You’ve started a great company that you’re passionate about. You’ve invested in a great website, sales presentation, a logo that represents your brand. But without a good set of brand guidelines your brand image will slip. And your customers and prospective clients will notice – even if it’s subconsciously.
Brand consistency is everything, and you risk losing it the more your company grows. Your unwritten brand code may have worked well in the beginning, but as you take on more employees and suppliers/partners, maintaining your brand consistency will become more challenging.
What are Brand Guidelines?
Your brand guidelines, sometimes referred to as a ‘style guide’, provide the rules that you set to guide every element of your branding, from your visual identity to your communications strategy. They are the blueprint for how you present your company moving forward. They set the style and size of fonts you use or the colour palettes (brand colours) that best represent you.
Brand guidelines determine how your logo will vary under different circumstances – digitally on your website and social media, on your stationary and business cards, or how it will be spaced from other elements within your letterhead page. They set the rules for how you use imagery – more corporate, professional but relaxed, or more funky and animated.
Your brand guidelines are a vehicle to establishing your tone of voice. What type of company are you? Are you in a creative field and want to put across a fun style to your brand content? Do you want to retain a more official style, or do you want to retain a professional but accessible and conversational tone?
Will you use the first person (company name) or third (we, you)? Do you want to make to make your communication more direct and concise by using the ‘active’ voice? Do you have specific rules on how you want, or don’t want, to use capitalisations?
Managing Your Brand
A consistent communications style is how companies build their brand equity, and how they gain the trust and loyalty of their customers. Apple, BMW, Google and IBM are just some examples of brands that are instantly recognisable through the precise consistency of their visual messaging and communications strategy.
How do they keep their communications so consistent? Through their brand guidelines, yes. But also by ensuring that every employee gets the brand message. They have robust processes that ensure all vendors do not just supply products and services to the brand, but explicitly understand and can reflect the brand messages. Good brands use this as a way to develop and strengthen their relationships with employees and suppliers/partners.
As a content supplier to some of the UAE’s leading regional and international brands, THE BLACK AND WHITE GROUP’s first priority on any project is to become familiar with and adhere to our clients’ brand guidelines.
Reflecting Your Brand Image and Values
How long and complex a company’s brand guidelines vary widely. We have seen brand guidelines for large organisations which are 50 pages or more. Equally, a small company might have a set of brand guidelines which is literally 6-8 pages.
In all cases, however, your brand guidelines come from your brand identity. Why did you start your business? What are your brand mission and image? Who are your target customers and what service are you delivering to them?
Your brand guidelines are therefore more than a documented exercise. They are there to reflect the very essence of your brand. For insights into many of the above aspects, follow THE BLACK AND WHITE GROUP blog, where we discuss all things branding and content.
If you don’t have a set of brand guidelines or would like more information, THE BLACK AND WHITE GROUP can help you. You can contact us on 00971-50-4575469, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our website, https://www.weareblackandwhite.com.