Does Your Business Have Defined Brand Guidelines?

How much effort has your business put into establishing a brand? Do you have written brand guidelines to help your customer service, marketing and sales teams create a cohesive and consistent brand for your company? If not, you could be missing out on one of the best ways to connect with customers and consumers in general. Developing a brand can help your business stand out and create a larger and more loyal customer base.

Intentionally creating a brand can have a profound impact on your business and how consumers interact with your company. A brand is more than just a name and a trademarked logo. It is how your company treats customers, how it represents itself to the outside world. Your brand is innately intertwined with your reputation. A strong brand can leave a powerful impression on those who are exposed to your marketing materials. Your company’s brand should send a positive message about your business as well as the communities that you interact with and sell goods or services to.

What to Include in Your Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines can be as unique as your company and can help set the standard for how your company presents itself. Your brand guidelines should include a history of your company, as well as its vision for the future. You should define your company’s personality and outline its core values.

Your brand guidelines shouldn’t just establish your company’s brand and personality. They should be an example of it. Include examples of preferred image or photography styles and layouts, and try to maintain a cohesive tone that is on-brand throughout the guidelines.

Your brand guidelines also need practical information, like preferred fonts for both print and digital use. You should also provide technical information regarding color palettes for print and digital versions of your logo. Your logo itself should be addressed, including proper use, minimum sizing and improper or prohibited uses. Provide examples of how to use the logo in different applications, like on a letterhead or business card.

Other critical issues to consider when creating brand guidelines include the demographics you are marketing to and their expectations from companies. Knowing who your customers are and who you’d like to have as customers in the future can help you carefully target the right people with your branding and marketing efforts.

Diversity and Inclusion Can Help Build Your Brand

There’s no question about it: many Americans, especially Millennials, look for brands that are inclusive and progressive. Branding can ensure that your company creates a specific feeling in consumers. When customers associate something positive with your brand, like social awareness or multicultural inclusivity, they are more likely to want to spend money with your business. From stock images of families to illustrations that show people of diverse backgrounds, every ad, email and social media post is an opportunity for your company to reinforce your brand guidelines.

Using images of women and people of color in your marketing is one way to help brand your company as multicultural and diverse. That means seeking out stock images that feature humans of all different appearances for use in marketing materials, social media posts and your online presence. Marketing materials should be carefully reviewed to avoid faux pas, such as unintentionally reinforcing stereotypes. Your brand guidelines should absolutely include company policy on inclusion and diversity, as these topics are crucially important to effective marketing.

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