Brand Guidelines are a springboard, not a straightjacket
Smart brands are always evolving, and so are their brand guidelines. These brands are driven by their core values, which are reflected in their guidelines. From tone of voice to logo adaptations, style guides ensure a brand’s story reads the right way.
What to Include?
The brand’s mission statement should underpin the guidelines. These guidelines ensure that all brand collateral carry the same message to key audiences. Continuity is essential.
Nike’s mission statement speaks for itself.
Strategic Brand Overview
The brand overview should be short and sweet. A clear and concise statement that defines the brand. This will help guide the vision for the design, along with any keywords that should be at the forefront of a designer’s mind.
Here’s a list of other ingredients for a comprehensive brand book:
- Company Values
- The Big Idea
- Identity Clear Space
- Copywriting and Tone of Voice
- Graphic Devices
- Layout and Grids
- Overview with examples
- Further Information
More detailed brand guidelines may include:
- Digital and Web
- Co Branding
- Cultural or Behavioural directions for staff training.
As brands awareness grows, a business is able to give greater flexibility to how the visual elements of their brand are represented. When this happens, it must be reflected in the guidelines.
When audiences diversify, brands must be able to adapt their tone of voice. Decent guidelines direct the brand to respond with emotion and flexibility without losing focus.
A flexible brand is a lasting brand.
Trust and Adaptation
Historically, brands would gain trust through consistency alone. The theory was if you keep the image consistent, then people will become familiar with it. Familiarity encourages a feeling of trust and comfort, which ultimately lead to brand loyalty and advocacy.
Today, consistency alone is not enough. A brand must be able to integrate itself into people’s lives. Consumers and businesses demand more, they want to be excited, intrigued and engaged with.
The themed flavours of Walkers Crisps, are a perfect example of brand flexibility and emotional adaptation. Walkers have embraced the emotional story of Leicester City football club’s recent Premier League title win.
By allowing the brand to change colours, fonts and even brand name it positions itself at the forefront of a key audience.
One Bad Apple
Everyone within the company must represent the brand in a consistent manner. It’s no mean feat to roll out guidelines, but is so worth it. Brands that understand this will leverage greater success over less disciplined competitors.
Remember, strike a balance between emotional engagement and consistency. Stay flexible and be sure to adapt to maintain a dynamic brand, both now and in the future.
If your brand needs information or help with brand guidelines, why not: