Branding is what customers or clients know you and your brand by. Everything matters from the colour of your website to your staff’s email signatures. How you portray your brand matters and it needs to be uniform or consistent. That’s where brand style guides come in. Does your business have one?
A brand style guide is kind of like a handbook for your employees so they can refer to it. If roles in your business are shared like social media, design, content, then you need a brand style guide. Your team probably know about your logo and the colour of your website (let’s hope) but it can get trickier with things like voice, imagery, and typography. Having a style guide to refer to means your brand representation will remain consistent and unconfused.
Stories are the most effective form of communication humans have. It’s how we connect and share. So it makes sense for businesses to have brand stories. A good brand story can encourage trust in your brand, share pain or frustration to make a connection, and it can show off your personality. Include an ‘Our Vision’ or an ‘Our Mission’ section.
Who should love your brand? Is it just for 40 year-old men or could 21 year-old women enjoy it too? Your target audience answers a lot of questions down the track so work out which different demographics fit into your niche now.
Create an ‘Ideal Customer Profile’ or create however many ‘ideal customers’ you might have. These should include: age groups, a short description, what motivates them, and how best to market to them.
Now that you’ve worked out who you’re targeting, you should understand how they’ll interact with your brand. This means you can shape that neatly to fit into your style guide so your employees are well-versed on the business’ branding. Next, consider your content. Depending on how reliant your business is on content (are your employees regularly updating the blog?) you can have specificities on wording, spelling, and punctuation.
Include guidelines for how headlines should be set out. They should know if you’re going for a simplistic, light content approach or heavy, insightful content. The biggest one here though is the brand voice. Your employees should understand how you expect the brand’s voice to sound. Is it super authoritative and formal? Or do you want a more approachable sound in your content, should they use a conversational tone?
If your business is already on its feet and running, you probably have your website, logo, and typography. Do you have a colour palette? If your team’s regularly designing images or visualisations to accompany content you should. Having a colour palette in your brand style guide means all imagery on your site should remain consistent and keep a neat aesthetic. They should know the typography for these images too for visualisations and company branded images.