Why Your Company Needs a Brand Guide
By: Andrew Hall, Copywriter Intern
What brands do you think of with these slogans?
Just Do It.
Hopefully, you thought of the brands Nike, Subway, and Apple respectively. With just two or three simple words, how can brands evoke such profound brand recognition? The answer is solid and consistent brand guidelines.
What is a brand guide?
A brand guide contains three main parts: brand identity, brand personality and brand assets.
- Brand identity represents all of the emotional elements of your brand: your mission, vision, core values, “who we are/aren’t” statements, tone of voice, target audiences, etc.
- Brand personality includes words customers use to describe your business. Is your company fun, analytical, creative, innovative, technical, empathetic, etc.?
- Brand assets are all of the recognizable elements of your brand: your logo, taglines, typography, photography, illustrations, colors, etc.
All three elements help distinguish your company from your competitors and cue customer emotions about your business. By establishing a consistent, trustworthy brand guide, your company can massively increase brand awareness, recognition and recall.
Why have a brand guide?
Consistent branding lets your customers know what your business stands for and who you serve. A consistent voice and brand visuals are more likely to earn the respect of new customers and retain former customers for these 3 reasons:
1. It creates a repeatable and recognizable identity for your company. In today’s business climate, it has never been easier to start a business. As a result, most small businesses have lots of competition, always contending for sales and customers. This makes it as important as ever to differentiate your business. One easy step to differentiate your business is to create a brand guide. It not only establishes the visual elements of your brand but forces you to think deeply about your business. Brand guides force you to ask some tough questions about your business…
– What do the colors and logo say about your brand?
– What are your core values?
– What is your mission and purpose?
2. It creates a system to run all content and messaging through. This blog started with that exercise by identifying brands based on their familiar slogans. That practice was just as much a lesson in ingenious copywriting as it was consistency. Nike launched their “Just Do It.” campaign in 1988. That’s 35 years ago! The slogan is meant to inspire and motivate people to take action and achieve their goals, both in sports and other areas of life. Subway created its “Eat Fresh” campaign in 2002. The campaign emphasized the freshness of Subway’s ingredients. The “Eat Fresh” campaign was a part of a larger rebranding strategy by Subway, which included new store designs, packaging, and advertising that positioned the sandwich shop as a healthier alternative to traditional fast food restaurants. Apple’s “Think Different” campaign launched in 1997. The campaign’s launch commercial paid homage to some of the most creative and influential people of the 20th century, including Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, and Martin Luther King Jr. The tagline “Think Different” encourages creativity and innovation, to think outside the box.
In all of three of these campaigns, the messaging has remained the same for 20+ years. Every piece of content whether it be a social media post, commercial, or YouTube video is run through these slogans. With each piece of content, the marketing executives ask, “Does this align with our slogan?” Furthermore, all company messaging must be in congruence with these taglines. When Nike, Subway, and Apple created these brand guides, they were creating a system to run all of their content and messaging through.
3. Brand guides create consistent values and mission within your company. Brand guides serve as a north star for your brand. With a consistent logo, colors, typography, and messaging, the brand guide creates harmony across both the visual and branding elements of your company. Seth Godin, a 40+ year marketing executive, says, “Marketing is everything – it’s how you answer the phone, the prices you charge, what you do for your employees, your ability to exceed expectations, and much more.” Your brand guide will articulate what you want your company’s marketing to look like. That’s why it is so important.
Need help developing your company’s brand guide? Check out a few brand guides Tingall’s has developed for our clients.