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Guidelines and Brand Identity Development: What are they and why do you need them?

13.04.2015.

Guidelines for brand identity, come in different varieties and packages, but the core mechanisms of an identity manual and the reason for creating one are the same for each organization. While reading this article, you’ll learn all about essential components for creating a brand manual, that will help assure that your brand is prepared for success within its marketplace. In this initial article I will answer two important questions.

Brand Identity Guidelines: What are they?

A simple explanation is that these guidelines are a written manual that explain how brand usage should be implemented internally and externally. Imagine a logo as recognizable as McDonald’s, then consider if the logo had looked completely different everywhere you saw it. Would consumers have made the instant connection in their minds between the logo and the brand promise?mcdonalds-logo-consistency

Brand identity guidelines provide very detailed directions about how to use tangible elements of a brand relating to all forms of branded communications; from business cards to ads, packaging to signage, and anything in between. To explain it in a different way, by following explicit brand guidelines, your brand should leave its thumbprint across all communication touch points.

Wide-ranging brand guidelines include directives related to color, fonts, and layout. Guidelines should also include segments on online communications, offline communications, external communications, internal communications, and co-branded communications. Such “communications” include all forms of branded marketing, advertising, and other communications. Consider that fact that even an internal presentation that uses the brand name and logo is a form of branded communications that should follow the brand identity guidelines.

Brand Identity Guidelines: Why do you need them?

Each brand requires a distinctive set of brand identity guidelines because it is the basis of those guidelines that take the brand through three crucial steps of brand building: consistency, persistence, and restraint. It is necessary to have your brand portrayed consistently and communicated

If your brand isn’t consistently portrayed and communicated insistently and within certain restraints, then your entire brand promise and brand story are ultimately compromised. This leads to brand confusion, which is the first step to its death.

Referring back to the above McDonald’s example, consider if the McDonald’s logo looked like the recognizable golden arches on one restaurant and like a big green M in a completely different font on the next. Confusing? Would you recognize that second restaurant as a McDonald’s? What can you expect if you decided to eat at the restaurant with the big green M? The majority of consumers would keep on driving due to the ‘doubts’ until they find another McDonalds with the iconic arches, or worse for the integrity of the brand stop to eat at Burger King!

The palpable components of a brand and the imperceptible voice and personality become valuable company assets that are important in the building of brand equity. When proper investment is made in the development of your brand elements, trademarking them, and marketing them, you should also invest in protecting how they’re used!

Creating a strong brand guideline manual helps assure the brand is consistently portrayed in an accurate manner so consumers have the opportunity to build trust in both the brand and its promise. The most grounded brands encompass consumers with branded experiences to prompt people to

A great brand guidelines manual can ensure your brand is always portrayed consistently and accurately, so consumers have the opportunity to develop trust in the brand and its promise. The strongest brands surround consumers with branded experiences so people feel drawn to self-select how they want to interact with the brand. Can you imagine if such brand experiences looked as if they could be from a dozen different brands?

Developing brand identity guidelines as early as possible is essential to the brand’s lifecycle. While creating a comprehensive brand identity manual, covering all angles of your brand’s current and potential use, make sure you keep your stretch goals in mind to best prepare for brand growth case scenarios. It is extremely important to set expectations right now for your brand with your brand guideline manual which will enable anyone who designs communications relating to your brand to accurately depict its story.

More to come . . .

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