Each month I conduct a business workshop at the Peterborough Prison. Having worked with the residents for over six months, assessing their needs and gaining an understanding of their current knowledge, I set out a plan whereby we’d discuss particular area of business development each month.
One area that was identified as highly important was the creation of brand guidelines. During the Brand Guidelines Workshop we discussed the reasons why it’s important to create them early on, along with what they should include and who should have access to them.
Many businesses fail to appreciate the importance of creating brand guidelines, assuming they’re only necessary for large businesses. However, it’s small businesses and start-ups who create brand guidelines during the first year or two of business that are well ahead of those who are yet to collate all their branding information together.
Businesses that grow without having clear guidelines on branding will often find that employees are using various versions of the same document, or are sending out emails with inconsistent signatures and messaging. It is these variations that can confuse prospects and customers, it can affect your business’ reputation, it also looks unorganised and unprofessional.
So, what should be included in brand guidelines?
Vision/mission statement: Detail what your business does, what makes you unique, along with the values you stand by.
Logo: Include variations of your company logo, colour codes, sizes, along with how and when to use each logo.
Colours: This should include the colour codes and details of how and when to use particular colours online and offline.
Typography: This should outline what fonts you use, along with what sizes should be used and where.
Icons: If you use icons, explain what each one is, along with where and when they should be used.
Images: Include examples of images used on your website and any marketing materials, along with their sizes and how, where and when they should be used.
Documentation: Create a detailed list of all documents and materials that include company branding. Create screenshots or take photographs of the documents and how they should look.
Emails: Clearly outline what type and size of font should be used when composing or replying in emails. Also include an image of how the email signature should appear, so all employees can see what it should look like.
Social media: To create a consistent presence on social media, write a couple of sentences that employees can copy and paste on to their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. This should include details of what your business does, along with your values.
Please note: It’s recommended you include examples where possible.
Once you’ve put together you brand guidelines you can regularly assess them and update them. What’s more, by adding the document to a shared cloud server, everyone has access to the most up to date version as and when required.
Everyone should be held accountable for the documents and materials they send out and use. As such, eployees should also be made aware of who is in charge of updating the documents, so they’re able to forward on anything they find that’s not in-line with the brand guidelines.
Your business will continue to evolve for as long as it’s trading, so be sure to notify all employees of any changes as they happen.
Quibble content are frequently receiving requests to create brand guidelines and to audit business marketing and branded materials to ensure their brand is presented in a consistent manner. If you need some advice, email Quibble Content Ltd at [email protected] or call us on 01572 338107.