BRAND STYLE GUIDE

Creating a brand style guide

What it Is and How it Works

Imagine you plan a trip for you and your friends and you don’t tell them where you’re going, what to pack, how to get there or even when you’ll be leaving for the trip. That will be a very messy and confusing trip, with everyone going different ways if they even show up at all. Or imagine taking a trip with your friends to a place you’ve never been to and you don’t hire a guide, you’re bound to get lost. That’s exactly how it is when you try to position a brand without a brand style guide.
The best brands stick to the brain because they can be easily recognized by the repetition of logo, colors, icons images, fonts and the rest of the packaging components.
Before I walk into a pharmacy, I already know the kind of drug I need to purchase. There are lots of drugs from different brands but with the same name. The only way we can identify the specific brand of medication we want to purchase is by its consistent brand style.
For instance, we have different kinds of blood building syrups. We have the Feroglobin B12 and we have the Haemoglobin Syrup with Vitamin B12. When you pick up these two syrups, they look quite similar, but they have their differences. Those differences you see are a result of branding. Branding is what makes an organization’s product stand out from others in the same industry.
A brand style guide can be seen as a rulebook that communicates how an organization presents itself to its target audience. Using a brand style guide ensures that your organization stands out from the crowd and that all your products look and feel the same even when there are different people working on the customer service and the design.
A brand style guide serves as a reference tool that helps maintains consistency in what your brand looks like, sounds like, and feels like. It also outlines how your target audience and the rest of the world recognizes you and comes to trust you.
Before you start creating your brand identity, there are key components you need to make certain of in order to guide your brandidentity. These components make up the brand style guide and the brand style guide in turn helps you to stay true to your brand identity. No one likes an organization that this way today and that way the next day; if you keep changing, they won’t remember you. To keep your brand from straying from what your audience knows and loves, it is important to have a brand style guide to help you stay consistent, and remain the brand the audience loves.
Below are the components of a brand;
1. Mission
2. Vision
3. Goals
4. Target audience
5. Brand personality
6. Core values

MISSION
You need to know why your company exists to be able to figure out how your company should work. Knowing what you’re in that space for will help you shape your organization’s image.

VISION

Just like knowing why you’re there, knowing where you’re going will make all the difference when making creative decisions. There is no template for a vision, but it has to be clear. It can be big, perhaps you want to change the world, and it can also be small as long as you’re doing what you want to do.

GOALS
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up wandering without end. That’s how branding works too. If you don’t state your goals clearly and let your team know where your organization is going, your brand identity will be messy and it will be almost impossible for customers to recognize your brand. State your organization’s goals in your brand style guide so your team knows what direction you’re going and work accordingly.

TARGET AUDIENCE

The target audience section of your guide describes who your customers are and why they need you. It also describes how your products and services meet their needs. you can only discover this part after market research has been carried out. Knowing who you’re selling to will help you create your identity and guide your creativity.

BRAND PERSONALITY

Describe your brand’s personality using 3-5 adjectives. Outline your tone and style, this will help you figure out everything from font to color. This will set the tone for both design and writing, for whichever member of your team is working on content at a time

VALUES

Clearly stating what your brand stands for in your style guide will make it easy for your team to coordinate their work and keep from slipping from the organization’s brand style. This way, you don’t have to deal with an employee using language that doesn’t suit your brand’s style.

WHY A BRAND GUIDE STYLE IS IMPORTANT

 It helps your team understand your brand.
The people who work for you, whether they’re developing content or handling customers’ needs, should be able to represent your brand in the same way across the board. No matter their jobs, they should know your brand well enough to present it communicate your message perfectly. To communicate your brand message, they need to understand it, and what better way to help new employees learn about your brand and help keep old employees in line than a document that clearly states what your brand style is and is not? Everyone on your team should have a clear understanding of what makes your organization unique, and the brand style guide can help you with that at any time.
As Thomas Watson, JR., CEO IBM, puts it, “how strongly people believe in an organization and its basic precepts weighs heavily on success.”

 It enables consistency in your communication.
With brand guides in place, you can ensure that all the branding elements are implemented effectively to represent your brand in the best way possible on every platform on which your brand appears. From social media to emails, whatever your brand is producing will have a wholesome and recognizable feel.
“The best brands marry intelligence and insight with imagination and craft.” Connie Birdsall, Creative Director, Lippincott.

 It helps you define your brand
If you don’t define your brand, other people will define it for you. A brand style guide is a document that defines your brand completely, outlining every single detail so there is no confusion about who you are and what you are about.

If you do not want to waste your branding efforts, you can’t just leave it to chance. Take as much time as you need to completely define your brand. Your brand will be what you want it to be if you can make it clear what you want your brand to be. Create a brand style guide to help you and your team coordinate your work and create an effective brand identity.

If you need a consultant to help you develop your organization’s brand style guide, send an email to hello@wordsonus.com.ng and we’ll be happy to help you out. You can also ask for samples, we’re happy to help.

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