3 Essentials to Include in Your Brand Guidelines
5 min read
It's safe to say that everyone’s heard a business referred to as a “well-oiled machine” at one point or another. The idea behind this sentiment is that each department, person, channel, etc. are very important cogs that align perfectly to power a machine and generate output. While this is relatively true, the critical component to consider is that regardless of how many cogs are in motion, the machine won’t run optimally if one cog is out of sync.
A critical cog to consider: Your brand.
Your brand truly is the heart and soul of your organization. It represents what your company stands for, and helps your followers, prospects, and customers to connect and understand you as more than another business trying to sell them something. A consistent brand is not only proven to improve brand awareness and recognition, a study from LucidPress also linked it to a 33% average increase in revenue.
Managing your brand on a small scale tends to be relatively easy - one person – or a very small group – coordinates the brand’s personality, presence, and visual identity across a small number of channels. But, as your company grows and more people, channels, and initiatives get involved, it becomes more challenging to ensure everyone is maintaining your brand identity.
This is where having brand guidelines can be critical. It acts as a set of rules for your organization to follow when representing your brand across different channels. It’s the first layer in ensuring that your prospects and customers have a consistent experience with your brand.
In its simplest form, brand guidelines can be a downloadable folder that shares a curated set of brand assets and rules. However, when taken one step further, it can act as the single-source-of-truth for your entire brand and connect your stakeholders directly with the up-to-date logos, fonts, photos, and more that they need to represent your organization successfully.
Regardless of the delivery method you choose, there are 3 essential asset types to include in your brand guidelines:
Your logo is the most critical component of your brand. The use of an outdated one is ground zero for confusion, reduced trust and, in the worst circumstances, lost sales. This happened to the Canadian newscast, Le Téléjournal, when they mistakenly used the NHL Florida Panthers' logo, rather than the NFL’s Carolina Panthers' when reporting on the Superbowl. While an honest mistake (that the Florida Panthers made light of), it could have been easily avoided with easy access to proper logos.
It’s important to ensure your brand guidelines share your various logos and communicate which to use in any given circumstance, as well as proper placement. For most organizations, it’s common to have dozens of logos with different color schemes, sizes, and formats, depending on:
- Background color,
- Medium (printed or online),
- And more.
Another important asset type to include is your brand colors – the primary, secondary, and accent colors that represent your organization and spark brand recognition. These are especially helpful to share with those that create any public-facing collateral, such as sales presentations, brochures, and advertisements. An organization that does this incredibly well is Wrike. In addition to its distinct green primary color, it has a vast suite of secondary colors to choose from when creating website content, social media posts, presentations, and more. As a result, everything that’s released is beautifully on-brand, highly identifiable, and consistent.
When adding colors to your brand guidelines, include the HEX, RGB and CMYK values for each color, to ensure your stakeholders can be on-brand across website, print, online and other initiatives. Also, make it clear which colors can be matched together and where they can be used, to prevent any off-brand color placements.
The final element that’s critical to your brand is your fonts. While sometimes not instantly identifiable to the naked eye, it can be jarring for customers to see a font that’s “off”. Take the clothing brand American Apparel, for example. Their website and logo both use the Helvetica Black font – a font that’s readily available on nearly every design program. There’s nothing “special” about their font choice, yet if you came to their site to find everything in Comic Sans, you’d immediately feel uneasy. While your font may not always make your brand – it can certainly break it.
Similar to the other two components, in addition to providing each font, it’s important to provide context into where the font should be used and, when relevant, what font size should be used. If using an entire font family, separate them out (into Light, Bold, Italicized, etc.) to create a clear distinction in their use cases and prevent unnecessary access to off-brand font types.
Take Your Brand Guidelines to the Next Level
MediaValet’s Branded Portals enable you to take your brand guidelines to the next level, sharing your brand essentials with stakeholders at scale. With Branded Portals, users can easily preview and download logos, brand colors, approved photos, corporate headshots and more – even fonts can be previewed directly in the portal! Portals can also be updated on the spot, which means if a new logo needs to be shared or an outdated headshot needs to be removed, your organization can continue to access your brand kit using the same link every time.
With Branded Portals, it’s easy to stay on-brand every time. Reach out today to learn more.