5 Steps for Your Brand Guide
By Steve Gilman
Maintaining a consistent brand identity and tone is vital in this day and age. It is key to maintaining consistent brand awareness in your market and it reinforces those qualities that make your brand stand out. Therefore, developing and consistently utilizing a Brand Guide is of the utmost importance. Here are some steps to take in developing and then consistently using your Brand Guide.
Step 1 – Make your brand guide easy to find and use
Having a clear guide that reinforces your brand’s position and voice, and provides easy access to all its established visual components, will help your organization consistently articulate your brand’s position and values in a visual way. When developing the guide, make sure it’s well thought out and based on common industry standards – and make sure it’s easy to find and use! Then, it takes a company-wide effort to adopt the discipline of using the guide to maintain clear internal and external brand identity.
Step 2 – Set up an approval chain
When people do create content, it’s important to have guidelines in place. But it’s equally important to establish a chain of command detailing who is responsible for checking the content against brand standards and then giving final approval. Understanding who can give the “go ahead” on content will help keep your voice, tone, look, and message constant across all communication channels.
Step 3 – Adapt your voice, don’t change it
Maintaining brand consistency shouldn’t be intimidating when multiple channels and mediums are involved – stick to your (precise and finely-tuned) Brand Guide. Adapt based on your guidelines, and don’t get overwhelmed when switching communication channels. In our multi-channel environment, be prepared to be flexible and iterate around your core message strategy and identity.
Step 4 – Avoid channels that don’t align with your brand standards
New online platforms pop up all the time, but make sure you’re sticking to where your target audiences are in the media market. Funneling time, energy, and money into a platform that doesn’t clearly benefit your brand is a waste of time and resources.
Step 5 – Help make it stick
Consistency makes your brand clear and recognizable in an ever-changing marketplace, and it makes it easier for consumers to have memorable interactions with your brand. Positive experience with brands that are easily recognizable builds trust and brand equity, so consistency in every touch point will pay off by helping consumers understand, remember, and prefer your brand!
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