There are plenty of important things you’ll write when it comes to your business: emails, marketing materials, website copy, consumer facing material, internal documents… no matter what business you’re in, there’s bound to be a lot of words associated with making that business successful. But one of the most important things you’ll write for your business is something that a lot of companies tend to breeze through or skip completely: your brand guide.
Think of your brand guide as the Bible of your business. It lays out who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going – and essentially gives you and your team a road map to get there. Your brand guide is the DNA of your company and the document that ties everything together.
But why is a brand guide so important? And what should you include in it?
Why Is A Brand Guide Important?
So let’s start off with the question “why is a brand guide important?” Many business owners, especially when they’re starting out, think a brand guide is something that can be put on the back-burner and attended to when they have more time. But nothing could be further from the truth. Your brand guide is an essential piece of your business and should be created right at the beginning.
A brand guide is so important – and so important to have from the beginning – because it defines who you are as a brand. It lays out who you are, what you want to accomplish, what you want to say, and how you want to say it. It outlines who your ideal customer is, how you want to appeal to that customer base, and how you want target those customers.
Essentially, your brand guide is the lifeblood of your business and will act as a guide for all the decisions that you make moving forward. Without it, there’s no guidelines to help you and your team get on the same page and take your business to the next level.
What Should You Include In Your Brand Guide?
There will be slight variations depending on your industry and your business goals, but every brand guide should include the following essentials:
Every brand guide should begin with a brand mission statement that outlines who you are as a brand, what you stand for, and what you want to accomplish for your customers. When your team understands your overall mission, it can help them make decisions that are in alignment with your company’s long-term goals.
Ideal Customer Avatar
In order to best serve your customer, your team needs to understand who your customer is. Your ideal customer avatar is a personification of your target demographic and will help your team across the board: in product development, marketing, social media, and virtually every other area of your business.
When creating your ideal customer avatar, be specific as possible. Having a concrete, specific vision of who your customer is will be invaluable to you and your team as your business grows.
Your brand guide should include all of your brand designs, including logos, email templates, and business card layouts, and what the appropriate use is for each. So, for example, you might have multiple logos, perhaps a logo with text and a graphic, a logo with just a graphic, and a logo with a graphic in black and white. You should include each of these logos along with a thorough explanation of when each should be used (i.e. – text and graphic logo should be used on all website collateral, graphic logo should be used when given certain space constraints, black and white logo should be used in XYZ marketing campaign).
You should also cover other design guidelines, such as appropriate brand fonts, brand color palette, and appropriate social media images and graphics.
Your brand guide should also include guidelines as to how you want to communicate with your audience. What kind of corporate voice do you want to have? Are you funny and casual? Or are you more corporate and professional? Defining your corporate voice can help to ensure that your audience has a consistent brand experience across all mediums, like social media and print.
You’ll also want to outline any copy rules you want your team to follow. Are there certain words you want to avoid using? Is there a specific format you want all website copy to follow? If so, outline it in your brand guide.
Having a brand guide is a must as a business owner. It helps to establish clarity on your mission, purpose, and direction with your team and will be a valuable resource as your business grows.
How Can We Help?
At Rogue Print and Mail, our design team have been assisting businesses with creating Style and Brand guides for many years. Our proven track record of delivering the highest quality graphic design and print services to professionals speaks for itself. With fast turnaround times, industry specific templates and design ideas, and expertise is the power of colours that will best promote your branding, Rogue Print and Mail is the preferred design and print partner for many hundreds of professionals across Australia.
I sincerely hope that you found this information valuable. For advice on effective branding, design and cross media marketing, please don’t hesitate to call me on 1300 65 85 00 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an obligation free 10 minute discussion with a member of our expert team.