A brand is much more than just a name and logo - it is a unique identity that tells the story of your company. Once you have defined your brand, it is important to maintain consistency throughout all of your customer touch points. Staying consistent will help you to strengthen the connection between your brand and your customer, and ultimately make decisions easier and sell to your customers with more clarity. The easiest way to maintain consistency is to create a brand style guide.
All your marketing touch points (website, letterhead, social media, proposals, invoices, emails, etc.) should tell the same brand story. Maintaining a common thread across all customer touchpoints strengthens your brand message and efficacy. The style guide is a crucial component of consistent branding - it is a quick, easy-to-read reference that defines your brand elements. Some guides simply include the basics like logo, color palette, and fonts. Others go a bit more in depth and include things like value statement, tone, and images. By documenting your brand elements in a format that is both easy to read and share, you ensure that your employees, partners, vendors, and stakeholders can easily refer to it and stay on point with your brand message.
Items you can include in your Brand Style Guide:
· Logo – Your logo is the face of your business! Your style guide should include all versions of your logo – i.e. the primary version of your logo, horizontal, vertical/stacked, one color, and icon versions.
· Colors – Your color palette should include 3-5 colors that reflect your brand image. Colors will represent adjectives that help tell your brand story. For example, yellow can be sunny and happy, vintage turquoise is contemporary yet nostalgic.
· Fonts - Like colors, fonts reflect your brand image. Include your primary and secondary fonts, size and weight requirements, and how and where they should be used.
· Value statement - The value statement defines your brand mission. What is the purpose of your company? What is the promise you make to your customers?
· Tone –The tone of your brand is the voice and personality that your brand portrays. Is your brand fun, silly, serious, informative, or formal?
· Images - Some brands like to define parameters for photography used with their brand. For example, stating that images should be bright or active, or use illustrations rather than photography, or even stating that clothes people wear should include only colors from the brand color palette.
Once your style guide is ready, make it easy to find and easy to share. For example, Spotify uses a landing page on their website, while other brands create a PDF file that they share through their website (e.g. Atlanta Public Schools), Google Drive, or Dropbox folder (like we do! see ours below). Keep in mind that your style guide should be a living document that you can adapt and change as your brand evolves!