07 May The Importance of Branding Guidelines
When it comes to marketing your company, consistency in branding is key. Branding can encompass a variety of elements from the obvious to the unseen. While most of the general population think of branding as “The company’s logo” that’s only a small part of the equation. Yes, a company’s logo is a very important part of the overall brand, but there is so much more that goes into a great brand than just the logo.
Over the years we have noticed, that there is often a disconnect among departments on simple things like consistent messaging and use of the logo, font use, logo colors and file formats when submitting a project for printing. That’s where a branding guideline comes into play. Branding guidelines work for all size companies – from large Fortune 500 companies to small non-profit firms. The key, regardless of a firm’s size is to get everyone on the same page and present the brand consistently across all platforms and in all media. You need to develop a set of rules and tools on what can and cannot be done when using the company logo and branding style.
A successful branding guideline should:
• Protect the strength of your brand so it continues to create value
• Explain the importance of your brand
• Describe how to use the elements of the brand, such as corporate identity and the brand name.
• Build and reinforce a consistent perception of your company
There are no set number of elements that are required to be included in a guideline, it depends on what is important to you and the needs of your company.
Typically a brand guideline would include:
• Variations of the logo
• Size and placement restrictions for the logo
• Corporate fonts
• Color palette
• Photography and image style
Consistency is key when it comes to branding. You need to constantly reinforce your message which will ultimately increase your exposure in the market. Establishing consistent messaging and using corporate branding guidelines will unite the brand to create recognition which builds trust and strengthens the message.
Building consistency from the inside-out.
We believe that strengthening brand awareness and building name recognition has to happen externally and internally. Cohesive brand messaging will continually reflect the mission and values of your company. Everyone in the organization, from employees to managers, to directors, to board members, need to be on the same page. Having a common understanding of the brand among all these sectors strengthens communication, increases morale, and improves employee understanding of the brand. Employees should be regarded as “brand ambassadors” who can bring their knowledge and confidence in the brand to professional and social settings, which helps build and expand positive brand awareness.
Some key elements to internal branding include:
• Value Proposition – A concise, easily understood statement of your company/services
• LinkedIn Profiles – Employee job description profiles with consistent brand messaging
• Social Media – Guidelines for communicating on social media
The more excited employees are about your brand, the more engaged they will be. Improving employee engagement is tightly linked to better communication about your company’s culture which will in turn make them more likely to promote your brand which in turn will expand awareness and build recognition.
Companies that foster “Brand Ambassadors” have a 64% higher rate of employees that actively advocate for their company and a 75% higher rate of employees that say they are happy at work.
Engaging your employees can have a huge impact on how your brand is viewed externally. The key is to develop a relationship between the employee and the brand and get them to buy in to the message and mission of the company. Employees want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than just their day-to-day responsibilities. This will have a trickle down effect which can create better working relationships and positively impact your bottom line.