Wouldn’t it be great if every business out there had an enormous, well-resourced marketing team to dress up and review every single document that the brand sent out? While, of course, this would be truly stellar, it just simply isn’t the reality of most businesses out there. From small businesses to major corporations, all enterprises are constrained by time and budget, and considering the amount of marketing output most companies produce today, it just isn’t feasible to have someone review absolutely everything in painstaking detail.
With that said, it is still important to maintain consistency in how your brand looks to customers and what it says across everything that is sent out. Luckily, this can be done — even without infinite time and resources. You can help ensure standardization by creating just a few simple documents. In this situation, just a little bit of work can go a long way in helping you establish a singular and cohesive brand identity. This will help you put your brand's best foot forward when presenting information to potential clients and customers.
Wondering what standard documents you should establish for your brand? And why you need them? Luckily, we’re here to break it down for you. Let’s take a look.
1. A Logo
WHY: All brands need a logo. And when it comes to logo design, it’s best not to go cheap. You want something that looks amazing and is memorable — after all, it is going to end up on pretty much everything your brand publishes. As a few general rules of thumb, your brand logo should not be easily confused with other logos, it should look flawless on multiple platforms, it should only contain two or so colors, and it should be classic and timeless — after all, you’re assuming your brand will be around for decades to come.
“Classic doesn’t mean boring and it certainly doesn’t mean old school or stodgy,” John Rampton explained in Forbes. “It does, however, mean foregoing trends in many area's such as in favor of traditional fonts, colors with staying power (such as neutrals or primary colors), and being able to see the branding lasting for decades.”
2. A Style Guide
WHY: The key to brand identity is cohesive and consistent visuals. After all, brand loyalty starts with brand awareness. A style guide lays out all of the elements of your brand’s style, including key colors, corporate typefaces, standard typographic treatments, and standard styling for all images. The goal of a style guide is to ensure that everything published by your brand has the same kind of look and feel, whether it is an email, a whitepaper, a social media advertisement, or a report for a client. Customers should be able to look at this and relatively immediately know that it came from your brand.
A style guide is especially important as a company begins to grow. As companies grow, they often lose sight of details, overlooking seemingly minor things. Bigger, more important decisions need to be about the overall big picture and things like font type and color schemes can subsequently fall by the wayside. And these kinds of mistakes can dilute what it is your brand stands for and how your customers identify it. In other words, it’s catastrophic for brand recognition.
Ultimately, a style guide helps prevent mistakes and ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your brand’s style. And remember, whenever you rebrand your company, you’ll need to update this style guide and ensure all visuals are updated accordingly.
3. Company Letterhead
WHY: Whenever you send something out a customer or client — whether it is a bill or a contract — make sure it is printed on your official company letterhead. It helps people recognize the information as coming from your brand and just makes you look all around much more professional.
4. Presentation Templates
WHY: When you’re presenting to customers or clients, you don’t want to do it in an ad hoc way. You should be using a standardized presentation template so that it is recognizable as being produced by your brand.
5. Standardized Email Signatures
WHY: When employees are communicating on behalf of your brand, you need to make sure they are branded appropriately. It should be immediately clear that they are a part of your brand. That’s why you absolutely need standardized email signatures. Make sure these standardized signatures are sleek and easy to read, and contain all relevant information, including your brand’s contact information.
6. An “About Us” Statement
WHY: Consistent branding isn’t just making sure that all company materials look the same; it is about making sure they all get the same message across. To do that, you need some kind of “about us” statement for your brand that conveys your brand’s history, its personality, and its goals and objectives.
“Think of some top brands, and you immediately know what they promise: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Ford, Apple,” Lois Geller explained in Forbes. “You know what you’re going to get with a well-branded product or service. A brand is a specific combination of logo, words, type font, design, colors, personality, price, service, etc. It’s also a bundle of attributes. Think of Volvo, for instance, and your first thoughts are probably going to be something like ‘well built, comfortable, Swedish’ and, most of all, ‘safety.’ The promise, look, personality and attributes can eventually acquire a special patina of what I call ‘me’ appeal. Buying a certain brand says something about the person who buys it.”
A good “about us” statement will lay out all of that information, helping ensure you put forth a consistent brand personality that says the same thing each time your brand interacts with customers.
In conclusion, it is important for all brands to put together a set of documents that clearly lays out what the brand is, what it looks like, and what it is trying to accomplish. The sooner this is done, the better. These essential documents will lend your brand a cohesive identity, which makes it easier for customers to identify and relate to your brand.
10twelve can help your company toady with your brand and the documents needed. Reach out to us today to have a brief consultation with one of our employees.