A Guiding Principle For Brands
Every brand has its own individual story. The secret is to give your story meaning, make it engaging, relevant to your market, and then communicate it consistently and regularly.
To achieve this everyone in your organisation needs to understand what your brand is all about - where it’s come from, where it’s heading, what it holds dear and how individually and collectively they can make a difference to your success. In order to achieve this everybody must be working within a set of clear brand guidelines.
Yet it is surprising just how many companies are not working to brand guidelines. There is no structure to their brand and they wonder why they are losing ground to their competitors, oblivious to the reasons why their message is not getting across to their chosen audience.
So what should a brand guide look like? Generally a guide will take the form of three to four main sections, for the purpose of this exercise we’ll look at a four-section guide...
Your brand’s personality. It is here where you tap into your brand’s DNA to explain that special something unique to you - what your organisation stands for - your values, USP’s, heritage, future vision, mission, strapline and so on.
Make this section interesting and inspiring, use graphical shapes to pull out important information, introduce images, and think about a timeline to illustrate your story so far. Keep your text to a minimum; remember you are expecting people to retain important information so say what you need to say but don’t be concerned about word counts.
Know your audience. How you communicate is an essential part of the brand story. You will no doubt have a wide range of audiences who you are connected to that are interested in what you do and say. Therefore, it is important to think about what you are saying and how you deliver it. This section addresses key areas to follow when delivering any communication, either written, verbally or visually. It will help guide you in language, expression, selection of imagery, method of delivery – how to focus on and achieve the desired outcome.
A note of caution... From the moment you answer the phone, greet a visitor to writing an email, people are judging your brand, think about this and make yours a five star experience - every time.
More than just a logo. This section of the guide provides clear and practical rules for communicating your brand visually, interpreting your brand strategy and architecture. Applicable to all your internal and external communications, these rules convey your brand essence through distinctive and memorable visual identity.
Everyone involved within the organisation needs to understand and follow these guidelines. They will help when creating communications material. A brand identity consists of a series of elements that work together in a unique, yet consistent way. Learning how to use these elements takes skill, experience and a thorough understanding of the reasons and outcomes required.
Putting it into practice. This section provides visual examples of the brand in action. Some pages may show examples of bespoke designs that can be commissioned; others might be examples of layouts to follow when preparing an internal communication such as the “dreaded” PowerPoint presentation. Templates may also be found here.
By following these brand design guidelines, every piece of communication and marketing material will help create and improve your brand image in the eye of whomever you are communicating with. Using the power of words, images, colour and experience, will bring your brand’s story to life across all communication touch points.
A successful brand creates influence and value, it is built on insight and realised through the delivery of consistent, relevant and excellent communication and experiences. It is the sum of everything you do.
Adopting a set of brand guidelines will inspire your staff to understand and live up to your brand values in order to communicate everything your business, products and services represent.
Finally, there are three things that if you get them right you can only outperform the market – a brand strategy in line with your business plan and a process for achieving your goals, competitive differentiation between you and the competition and total alignment internally. As we always say to brands here at Greensquare... Right on the outside only happens when it’s right on the inside.