Brand guidelines play a very significant role in managing perceptions of a company. While communicating with customers, vendors, employees, investors, media, it is essential to build and reinforce a consistent perception of the concerned brand. Brand guidelines help achieve that goal.
The goal of brand guidelines is to manage and protect the strength of a brand. They explain the importance of a brand by describing how to use the elements of the brand, such as corporate identity and the brand name. Brand guidelines must provide a comprehensive manual for anyone who uses the brand’s components in their work.
The main objective of brand guidelines is to ensure that all parties use the brand elements consistently. Brand guidelines provide information and tools and set the standards for using brand names, logos, and other design elements in advertisements, brochures, newsletters, marketing material and online communications. Guidelines give the brand control over the manner in which people use the brand so that its visual identity always stays consistent.
Brand guidelines explain why the employees, clients and marketing agencies should use the brand to achieve business objectives and also provide practical instructions on how to use brand elements consistently. Each employee is an ambassador of their specific company’s brand. These guidelines explain how employees can reflect brand values, such as customer focus, innovation or leadership, in the way they deal with customers.
Brand guidelines can be used to demonstrate the relationship between the company and other parties associated with it. If the company operates through a network of distributors, they must be provided with guidelines on using the company’s brand as part of their identity.
These guidelines serve as a powerful tool for the brand to help establish their voice, personality and visual communication structure. Any brand cannot be maintained with consistency without these.
Brand guidelines serve as road map to achieve and maintain consistency as the company grows. The tone and choice of words should be selected to convey the chosen image by a brand. Some are fun, some are serious. A brand has to choose if they wish to be different from the others in their area of work and how would they propose to do so. It is always good to be an individual entity rather than sound like a robot or be repetitive.
A brand entity begins with creating a logo, which is true reflection of a brand – Guidelines on the following points are useful – How small / big the logo can be made to make it legitimate; how much space is needed between the logo and then content; what backgrounds or colour overlays can be used; what are the approved colours that can be used on the logo.
A logo may be placed in different sizes, areas, and even used with a bunch of different colours. This can prove detrimental to the brand and may create the ability to forge brand recognition. So the brand custodian needs to define the limitations for these elements keeping in mind the various purposes for which the logo could be used for different projects. There could be some bit of flexibility allowed here without compromising on the basics, keeping the aesthetic sense in mind.
There must be certain parameters on use of patterns, additional design elements, photography and video style. What templates must be used for particular campaigns or digital media? There must also be specific templates for internal usage, while sending internal communications, employees’ e-mail signatures, internal newsletters.
These set parameters maintain consistency and develop unique aspects to the brand. No matter what the size of the company, brand guidelines help establishing credibility & recognition for a brand.