What are brand guidelines?

“Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likable, and trustable.” – John Jantsch

Building a brand is not anyone’s business. The process takes quite a bit of time as well as effort. But you start somewhere, right?

Your brand identity guidelines are the starting point for building a brand that your target audience trusts and respects. In this article, let’s get to the bottom of creating a brand guidelines document and making it readily available for internal teams and external stakeholders.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

What are brand guidelines?

Brand guidelines help you to lay down benchmarks and directives for all internal and external brand communications. The brand guidelines document works as a ready reckoner for your employees and stakeholders like agencies to understand how to develop company collateral or any piece of communication.

Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of having a bunch of brand guidelines.

Why are brand guidelines important?

Here comes the burning question: why are brand guidelines important? Do you really need them?

  • Building a strong-trustworthy brand is about telling an authentic brand story through consistent brand communication. It’s about sticking with your brand’s core values.
  • Brand guidelines help you have complete control over each piece of brand communication, be it a hoarding or a social media ad, or an introductory email to a new employee.
  • The brand guidelines document empowers every employee in your company and can help you build a robust company culture. A brand-driven company culture attracts the ideal customers, talent, and stakeholders to your business.
  • A set of comprehensive brand guidelines helps you to create a consistent brand voice that’s essential for building a strong and positive brand reputation for your business.
  • In a world with many digital touchpoints, the key to business success lies in how well you take care of each touchpoint. A brand guideline strategy helps you delight your target audience through consistent and on-brand experiences on all digital touchpoints.
  • It’s true that a reputed brand wields considerable power to help you attract and retain your dream customers to your business.

In fact, 81 percent of consumers said that they need to be able to trust the brand in order to buy from them (Edelman, 2019).

Imagine your advertising agency not knowing how to place your brand logo in your marketing collateral? It’s for these reasons that a brand identity guideline is a vital document for your business. So let’s move ahead and understand how to create it.

How to create brand guidelines?

The idea of a brand guideline document is to summarize your brand’s look, feel, and style.

Here’s what all you need to include in your brand guidelines document:

  • You need to include your brand’s overarching purpose. For example, what difference does your brand intend to bring in the lives of its target audience?
  • Define your brand persona, voice, and tone. Think about your brand as a human being and enlist her characteristics and style. Next, include some of the core emotional values of your brand. Finally, make a list of things that make your brand different from your competitors.
  • Next, you need to decide on your brand colors and their usage. You also need to include the latest version of your brand logos and brief instructions on their use.
  • Visual guidelines also include details about iconography, typography, the use of images in brand communication.
  • Your brand guidelines need to include the editorial style guidelines. These are relevant for content marketing and for any written communication you exchange within or outside the business.

Can you now write a brand guidelines document with ease? If you want inspiration, you can check out these exciting brand guideline examples.

Let’s now take a look at how to use your brand guidelines effectively.

How are brand guidelines used?

The idea behind creating a brand identity guideline document is to get teams and stakeholders to use them:

  • You need to distribute your company’s brand guidelines to all functional departments in the organization.
  • Organize a training session for different departments to align them with your brand guidelines. Communicate about the importance of following a set of brand standards in each piece of internal and external communication.
  • Talk about the dos and don’ts regarding using branded content assets and brand colors in brand communication.
  • Gather feedback from your teams to understand how you can work on improving the guideline document further.

This way, you can get your teams to talk in the language of your brand. Plus, you can be sure of providing a consistent brand experience throughout branded content and collateral.

Using a brand portal for effectively distributing your brand guidelines

The biggest challenge lies in implementing your brand guidelines throughout branded content.

  • There are times when a change in the brand logo means you need to update it in the brand guidelines. Plus, you need to ensure that everyone has the latest version and the guidelines to use it.
  • Most CMOs struggle to get every employee and stakeholder on the same page regarding the company’s branded content assets and identity guidelines.
  • They often struggle with long email threads trying to reach out to everyone concerned.

So, how do you deal with it?

Isn’t there a way to automate the process of creating organization-wide brand coherence?

With Smint.io’s Brand Portal and Media Portal solutions, you can make your brand guidelines and brand assets accessible to everyone who needs them.

A brand portal provides you a single brand hub that your team can sign in from anywhere, at any time.

It allows you to share files, interact, and collaborate with teams, all through one single platform.

That means you can ensure everything is on-brand while you’re taking a leisurely drive along the coast. Isn’t that incredible?

The best part is that Smint.io brand portals are ready-to-use and highly cost-effective. It means that you don’t need to worry about requesting an additional marketing budget to implement such a solution. Instead, you can make this seemingly big decision all by yourself!

Do you want to leap forward and automate the process of applying your brand guidelines throughout your organization? Then, all you need to do is sign-up to the free Portals solution and start making things happen the right way.

Do you have further questions?

You have the questions – we have the answers.
Don’t hesitate to contact us right now!

Christina Holzner

Christina is our Chief Marketing Officier and loves great brand experiences & life hacks.


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