We’re running a series of blog posts that offer advice on how to plan, implement and optimise your brand. This week we focus on how Brand Guidelines are essential for ensuring that your brand is consistent, clear and true to its values.
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Anatomy of a brand: brand guidelines for consistency
The perfect partner that gets you noticed
The need for brand guidelines to be managed carefully often gets them a reputation of a necessary evil that people fear to engage with. But fear not. There’s a simple rule of thumb – or the Three Cs to be more precise – that can help create something everyone feels comfortable with, to allow them to work to their full potential:
Consistent application is the key to connection
A good brand is worth its weight in gold. But to get to this point it needs to gain and maintain recognition. The more often someone sees or hears something, the more likely they are to remember it. It’s how we know ‘every little helps’, that we should ‘just do it’ and ‘I’m lovin’ it’.
This is where brand guidelines come in. The more people see the same logo, colour scheme, strap-line and even font associated with your brand, the more likely they are to commit it to long-term memory. Inconsistent application means the brand, and all it stands for, won’t connect with their intended audience, leaving them confused or, even worse, totally dismissive.
Clarity for the many, not the few
Brand guidelines are often used by designers and marketing people. But what happens when someone else gets their hands on them? Just because they’re clear to you it doesn’t mean they’re clear to anyone else. Make sure your guidelines are well laid out, easy to read and people know where to go if they have questions. No one wants to feel they’re dealing with something that’s too complex to understand or feels like it’s just there to catch them out. The guidelines are there as a transferable guide, that everyone can adhere to.
Culture is what makes you unique
Giving everyone an understanding of brand guidelines and how they work gives a sense of ownership to the individual. They may not need to use them every day, but they’re surrounded by them – and what better way to ensure they’re used correctly than dozens of pairs of eyes ensuring their consistency?
If everyone is encouraged to nurture the brand and have a part in it, then they’re more likely to want it to succeed.
Increase accessibility with online guidelines
Once the Three C’s are in place there’s just one thing left to do: make sure everyone has access. In the past, brand guidelines may have been hidden away and treated like the Dead Sea Scrolls, or that beautiful brand book may have become a glorified door stop. But if you’re going to successfully implement the Three C’s then everyone needs to be able to access an up to date version.
Printed and PDF copies can easily become dated. Having them online means they can be accessed anytime, anywhere and by anyone. Updating them is quick and painless. And you definitely won’t lose them or spill coffee on them.
Not only do online guidelines provide quick sharing and more manageable content updates, they also allow you to download any logo versions and brand assets, from one place.