If you have been in business any amount of time then you will be aware how important your brand is. Most large businesses have a rigid set of guidelines for those outside organisations that are authorised to use their branding. Not having one in place can lead to a misrepresentation of your brand property such as the logo – incorrectly placed or badly stretch and cropped on someone else’s web page – which can have a detrimental effect on the way that customers view you.
Comprehensive guidelines are designed to protect your brand integrity and it’s never been more important than in this digital age where something like a logo can be so easily copied and transformed. It’s not just for those outside but those working inside the company, particularly if you have a well-staffed marketing department, or like us, operate on a franchise model. They certainly need to know the right way to use your logo including how much space should be left around it, which fonts and colours are acceptable on marketing literature and even the type of language to be used.
How To Write Brand Guidelines
- Decide who the guidelines are for: You should try to avoid any overly technical wording and keep it as simple as possible. You might want to put together a few different versions of the guidelines, including one that fits on a single page, for staff as well as organisations that only have a passing acquaintance with your brand.
- Decide what is important: Most established brands will have clear guidelines on certain things such as the size and position of the logo, the instances where it can be used and, more importantly, what it cannot be used for. It pays to sit down and compile a list of what your brand should look like on the page, or on a website, and what it stands for as well as areas where you definitely don’t want it to be associated.
- Decide what to include: Branding covers a wide variety of things from the shape and size of your logo to the size and types of fonts used and images posted that reflect the corporate persona you want to convey.
- Show examples: Pictures speak louder than words. It’s a good idea to show acceptable examples of your brand in use, preferably by those already authorised to promote it. That can include how not to represent your brand.
- Keep it simple and be consistent: Try not to go the complicated route and also make sure that you are consistent about things like positioning across your branding use document. The more complicated you make it, the more likely someone, somewhere is to get it wrong.
With the wide range of digital media out there and easy access for anyone who has a modicum of computer knowledge, it’s not always possible to protect your brand from every passing internet browser. But for companies that are authorised to use your brand it helps to ensure that your brand retains its integrity and is consistent across all platforms.
Finally, any marketing professional will tell you that it’s actually pretty easy to stray from the brand guidelines even if they are clearly presented and everyone is aware of them. If you have produced your guidelines and distributed them to all interested parties then it may now be time to give someone the task of being a brand monitor, checking that authorised users and in-house marketing professionals are adhering to the guidelines properly.