a professional and reliable appearance. By employing brand guidelines, you make it easier to maintain the quality of your brand’s image.
Who needs brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines are created once the brand elements such as the logo, colour palette and typography have been established. If you’re starting a business, now is the perfect time to develop your brand and create your brand guidelines.
If your brand has already been established for some time, it’s not too late to develop brand guidelines to tighten up the use of existing brand elements and add an extra layer of consistency. Remember, you need brand guidelines to maintain a cohesive identity, and if your a new or existing organisation and feel like brand guidelines would help move your company forward, we’d love to help.