Before diving into what goes in a brand guide, let's talk about why these guidelines are so important in developing your brand. Your brand is the personality, attitude, and image of your business conveyed through mission statements, taglines, and visual identifiers like logos and color schemes. Brand guides serve as a north star to your brand. They are so important that we wanted to share the 8 things you should include in your brand guide.
A brand identity is the face of your business to your customers. It's what they see and understand about you when interacting with your company. Creating a brand guide will help you standardize how your company looks across all channels—online and offline—so that customers recognize you wherever they see you.
Once you've established the final strategy, goal, or vision, you want to create a resource that will help keep you aligned in every decision going forward.
Not sure what color to use or how to use it? Refer to your brand guide!
Wondering where your logo should be placed on an image? Refer to your brand guide!
Trying to decide what language to use to communicate the benefits of your service? Refer to your brand guide!
Forgot the why of your business and who it's meant to serve? Refer to your brand guide!
Your brand guide serves as a manual, so don't take it for granted. It's established to guide you through all your brand decisions.
Not sure where to start? That's okay! We will walk you through the 8 things you should definitely have in your own brand guide and why they're important.
Do you ever struggle with consistency throughout your brand?
Keeping your brand on-brand is essential to your company's success. A strong brand will positively impact your target audience, helping them identify with your company faster. You can create branding consistency across all of your visual elements by being intentional with your strategy and roadmap, having a clear, concise, and consistent message, and using the same logo, imagery, and messaging across all platforms.
Hey, we all struggle with shiny object syndrome, don't we? And if you don't, you may battle with indecision because, let's face it, sometimes making decisions for our business is hard!
The upfront brand strategy work you do helps you gain the clarity you need to build and develop a cohesive brand. And once things get clear, you should include that strategy work in your brand guide. Because somewhere down the road, you might lose sight of your mission, and you may have to return to your brand guide and remember your message.
The reality is that the more consistent you are with your brand, the more recognizable it becomes. Statistics show that a person remembers something after the 7th time! So stick to your brand guide for consistency even If you feel like your message is falling on deaf ears or you feel sick of using the same colors or patterns.
Remember that consistency is KEY.
Tired of what seems like posting the same content over and over again on social media? There's a statistic that only 3% of your followers even see your feed. The more you post about something, the more you get known for it. So don't give up!
Your brand guide is so important because it serves as a North Star.
Your brand guide will remind you and anyone who represents your brand, who you are, what you believe, and how to reach your ideal clients.
There are different types of brand guides. Brand guides for visuals, messaging, content, and more are available.
At Sung & Co, we include everything we can so that our clients can develop an ultra-consistent brand. We want you to have consistency in your marketing, visuals, messaging, copy, and the type of content you post.
The more specific you are with the information you include, the more aligned your brand will be!
Creating a brand guide for your business.
There are no hard and fast rules about how long a brand guide should be. You might have seen one-page mini Brand IDs that give someone an immediate impression of their marks, color palettes, fonts, and patterns.
We love the in-depth brand guides for businesses because they capture the brand's personality as a whole, help those inside your team understand your brand and those who do business with you, and help everyone know how to use your brand elements consistently.
No matter what length you choose for your brand guide, here are the 8 things you should include and why they're important.
#1. Brand guides should include the heart, message, and mission.
One feature that great brand guides include is the mission and vision of the business. They not only serve as a reminder of the purpose of your business, but they remind you and others of the bigger vision of your brand and where you want to go. They help you align your goals, who you are, and what you value. They also shape the company culture, so be sure to include your core values!
#2. Brand guides should include your ideal clients.
Understanding your ideal clients and their pain points is one of the most important things to know for your business. And because of that, your ideal client profile should be included in your brand guide. You can include bullet points or write an entire story. The important thing is to have it. The ideal client profiles we write are multiple pages, covering everything from struggles to brands they love to what they imagine their life could be like. Again, the more information you include, the better!
#3. Brand guides should include your personality.
Do you ever feel like your social media has a lot of personality, but your brand feels completely different when you read through your website? Nailing down a personality type and establishing specific words or phrases your brand would use regularly is something you should include in your brand guide. If it helps, imagine your brand as a person. How does this person sound, dress, and talk? What type of friend would it be?
#4. Brand guides should include the benefits of your services.
Sometimes our copy or content doesn't 100% resonate with our ideal clients. The reason may be that we haven't quite mastered our messaging. And when you understand the value you offer to your ideal clients, how to find them, attract them, and offer solutions to their problems, it's easy to communicate them to your ideal clients.
Sometimes we tend to get lost in our day-to-day and forget how to communicate the exact words our ideal clients need to hear to understand the benefits of our services…and for that reason, including this in your brand guide is super helpful.
#5. Brand guides should include your logomarks.
Whenever someone mentions "brand guide," they often think of brand identity guidelines. They include your logomarks and how (and how not) to use them. It would seem pretty simple that once you get your logo, you know how to use them, but sometimes it's knowing "what not to do" that help keep your brand visuals consistent. When you include your logomarks, be sure to add the variations of the logo and what type they are. Including this helps people understand which logo to use and when.
#6. Brand guides should include your color palette.
Don't we all love looking at color palettes? The brands that utilize one or two colors do well with brand recognition. But if you have a few, it's important to clarify which one serves as your main brand color, which colors should be used as accents, and what color mode to use in different situations. Bonus points if you can illustrate different color combinations!
#7. Brand guides should include your typography.
Brand guides should also include what fonts you use throughout your brand, which serve as your primary brand font, and which font is used for headlines, subheadlines, and body copy. They should include accents fonts and when and how to use them. They should include the different weights and when and how to use those too. You might consider how someone can find, download, or purchase these fonts, so they can quickly access them if they need them.
#8. Brand guides should include your visual style.
Brand guides should include your visual style. We're not talking about your logo here but how your visual style translates into your website, social media, resources, email, packaging, and anything else!
Imagine your brand as a person. You're in their closet. What would your brand wear, how would they wear it, and how would they accent their outfit? Include what your visuals would look like in different situations to understand how your brand elements work together and how to keep them consistent throughout your brand assets.
A brand guide is one of the most crucial aspects of a brand strategy and can help your business in many different ways. A great brand guide outlines your brand identity, including your company’s personality and message, ideal clients, benefits, logomarks, color palettes, typography, and visual style.
Not sure how to establish what goes into your brand guide because you need help getting a little clarity around your brand first? Work with us!
We create mini brand guides with every service we offer, and if you work with us on a full custom brand, you'll get the whole kitten kaboodle!
It all starts with a free discovery call! Get started.
Until next time,