How would you define your brand? If you have to pause to think about it, that’s a sign you’re probably in need of a brand style guide. Style guides are essential to crafting a cohesive, consistent brand, both in the eyes of your customers and your employees.
Your brand is, of course, the overall identity of your company. It includes your logo, your color scheme, your tone of voice, as well as all the other components that make your business unique.
A brand style guide is a compendium of all these aspects, gathered together in one useful resource. It can be a simple as a single page of information or a full, multi-page book that covers each bit of stylistic minutiae of your company. Here’s why brand style guides are such a vital tool for your company, your employees, and the agencies that work with you.
A Matter of Consistency
A good brand style guide will not only set standards for things like typography and color schemes but also help solidify the voice and personality associated with your unique business. It informs what your brand looks like and also its overall attitude. Perhaps you strive for a formal tone, or maybe you prefer things a little more jovial – either way, a guide can include written and visual samples that demonstrate the temperament and spirit of your company.
There is no one right way to develop a guide. A good one shouldn’t come from a template, nor should it simply mimic another company. This is something we understand implicitly here at Soak Creative, for any type of brand in Brisbane. Your business is unique, and therefore requires unique creative solutions that go beyond ticking off boxes on a checklist.
For smaller businesses, consistency is a sign of true professional. Details matter – and if your team can’t keep the basic style of your company consistent, then why should a consumer expect you to provide a consistent product? It may sound almost unfair, but the subtle visual and tonal cues codified in a style guide can say a lot to your consumer base. A brand style guide can help your company stay accurate in its messaging and eliminate any chance for confusion or uncertainty by providing a baseline for regularity.
A Way to Stand Out
How does the average consumer tell Apple apart from Microsoft? Maybe a few can go in-depth and name some technical differences between the two, but most everyone else relies on the different branding of each company.
Apple, for instance, sells more than just computers and smartphones – they sell their aesthetic, their personality, their values, which are all communicated to customers through very specific stylistic choices. Apple also has thousands of employees and affiliates, so making sure things adhere to their style requires a comprehensive brand style guide for reference.
Likewise, Microsoft has its own, entirely unique style guide that sets down rules for colors, naming conventions, and a tone of voice. By adhering strictly to these guides, there’s no confusion as to what’s Apple and what’s Microsoft in any layperson’s mind.
Standing out doesn’t always require being louder than the competition. Sometimes it’s just being a familiar face. When every piece of communication you share with customers is on-brand, it becomes easier to pick your business out of a crowd. In an oversaturated market, familiarity breeds fondness. A well-made style guide can help you stay a cohesive presence in the eyes of your audience.
Getting Everyone on the Same Page
Every expanding business goes through growing pains at some point or another. Many find that issues with consistent branding are some of the most common. New employees may not be yet accustomed to the nuances of your company’s identity, which is why a brand style guide can be a useful part of the onboarding process.
You should always have a style guide on hand, even if you think you and your employees are already on the same creative page. A style guide can be used by content and web developers, writers, designers – anyone who has a hand in representing your brand to the public or to other businesses. It gives your people a defined perspective through which to view their work and can also act as a springboard for developing new ideas. It keeps your people organized and streamlines the creative process. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, of course, especially not when you have a good brand style guide.
For those without professional branding experience, crafting a brand style guide from scratch can be daunting. If you don’t have a style guide or need help in establishing one for your business, get in touch with us.
We’re a leading brand agency in Brisbane and our experienced team understands the importance of putting together solid, consistent brand style guides – for any type and size of business.