Why brand guidelines are important
Over the years we have worked with various businesses from small startups to large multi-national corporate companies. One thing we have noticed is how important a good solid set of brand guidelines are to their business.
Large organisations in particular are prone to their brand going astray. Due to how large companies are structured you can see how this can easily happen. You have the Marketing Department desperately trying to maintain a strong and consistent brand, both externally and internally and the Sales Department sending out communications that are based on a loose set of design templates usually created in Word or Powerpoint. The Sales team simply want to sell and will use whatever is available to them, however without a strong set of guidelines the brand starts to looses its core message and is watered down. This can happen in any department such as Accounts, Support or even Reception. It is important to remember that branding is not how a company looks visually but how it is perceived. This can even include how telephone calls are answered or how e-mails are sent. Every customer touchpoint is important from a branding point of view.
So how can you help reduce the risk of your branding and message being lost?
One way is to produce a set of brand guidelines. Some people quiver at the thought of spending money on a document on how your logo may look, but as I mention above it is more than just your logo. Also you have to look at it as an investment in your business, not simply a cost. A brand guidelines document will help your team understand the brand and this can then be communicated to your customers.
It has to start from the top down
As a business owner, not matter how small or large, your employees will look at your as their leader. If you do not believe or value your brand, neither will they. If they see you excited about the brand and can see you value you it by providing brand guidelines then they will get excited about it as well and so be more inclined to work harder.
So as you can see, a brand guidelines document is more than just a logo, it encompasses your entire business, it should be your DNA. It can take the form of a printed document, a digital PDF or more popular these days an online guide which can now include digital assets.