Branding Guides: The Essential Marketing Success Tool
Marketing is something a majority of companies struggle with. Without the right tools, marketing success is unlikely. Business owners are hammered with the importance of building a brand, brand awareness, brand recognition, brand identity, and many think they can achieve this by simply slapping a logo wherever it is most noticeable. Your brand identity is essentially your DNA, although reflecting it isn't always that simple.
Marketing is more than being noticed, marketing is being known.
When consumers view your logo they should know what you stand for, your purpose, and how you are going to help them. Isn’t that what you want as a consumer after all? You consume products and services to fulfill your wants and needs. Knowing and trusting the brand will encourage you purchase from them. The correlation is simple- build brand recognition and marketing success will follow.
The question then lies with how one is to create and build brand recognition among consumers. The most important building block of brand recognition is consistency. Consistency reflects competency, professionalism, and honesty. A branding guide is an essential tool for achieving consistent and cohesive branding across your marketing initiatives.
A branding guide may be referred to by a number of different names including brand identity guide, and style guide. No matter the name, this guide is an essential tool for creating marketing that will produce results.
Branding guides are documents often saved in PDF form - and the length varies depending on the business. There is no one size fits all branding guide because each organization is so different. Where one company might have a branding guide 50 pages in length, a small business might have one sheet front and back. Regardless of your company size having concrete information to call upon while creating marketing materials is extremely important.
Although each branding guide is different and completely unique to the company, they all should contain the same main components.
- At the very least your branding and style guide should contain the variations of your logo.
- Your primary logo
- Secondary logos (special versions for specific mediums)
- Placement should be noted
- Example of how not to use the logos
The colors used throughout your branding should be consistent. The colors used should be included and specified by their RGB, CMYK, Hex, and Pantone codes. Including each code is important because the same code is not universal across editing platforms.
A company should also have a font or several that are specific to their materials. The font, their variations (regular, bold, italics) should all be provided in this guide. The different sizing options for various headings should also be highlighted.
Imagery is important for businesses as it reflects the brand personality. Brand image philosophy should be stored within the branding and style guide to ensure that the correct images are being created and chosen. The correct tone, style, and environment should all be cohesive with all other branding materials. A section highlighting the desired norms for such qualities should be included.
Messages and themes of marketing campaigns should be included, and detailed. Examples of messages - key words and phrases will also be helpful if included.
To remain consistent, a sampling of the various buttons, forms, and icons should also be included in the branding and style guide. Including these will assist web designers and developers in creation of any web pieces for your company.
Pre-built templates for print and electronic pieces should be included. The templates will provide a balanced look across all marketing materials. In these templates colors, box styles, borders, backgrounds, and negative space will be identified.
Although it is not necessary that all of these pieces are included, it is helpful that they are. Branding and style guides save time and money - as all marketing branding and style preferences are blatantly highlighted in this document, preventing errors, miscommunication, and time spent trying to locate pieces. Branding and style guides resolve problems as they occur and streamline the workflow of creating marketing pieces. Does your company adhere to a branding and style guide to keep your marketing consistent? Let us know in the comments!