Your brand is not your logo. Your brand is how your customers feel about your business and the emotions your organisation evokes. Sure, your logo is extremely important but it’s only a step in building an incredible brand.
Truth is, you can invest your money into the absolute greatest logo but if it’s not accompanied by clear and consistent branding then your logo could get lost and be fairly useless. Sticking to strong, cohesive branding is what can set your brand apart, make it recognisable and build powerful bonds with your target audience. How do you do this you ask? Let us talk to you about ‘brand guidelines’.
Brand guidelines is a document created by graphic designers/branding experts to be used as a reference for all employees and any third-party vendors to guide every piece of collateral or content that’s created and communicated for your company. It’s your yardstick for consistency. This document not only includes how to use your logo, but also typography, colour palette, textures, imagery, graphic elements, tone of voice, brand values… the list goes on.
Now that we understand why brand guidelines are so important, let’s take a step back and explain what ‘branding’ actually is? Branding is the tools you use to direct your audiences’ emotions and attract them to your brand. I’m sure you’re aware of all the external elements e.g. logo, colours, business cards, website, products/services but it’s so much more than what you see, it’s also what you stand for. A good way to allow any new employees to instantly understand this is by introducing them to your ‘brand values’ which will be in your brand guidelines.
Your brand values shape the culture and community of your company and should be included as a reference for all employees to read, communicate, and to help bring your brand’s vision to life. Discussing your values with your team will not only guide each and every decision you make as a business but can also build powerful relationships with your customers who believe in not just what you sell, but what you do as a company. So, identify your brand values, have them in writing in your brand guidelines and live by them.
Consistency is key. When your brand’s image is consistent across all levels, customers will feel a greater sense of trust and loyalty. Your brand will be easily recognisable, appear much more credible and will resonate with your target audience. The easiest way to maintain this cohesion is to share your brand guidelines with any marketing or design agency you work with so that they know exactly how to treat any collateral or content created for your business. This could save a whole lot of back-and-forth (and a whole lot of money!).
So, before investing in any marketing projects for your business, make sure you’ve got your brand guidelines locked-down to let all future projects run as easily as possible, secure consistency and allow your brand to last the distance!
Article by Lara Simpson, Graphic Designer, Algo Más