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key components of a brand guide

Key Components of a Brand Guide

1920 703 Nathaniel Seevers

A well-formed Brand Guide can act as a playbook for business decisions and marketing strategies. It’s a point of reference as to why the brand was started in the first place and a compass for maintaining your intended path. Keep in mind, when we say brand we’re talking about much more than the design components. More than just the looks. The brand guide should, as accurately as possible, describe the entire character of the brand – the promise, purpose, the walk, the talk as well as the look.

Putting together a full-fledged Brand Book can take some time but it can pay off tenfold across the life of your business. Consider the following key components of a brand guide when you get started.

Introduction

Give a quick synopsis of the brand. This is your prologue to the rest of the document. The “why” this document (your company) even exists. This part provides context for the reader and helps rally the team working on behald of the brand.

Brand Platform/The Core

This is where you begin to flesh out the character of your brand. Just like talking about a close friend, you should be able to describe what your company’s goals are, what it stands for and the company’s personality. Are you a little goofy or very much buttoned up? The value of this section is in details such as below.

Proper definitions courtesy of Brand Channel.

  • Brand Purpose/Mission: How the brand will act on its insight.
  • Brand Values: The code by which the brand lives. The brand values act as a benchmark to measure behaviors and performance.
  • Brand Essence: The brand’s promise expressed in the simplest, most single-minded terms. For example, Volvo = safety. The most powerful brand essences are rooted in a fundamental customer need.
  • Brand Personality: The attribution of human personality traits (seriousness, warmth, imagination, etc.) to a brand as a way to achieve differentiation. Usually done through long-term above-the-line advertising and appropriate packaging and graphics. These traits inform brand behavior through both prepared communication/packaging, etc., and through the people who represent the brand – its employees.

Communication

Who are you working to create a dialogue with and how…

Market – What is the ideal demographic? Who is our brand for?

Voice – how do we speak to the market? At Shout Out we worked through an exercise to identify an actual person representative of our company voice.

Visual Identity

Now it’s time to get into design guidelines. This part is incredibly important for maintaining a cohesive visual brand. Hand this section to partners, new hires, anyone impacting or using any part of your visual brand. It should contain:

  • Primary Logo and Proper Usage
  • Secondary Logo and Proper Usage
  • Logo No No’s
  • Typeface
  • Color Palette
  • Photography Style

In the end, developing a proper brand guide can be an exercise in brand self-awareness as much putting together guidelines for others. Often times it helps to seek out the perspective of trusted contacts not directly involved with your company. Ask them to answer a short questionnaire based on what they do know about your brand.

picture of lego man screaming

Fear Driven Business Scares Me

880 461 Nathaniel Seevers

Business can be rough these days. The pressure is on to keep up with the demands and changing ideas of consumers – who seem to be spending less and less. Or maybe they’re just spending smarter.

The trends you jump on this morning are dying by sunset and new trends have moved in. Your competitors are innovating. New competitors are popping up every day – all full of personality and caffeine. Or piss and vinegar as my granddad would say.

I have no idea what those ingredients have to do with anything, but still.

And so, when the heat is on and there are decisions to be made that will have a ripple effect across the organization, far too many companies react based on fear. Like when you punch a haunted house worker even though you know it’s all fake.

It’s fight or flight. It’s instinct.

The difference between socking a guy wearing a zombie mask and leading your company or team with a desperate hand is that the former is a one-time event and the latter often turns into a habit. Those decisions can begin to build on themselves.  They stack up until you have to dig your way out. Change the culture.

Seth Godin talks about something similar here. He calls it Stoogecraft.

So how does one help prevent a layer of suffocating fear-based decisions? read more

Show Them Your Creative Briefs

1920 700 Nathaniel Seevers

You don’t have to be a big-time ad agency or even run a traditional “creative” business to benefit from a creative brief. Maybe you’ve hired an outside team to help you design and build a new website or refresh your logo. Maybe your marketing team is about to get started on Linkedin ads. Both of these examples benefit from a creative brief.

So who is it for and what does it do?

A common misconception is that the creative brief is for the client. Nope. It’s not entirely for the creative team either. It’s for both.

A well-constructed brief put together by the creative team harnesses all the important details of the project and frames it in a way that provides validation between client and team and sets a track for the creative team to move forward upon. When the creative team gets the client to sign off on the brief they’ve helped to reduce second-guessing from both sides. It’s all right there in the brief.

In order to accomplish this, however, a good creative brief needs to answer at least the following questions: read more

© 2019 Shout Out Studio, LLC