Brand guidelines are clearly defined standards showcasing how you and others should talk and present your company to the world. These guidelines are a physical or digital booklet to share internally with your entire team and with any vendors or partners.
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing. Just kidding! By providing a guideline for your employees, vendors, and partners to follow when representing your company, you are establishing consistency. And consistency is no small feat. From your logo and colors to your mission and messaging, your brand guidelines provide direction allowing employees to establish an “on-brand” decision without always needing to consult upper-level management.
The Power of Consistency
Consistency breeds recognition. This recognition generates feelings of understanding and trust that help drive consumer brand loyalty. If you think about some iconic brands, can you recognize their ad campaigns without a logo? In a lot of cases, yes! This is because of their consistent brand elements and messaging. For example, can you recognize the saying “Just Do It?” Doritos took this concept even further and launched an ad campaign that didn’t show their logo or name, but still clearly represented their brand identity. These companies established that iconic recognition by presenting a consistent brand identity outlined in clear brand guidelines.
What should be included in brand guidelines?
What you include in your brand guidelines might differ slightly for each brand. However, as a general rule of thumb, you want to have anything that helps people understand your brand. Remember this document will help guide individuals inside and outside your company, so be sure to include information you assume is even basic company knowledge.
No matter your industry, company size, or location, there are certain brand aspects that every brand guideline should include.
- Company History | Your company story, including why you got started.
- Logo | Variations of your logo, color options for your logo, and logo sizing and spacing.
- Brand Colors | Colors you tend to use throughout your brand materials, including the HEX, RGB, and CMYK codes.
- Fonts | Font variations and text sizing.
- Imagery | Examples of photography, illustrations, and icons in the proper aesthetic (and ones to avoid).
All companies have a culture, but only some are intentional about creating one. If your company leans on your culture to help make business decisions, it is essential to include it in your brand guidelines.
- Personality | Who you are or a list of adjectives that describe your brand.
- Mission Statement | Why your company exists and what purpose you are serving.
- Vision Statement | What your company aspires to be.
- Core Values | Your company principles and beliefs.
Possible Additions to Your Brand Guidelines
Now is when your guidelines become individualized! Brand guidelines don’t have to be limited to the usual brand items. Think of your brand guidelines as a consistency handbook! If there is something you want to present in a specific way, no matter where it’s shared, include it!
- Target Audience | Specify a target audience and why they need you.
- Social Media Assets | Profile and cover image styles, team welcome, anniversary, or closure announcements, and company-specific or common hashtags.
- Voice | Words and phrases your brand regularly uses (and ones to avoid).
- Grammar | The grammar rules you follow and break. For example, does your company always use the oxford comma?
Brand guidelines are an important part of a brand identity. If you need help putting together a formal document to share with vendors, partners, and new hires, our team of professionals can help.
Heather is the VP of Operations at Innereactive and we are lucky to have her. She has over five years of experience running an HR department and enjoys helping businesses like yours find solutions to their HR needs.