Your brand is an integral part of what makes your business unique. So, keeping your brand style consistent across all communications, marketing and online channels is important – and this is where having a brand style guide can become invaluable.
A brand style guide is a key document that sets out the rules and guidelines for how your business will be portrayed, both online and offline.
By formalising these rules, you make it easier for everyone in the business to keep things consistent, presenting a uniform brand to the outside world; so customers and prospects recognise you in the marketplace. Plus it can save you time when you go searching for a logo!
Keeping your brand style and personality consistent
Not every business needs a brand style guide. But if your business is growing, a guide will help ensure that your brand is always consistent wherever it appears.
A brand guide saves you time searching around for logos and colours, and gives you a formal document to share with external designers and writers when outsourcing work. It’s also useful for on boarding employees when you have new starters who are unfamiliar with the business, the brand and your style of communication.
A comprehensive brand style guide will set out rules for:
- Your logo – a logo is a fundamental part of your company’s brand, giving you a recognisable icon or monogram that’s used across the business. Your style guide will include colour, grayscale and monochrome versions of the logo, with all the technical specs a designer will need to use or recreate the logo.
- Your visual identity – what are the visual design elements of your brand? This will include your colour palette (and the associated Pantone numbers), the specific fonts you use, how to use the logo and all the technical design elements a designer will need to replicate and represent your brand in the correct way.
- Your personality and tone of voice – this is how you speak as a business and the personality you wish to convey to customers and stakeholders. For example, if you’re a financial services business, your tone is likely to be formal, professional and matter of fact, whereas a retail fashion business will have a tone of voice that’s more friendly, approachable and informal.
- Your editorial style guide – set out the words you use (and don’t use) and all your rules around grammatical guidelines. For example, whether to use english or American spelling, and when you use capital letters for titles, job roles or technical jargon etc.
- Your customer interactions – how your staff communicates with customers can have a huge impact on how your brand is perceived by stakeholders. Some style guides will therefore offer guidelines and templates for things like customer emails, customer contracts or letters of engagement etc. These can be helpful templates to make ‘frequently sent’ emails easier.
- Your vision and mission statement – your business vision is the foundation of not only your strategic plan, but your brand as well. Your style guide should include a short summary of your vision (what you want the business to achieve), plus a mission statement or boilerplate that summarises what you do as a business. This is useful for employees and for your partners.
Setting your brand rules
If you don’t yet have a formal brand style guide, it could be a useful tool to develop. Saving you time and helping to drive consistent marketing and communications for your business.