One of the first steps you should take when building your business’s image is to create branding guidelines. These standards and styles are typically outlined in a single document to give an overview of how your brand is presented. There are a few important elements to include in branding guidelines, such as colors, logos, and typography (more on that later). Businesses use branding guidelines both internally and with partners to ensure that everything representing the brand and its mission follows the same pattern.
Branding guidelines can sometimes be overlooked by small business owners, especially if they run a one-person show. The truth is that it’s important for everyone to create and maintain a brand image, and guidelines are a great reference point to ensure that you remain on-brand. Here’s how your small business will benefit from branding guidelines.
You are in control of brand perception
When people see your brand, what do you want them to think? What do you want your services or products to represent? What characteristics do you want your brand to portray? Ponder these questions as you build your brand’s personality. When you create branding guidelines, you are in control of how clients and customers perceive your business. You may have already outlined your business’s mission, vision, culture, and long-term goals. Now, take these ideals and apply them to your branding guidelines.
Think of your brand as you would your own personality. What makes you, you? Is your personality prominent in the way you dress, speak, and express your interests? The same things apply to your brand’s personality. Your branding guidelines are an outline of your business’s image and how you want others to see it.
Consistency across social media, print, and websites
Chances are you’ve put a lot of work into developing your brand’s logo, slogan, and overall design. Now, you want to see it everywhere. In addition to going live on your website, you’ll probably use these designs on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other preferred social media sites. And that’s just the web presence — will you use your brand design on any print assets, like a catalog or business cards? Maybe you’ll give clients some custom business swag like T-shirts or water bottles.
The point is, you’re probably going to use your brand image quite often. A branding guidelines document will ensure that the look of your business is consistently meeting the same requirements. This is especially important if you’re working with other businesses, like designers or printers. Just pass them the branding guidelines to make sure everyone is on the same page!
A quick and easy training tool for new employees
When done right, a brandling guidelines document will give an accurate picture of your business’s mission, values, personality, and more. As such, it can be a useful tool for onboarding new employees, whether their role is in marketing or another department. Studying the branding guidelines can be a great way for new hires to get to know the business, so that they themselves can accurately represent the brand. Plus, these employees will have a single document that they can refer back to during their time with the business.
Your business will be more memorable
A business with inconsistent design schemes is going to look unorganized, and clients will be less inclined to remember the brand. You want your clients to see an ad for your business, and then maybe come across your social media account, and think, “Hey, I’ve seen that logo before.” According to Small Biz Genius’s branding statistics, “it takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand.” So, make the most out of every one of those impressions by utilizing those branding guidelines to stay consistent and give your customers something to remember.
Convenience for everyone
Who doesn’t love convenience? Keep your branding guidelines in a single document for everyone involved in your business to access and reference as needed. This will help productivity in the long run by avoiding project delays and getting your marketing materials out faster. The branding guidelines should give vendors, like graphic designers and writers, everything they need to properly portray your business.
Are you ready to build your business’s identity, but not sure where to start? Contact October Dreams Marketing today and let us help you create a brand to remember.
By Elise Nelson