What is a brand?
Think about your favourite business – do you automatically conjure up a visual picture of their logo? The answer is probably yes, but it’s so much more than that. When creating a brand, you need everything to work in harmony – there would be no sense in creating a pretty, feminine logo and colour scheme for your business but using complicated, corporate language. It all needs to match. Many businesses have brand guidelines, and if you have the time to sit down and put a document together it can be an enormously powerful tool to have.
Do I need Brand Guidelines?
Brand guidelines become more and more important as your business grows and new members join your team. A guideline document creates something for your team to refer back to for them to make sure whatever they’re working on is a true reflection of you and your business. Even if you’re just working by yourself it’s worth compiling a guide – it’s so easy to end up going off down a tangent when a new opportunity comes along so your guidelines can be a great way to get yourself back on track just by familiarising yourself with them as you go. Now that isn’t to say they can’t change; they need to evolve with your business but changes to your brand need to be considered rather than being a split-second decision.
What To Include In Your Brand Guidelines
This needs to be at the very heart of your brand – why did you set up your business? Of course, the monetary gain is nice but what makes you passionate enough to get out of bed in the morning and push your business forward? For example, at Purple, our mission includes points such as providing effective, professional digital solutions to our clients with a personable and friendly approach.
This is more important than you think. If you know Purple, or you’ve read a few of our blogs, you’ll notice that we use informal, friendly language in everything we do. That’s because we want our audience to relate to our content and feel they can easily approach us, we love to help and we try to make sure that shines in the content we share. It’s important to strike a balance between this friendly tone and also showing that you know your stuff though, so we make sure we go into detail in some areas too and bring value to the conversation.
If your business is more corporate, you may choose to go for more formal language to show your authority in your industry – it very much depends on how you want to come across and how you think your customers will react to different styles of writing. Once you’ve settled on a tone of voice, keep it consistent across your online channels and make sure your team understands this too – it’s so important when it comes to building a brand.
Your Imagery Style
Alongside your tangible branding (we’ll get onto that in a minute) it’s a good idea to set out the type of imagery you want to use for your brand. If a more minimal style with neutral colours is what you like then be sure to implement this everywhere, from your Facebook page to your website and newsletter.
Make sure you’re sourcing your images properly from copyright free sites, or purchasing images which are going to be a good investment. Or better yet, shoot your own and edit them to match the style you’re after perfectly.
There is nothing worse than heading onto a Facebook page and seeing a mishmash of images pulled from Google, so make sure there is some consistency there. Overall, you want a customer to recognise your images and graphics even if your logo was removed.
Your Tangible Branding (Logo, Font and Colours)
Your tangible branding is arguably the most important aspect of your brand. It’s what people think of when someone mentions your business, and you’ll use your logo and colours across everything you do to ensure this.
Creating a logo may seem like a 5-minute job, but it’s often worth the investment of getting expert help as an experienced graphic designer will come up with fresh ideas in line with your business that you may never have considered. There will be thought put into the colours used, the fonts and even the shapes included to help reflect the mission of your business.
Your colours are incredibly important too. You want to stand out amongst your competitors, but also not look out of place. It can be tempting to just base your logo and colours off someone else’s, but how are you ever going to stand out against them if you do that? Make sure your colour and font choices are not only selections you like but they also ‘fit’ with what you are wanting to achieve with your business.
If you'd like our help with making sure your brand is saying the right things to your customers we're more than happy to help. Our team can provide everything from compiling your brand guidelines, creating a new logo for you or maybe just providing a little feedback.