The Value of a Brand Style Guide
Most businesses will understand the value of a clear, consistent brand message – but not all of them have given enough thought as to how they can ensure complete brand consistency across the whole business. Every business should consider how each communication from employees is representative of what they stand for, without deviating from the brand in any way. The answer is a clear, concise brand style guide for every employee that provides rules and guidelines to ensure an accurate representation of the brand image across the wide range of mediums a successful business uses to reach their target audience.
What to Include in a Brand Style Guide
The logo is perhaps the most important aspect of a business’s brand; it is crucial for brand recognition. A logo catches the customer’s eye and instantly they associate it with the business, product, or service that is offered, making it stand out from its competitors. So, first and foremost, a brand style guide should specify how and when its logo can be used, if and how it can be altered, what size it should be in print or digital format, how much surrounding white space there should be, where it should be placed on communications, and so on. It should also be stipulated that the company’s logo colours must be accurately reproduced in the offset, digital, embroidery, and screenprinting manufacturing processes.
Similarly, distinct guidelines should be set out regarding colour palettes and values, typefaces to use, and rules regarding images, in both print and digital formats. Include a short blurb about your company’s key mission, aim, goals, or philosophy in your brand style guide, for employees to refer to or use, and specify the tone of voice you want employees to adopt. Have a section that lists preferred words for items, identify grammar trouble spots and provide details of how they should be dealt with, and clarify your company’s dictionary of choice. Identify the language that represents what you stand for and to which your specific target audience responds to encourage employees to use that terminology. You could also provide visual examples to show the correct and incorrect use of a rule.
The Benefits of a Brand Style Guide
When anyone contributes content, your brand will remain consistent. Whether an employee is sending an email to a customer, mailing a newsletter to a supplier, or posting an update on social media, the style is uniform. Not only does consistency with keywords help with search engine optimisation on internet searches, it generates reassurance; your audience feels comfortable, and are encouraged by your professionalism and reliability. Benefits of having a precise brand style guide include:
- Less confusion among employees in communication with customers and suppliers.
- Easy access to the relevant information for everyone.
- Gives team members the confidence to act independently and accurately.
- The provision of a structure or framework for all content creators in your company.
- The names of proprietary products and services are consistent and accurate.
- Assurance that everyone in the business conveys the same (and the correct!) message.
It can be difficult to maintain brand consistency in a business, whether you have one employee or a multitude of employees in different locations. A style guide will fine tune the message you have identified, and ensure consistency across all of your marketing channels for the benefit of your business.