Why Your Small Business Needs Brand Guidelines
When you work in communication and branding, nothing scares you quite like a piece of creative with 10 fonts, three different versions of the logo and (shudder) five different shades of the same blue.
While creativity and expression are important elements of bringing a brand to life, so too are consistency and cohesion. Enter brand guidelines!
Developing brand guidelines or a styleguide for your business is key to ensuring that your brand looks, feels and sounds the same across all of your communication and marketing channels and materials. From social media to websites to print material, using your brand guidelines in all communication and marketing efforts can help attract your target audience, while building trust with stakeholders. It’s a tool that empowers you (and your team of designers, writers and brand managers) to provide a streamlined, polished experience for anyone who interacts with your brand, while simultaneously setting you apart from your competitors.
Every set of brand guidelines should answer a few key questions. Here are some pointers to help get you started:
How does the brand look?
- Define how your logo should and should not be used
- Include the brand colours and fonts
- Note the style of image, graphics or icons your company uses
How does the brand sound?
- Articulate any taglines that you use, and write down when and how they should be used
- Identify the brand’s voice and tone
How does the brand think?
- Define the company’s vision, mission and values — this will help tie everything together and ensure that your brand comes to life authentically
Over time, sticking to these guidelines will help you build a strong, recognizable brand that your audience will be able to identify.