If you speak to any marketing bod they'll no doubt tell you that one of their biggest bugbears is an inconsistent brand.
Keeping your brand and corporate identity consistent is highly important, and when done correctly will build yourbrand awareness, meaning you'll start getting recognised in no time.
This is no mean feat though, and the bigger your company and the more people who have access to your brand and marketing usually means you’ll have less control, resulting in variations.
There is however, something every business can implement to ensure consistent marketing, and that’s a set of robust brand guidelines. No need to panic, brand management isn’t as daunting as it sounds! Here is a check-list that will help you get started.
The first and most important item is your logo – the visual device that carries your brand name, and ensuring it always appears the same. This chapter should establish the flexibility allowed with your corporate logo for example, the minimum and maximum production size, all permitted colour ways including black and white, and rules for occasions that the logo appears on plain, coloured and patterned backgrounds.
Spacing and positioning are also very important, and every logo should have an exclusion zone, ensuring wherever and however it is used it is given ample room, with fixed positions for its appearance on certain items.
Straplines & secondary logos
Your business might have different divisions, or registered suppliers and partners whose logos may sometimes need to appear on your marketing materials. As above, ensure the spacing is correct when these all appear together and take into consideration the sizing of the secondary logos so yours is always the focus. Similarly, if your brand carries a strapline be clear about its size and positioning to ensure that its presence is consistent too.
In all of your marketing, including adverts, brochures and websites, you should have a standard font that is used across the entire brand, and your brand guidelines should be as specific as stating which font weight should be used for different elements within a design – headlines and body copy.
If your organisation is large with different departments ordering their own stationery items, this is an imperative chapter of your brand guidelines. Template every item of stationery that will be needed for your staff, and include instructions on how each should be used: Take a business card for example, outline what size font and colour the employee name should be, where it should sit, where the job title should be positioned and exactly what detail needs to appear on the business card.
Advertising and literature
As you have done for the stationery, create literature and advertising templates. Of course, you can’t predict exactly what you will need in the future, but setting up some basic templates will help to will ensure the logo is always in the same position, the piece always has the same sign off, headline position is consistent and fonts are kept the same throughout.
Signage can’t be forgotten, both external and internal, and covering a range of types from welcome signage to directional signage – it all needs to be of a similar format featuring the same proportions, whatever the finished size.
This is a short must-have list so you can get started with your brand guidelines, however each company will have different requirements depending upon size, number of different departments, level of marketing, and so on. Other elements you may need to consider include, branded merchandise, email signatures, exhibition materials, vehicle graphics, presentation slides – the list goes on!
The above steps may seem extreme but your very own set of robust brand guidelines will ensure consistency down to the finest detail.