We’ve all seen it. That one brand with too many fonts on their brochure. Or the one with too many colors on their website. Another with strange or low-quality photos. Don’t forget the one with a totally confusing brand message. “What do they even do?”, you might ask yourself. These types of qualities don’t necessarily instill a new potential consumer with a ton of confidence - even if those businesses are actually amazing at what they do.
Carefully crafting a brand style guide can help you avoid those kinds of questions popping up about your own business. When you present a consistent, polished brand image across all instances that someone may interact with your business, you’re also presenting that you’re trustworthy, confident, secure and care about every detail of your brand. Consumers are far more likely to choose a brand that appears more professional and put together compared to one that looks inconsistent or cluttered.
If your brand appears to be visually scattered as you’re reviewing your own marketing materials, a brand style guide can be infinitely helpful in diagnosing why your brand appears to be inconsistent.
So, what is a Brand Style Guide?
A brand style guide is a comprehensive document that provides clear instructions on how to consistently communicate your brand across all platforms and marketing materials. The guidelines go into details regarding executing the visual and verbal representation of your brand and cover topics such as logo usage, color palettes, typography, voice, tone, messaging, and more. With a carefully crafted brand style guide as your roadmap, you can begin to use your unified brand voice to scale your business and create long-lasting customer connections.
When developing your brand style guide, it is important to keep the following in mind to ensure you can cross-reference materials against your style guide for a consistent brand image.
Consistency is Recognizable
When your branding is consistent on your website, social media profiles, packaging, advertising and other print materials, consumers new and old will be able to identify and remember it more easily. Using a brand style guide can streamline your design and marketing efforts if you’re regularly creating new marketing materials and visual content that needs to be recognizable to your consumers. Being able to pass along a brand style guide to a designer will afford them the ability to design around your pre-established rules and guidelines, reducing a need for constant approvals and revisions. This more efficient design process will lead to faster turnaround times, cost savings, and an overall better end product that speaks with the same unified brand voice as your other platforms and materials. If you’re the type of person who loves tools that improve your workflows, a brand style guide would be a great asset to your business.
Recognizable Brands Create Emotional Connections
As you build your brand consistently with your brand style guide, you’ll notice that you’re also building a consistent experience for your consumers. A clear and authentic brand voice will create a personality that guides this experience. If you’re creating a good experience, presented consistently, consumers will begin to develop a positive emotional connection with your brand. These types of connections can expand your business by word-of-mouth and increase brand loyalty among your consumers. Everybody loves a sense of familiarity, and knowing what they’re going to experience when they interact with your brand helps to develop those types of consumer-to-business relationships.
In today’s fast-paced society, much of the advertising and brand messaging we see comes at us so quickly that you may only have a fraction of a second to recognize and connect with a brand upon scrolling through social media. Being consistently recognizable, consumers are more likely to spot your brand as they scan, and they will resonate with the personality you put out to the world. When your brand isn’t as secure you will be defined by your products and services which won’t leave as strong of an impression on those unfamiliar with what you do.
Loyalty Leads to Scalability
As you gain more loyal consumers through your consistently branded user experiences, you can scale your business more confidently to other avenues. Whether it be a brick-and-mortar store, an international marketing campaign, or a new app launch, you can rest assured knowing that your brand and brand experiences will effectively translate into your new use cases as your style guide will ensure your brand’s unified voice will be heard loud and clear.
It’s also worth noting that as you grow your brand, it may be utilized in partnerships and collaborations outside of your typical usage. It’s important to protect the identity and voice you’ve created to avoid any misrepresentations of your brand. Being able to share a style guide will allow your brand identity to shine in partnerships, strengthening its impact in the minds of your consumers.
Every business, regardless of size or industry, should have a unique and comprehensive brand style guide. It’s a great way to ensure consistency, credibility and professionalism in every aspect of your brand. It can save you time, money and headaches during your design and marketing processes as you can minimize the amount of approval and revision conversations you need to have. You’ll streamline the creation and application of a unified brand voice, enhancing your reputation as you attract and nurture relationships with more loyal customers.
Not sure where to get started with your brand style guide? We can help!