4 Keys to Nailing Brand Guidelines

By Matter

Operating without a net in a circus is dangerous right?  Well so is running a company without solid brand guidelines. We have all heard, “Your brand is your promise,” or “Your brand is your culture” and the countless other valuations of what your brand means to you and your customers.  So here’s some valuable insight on why you should have brand guidelines in place and how Matter Communications can help.

It all starts with a great concept and continues through all the touch points where people interact with your brand. That can mean the obvious printed materials and signage but, should also take into consideration things like elevator definitions for verbal encounters as well as who the brand should be associated with.

Our Senior Graphic Designer at Matter talks about the importance of developing solid brand guidelines, “The corporations or even regional businesses with the most recognizable identities all follow one rule: consistency of brand.  That consistency is clearly defined in their brand guidelines and dictates the ways in which that identity should be communicated cross all marketing channels. This ensures that even in a vacuum that brand will still deliver its chosen message.”

Brand guidelines provide a foundation for designers to ensure unified visuals in every piece of collateral, social media post and webpage.  For employees, they provide focus and direction to ensure that each of the brand’s key messages is mirrored in the work they do every day. And these guidelines don’t necessarily need to be an exhaustive document, such as Apple’s 56 page logo guideline [PDF]. Other businesses may benefit from a more fluid, flexible set of guidelines for it’s specific needs.

Here are 4 tips to consider when developing your brand guidelines:

  1. Consistency. A bottle of Coke looks and tastes the same whether you pop the top in winter or summer, in Washington or South Dakota. Your brand guidelines ensure that your logo, fonts, color palette, image style and voice remain consistent across all mediums, locations and time frames.
  2. Longevity. Like any investment, you want to get good mileage out of your corporate identity. Brands should be built to last, but they can quickly falter with inconsistent use of key assets. Every time your logo is shown at low quality or in the wrong shade, your typeface is incorrect, or an image feels off, you lose brand equity. Brand guidelines provide insight on how to retain that value.
  3. Collaboration. Most businesses today are likely to have many people using your branding – from media outlets and social marketers to printers and employees.  Supplying brand guidelines gives an across-the-board document that’s easy to disseminate to all of these sources.
  4. Knowledge. A brand is more than the culmination of logos, advertising campaigns and snappy buzzwords – it’s the recognition of unconscious assumptions about your company that permeate all public communications. Staff, board members and locations may shift, but your brand should remain a constant that gives your public the confidence to remain loyal over time. Your brand guidelines provide that foundation.

At Matter, developing successful public relations programs is our expertise, and the creative team here is an extension of that.  We can provide you with the creative direction to brand, rebrand or just refresh your corporate identity, as well as remain your partner in the execution of that identity throughout all advertising and communication needs, printed, social and online. Promoting brands with superior PR and smart, effective creative is what we do!