Brand Guidelines: 5 Reasons Why You Need Them + Tips To Create Them

Brand guidelines are just what their name suggests they are. They are your brand’s guide. Any brand should have its own brand assets and brand identity. Your brand guidelines are your brand’s marketing collateral and are what set you apart from other brands. They help distinguish who you are. 

A brand guide will typically include things like a logo, a color palette, a typeface, images or icons, etc. Then there are the rules that tell others, like your partners, affiliates, or design team, how to properly use them. It’s important to clearly outline the scope in which they can be used. Your brand guideline will also include a mission statement that verifies your identity and affirms your mission to your industry.

Some brand guidelines are carefully constructed at the onset of a brand while others develop over time. Regardless, this is something that every serious brand should consider establishing.

Having brand guidelines makes sure that you appear professional. It helps promote brand awareness which is exactly what you need in order to be a well-established brand. This is why it’s imperative that you set your brand guidelines first before venturing into other marketing strategies. 

Reasons why you need brand guidelines

1. Establish Consistency

We live in times where people are scrolling through their screens day in and day out at such a fast pace that they come across hundreds of advertisements. This is quite a number as opposed to the rate at which millennials used to watch advertisements a coupole decades ago on television.

Social media platforms have taken over the world of advertising and it’s where most of the action happens now. But how can you draw in people? As we just said, users view so many advertisements. How do you create a lasting impression with this much competition?

Consistency. Consistency is the key to making sure people quickly recall who you are. You don’t want to miss the mark when it comes to consistency. Well then how do you become consistent, you may ask. Brand guidelines are your secret recipe for being consistent and making sure you are well exposed in the world.

The only way in which you can maintain consistency in all your work across all platforms is by closely adhering to your brand guidelines. It’s that simple.

According to Renderforest, 60% of Millennials expect consistent branding across platforms. It also shows that 54% of businesses claim that an improvement in brand consistency contributes to business growth.

Brand guidelines typically accompany a set of rules on how each asset can be properly utilized.  This ensures that the assets are used in a consistent manner. 

2. Build Brand Recognition

What does consistent branding result in? What does it lead to? Well, increased brand recognition for one. And why is it essential to build brand recognition? The answer is obvious; the more you’re recognized the more people trust you.

Trust is very important between businesses and consumers. Trust is created with how exposed you are in your industry. Building brand recognition is a way of going about it. 

Believe it or not, it is through your brand guidelines that you build this brand recognition. Brand guidelines should be constituted in such a way that it establishes a firm picture of your brand. 

This is how brand recognition is achieved. It is how your target audience will see you among your competitors. You don’t want to fade into obscurity without a clear guide steering you.

For example, your logo is a prominent indicator of your brand. Be it a letter logo, a wordmark logo, or a combination logo, taking the time to come up with a good logo for your brand has long-term benefits. Consistently displaying this logo paired with all your other brand guidelines in all your work is what is going to help people remember you. 

Think of Coca-Cola or Google. Their brand colors, logos, and typography are nothing new to you. It’s nothing to recall. You simply remember it. You will recognize it wherever. It’s because they have loyally stuck to their branding throughout the years. 

3. Ensure Quality Control

We keep going back to why consistency is so important. This is a direct guarantee of quality control. Why is it important to have quality control in branding? It also has to do with trust. Consumers nowadays are vigilant about scammers. If you appear sketchy and unreliable you’re not going to get too far with your brand. 

Quality control helps retain customers and foster brand loyalty, which we will be talking about in the next point. This is why it’s imperative. And quality can only be maintained to a tee if you have clear brand guidelines.

This quality can be maintained when you have a clear direction on how your brand assets will be used. For example, when laying down the usage of your logo you can be quite specific about it. How it should be used and how it shouldn’t be used is something that you can specify. A few variations of the logo can be specified for different colored backgrounds. These will help to maintain a cohesive quality across all your work. 

4. Foster Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is the endgame for every marketer. All that you do, you keep doing to grab the attention of your target audience and to keep that attention fixed on you alone. 

Consumers don’t only get attached to a product or service provided by a brand. They connect emotionally with its branding as well. While your brand’s identity is set by its mission and vision, what really communicates it to the user is the outward branding.

Your branding is also the outward manifestation of your core values. Once this is grasped by consumers and when they keep coming across consistent material they feel like they can trust you and become loyal to your brand. This is how you win over your audience in such a competitive market. 

It is 16 times as expensive to bring in new customers and achieve the same level of brand loyalty as you have established with loyal customers. It’s good to keep expanding your scope but it’s also important that you retain those that you’ve gained. Establishing firm brand guidelines will in the end make this possible.

5. Facilitate Collaboration

Collaborations help reach your target audience through a trusted voice. Influencer campaigns are more often than not a proven collaboration method to boost your brand recognition. You could also partner with a long-standing brand to enhance your credibility as well. 

But to make this happen your brand has to have a strong face. A strong personality that people are drawn to. Brand guidelines in your brand help set the foundation for this brand strength. 

You need to keep in mind that collaborations are a way of saying to the public how confident you are in your brand. A collaborating party would not want to be in partnership with a weak brand. It affects their image as well. We discussed previously that brand guidelines manifest a brand’s core values. A collaborating party is then the ambassador of your core values.  And the success of your collaboration comes down to how well-built and strong your brand is. This is achieved by a carefully constructed brand guide.

Tips for Creating Brand Guidelines

Tip No. 1

First, come up with a mission and vision for your brand. Think about who you are, what your core values are, and what you want to give to society. Don’t forget to take into account your industry and your target audience when constituting these.

Tip No. 2

Create an appealing logo that takes into account your industry, your mission, and your vision. Don’t let your preferences get ahead of you. Be appropriate. You need to appear credible and your logo helps achieve this credibility. Don’t forget your logo is the no. 1 brand identifier. 

Create rules for how your logo can be used. Explain the dos and don’ts of how it should be used in different settings. It will help maintain consistency.

Tip No. 3

Decide on the typeface that best suits your brand. Consider your industry and how this typeface will help you engage with your audience. Then establish the rules surrounding the usage of this typeface. You can specify things like preferences in typography and the point sizes in different settings. It will also help maintain consistency across all your designs.

Tip No. 4

Come up with a suitable color palette that solidifies your brand’s personality and tone. Choose versatile colors that will work across all sorts of platforms. Decide on your primary colors and your secondary colors while you’re at it. 

Tip No. 5

Narrow down the specific icons, illustrations, and images you want to associate with your brand. Set rules on how these should be incorporated. This will help things look uniform.

Tip No. 6

Use images to explain the dos and don’ts of the usage of your assets in your brand guideline. These will help anyone dealing with your brand to understand and apply your guidelines. And in turn you’ll achieve quality control across all your brand’s designs.

What’s the bottom line?

Brand guidelines play a major role in where your marketing strategies are headed. Your brand guidelines help firmly establish who you are. While establishing who you are is important it is even more important to affirm it every chance you get. It will help your brand prosper in the long run.

Consistency across all your brand work helps people trust you more. This in turn gives you the opportunity to be recognized amidst your competition. Brand guidelines help achieve both consistency and brand recognition. Even quality control depends on how well your brand’s assets are utilized. And in this process, loyal customers are garnered. 

With all of this in place, collaborations can be easily facilitated. After all who wouldn’t want to collaborate with a brand that has announced loud and clear its strategic position among its competitors? 

If you still don’t have a set of brand guidelines it’s proper time that you invest your energy and time there. Gather your team, and tell them what brand guidelines can do for your brand. Start brainstorming and use these tips and tricks to help you along the way. 

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