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Brand Guidelines: What Are They and Why You Need Them

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No matter how strict you are with your brand, brand guidelines will allow you to make sure it stays cohesive throughout all your marketing efforts. In case you don’t know what they are, brand guidelines are a set of rules within a brand guide that a business refers to when presenting their brand. This guide details things such as the voice, appearance, and audience of your company to make sure your brand is 100 percent consistent.

Let’s walk through the components of brand guidelines and why your business needs them.

Mission

The mission statement of your brand is exactly that; it’s your business’s mission and why you exist today. And, this statement isn’t to make money – it’s much deeper than that. Why are you passionate about what you do? How do you believe in this differently? What problem do you solve? This statement is usually one sentence and serves as the core driver for everything you do. If you have one, this is where your elevator pitch should live too.

Vision

While the mission statement is your current driver, your vision statement is where you see (or want) your brand heading toward. Everything your brand does is working toward accomplishing this vision, whether that’s ending poverty or simplifying a common everyday problem.

Target Audience

It’s important to know your audience from the very first day you open shop, and there needs to be a section dedicated to your target audience in your brand guidelines. In meticulous detail, describe who your ideal customer is and why they need someone like you in their lives. If possible, make sure to include any market research insights that could help you communicate as effectively as possible to your customers.

Brand Personality

Just like people, your brand has a personality of its own. Create a list of adjectives (as little as five) that describe your brand. These adjectives will set the tone and voice for both design and writing. This is a great team exercise to do with other key people, and it may also help to ask what adjectives your brand is not.

Core Values

What are the guiding principles for your company’s decisions and actions? By defining your core values, it will become easy for your team to stay on-brand. Create a list of three to five core values that complement your mission and vision.

Visual Style Guide

The words that portray your brand are critical, but the visuals that represent you are just as important. Everything from your logo specs, color palette, imagery, typography, brand assets, and more will live in this section. We encourage you to be as in-depth with this as possible and provide examples of what not to do, as well.

Why You Need Brand Guidelines

A brand guide allows your business to be presented in a way that’s cohesive, which leads to building brand recognition and trust. Think about it – if you see a person regularly change how they present themselves, you’ll feel like you don’t know who they are, and you definitely wouldn’t trust them.

Inconsistency will lead to confusion and alienate your audience. These brand guidelines you set for yourself are essential because they will allow your business to communicate the same way across the board.

Don’t waste any more time sending mixed messages; create brand guidelines for your business soon!

To learn more about brand guidelines or how we can assist you in creating yours, let’s get together and talk about it.

About the Author

Brooke Desmond

Communications Manager
With a passion for all things digital marketing, Brooke aims to give a unique perspective on the latest trends and ideas in this ever-changing space.

View Brooke's Profile

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