We want to talk about something that might seem obvious but is often overlooked by many businesses: your brand guideline. You know, those rules and standards that define how your brand looks, sounds, and behaves across different platforms and channels. Why are they so important? And what can happen if you don’t have them or don’t follow them? Let’s explore these questions.
First, let’s define brand guidelines and why you need them. Brand guidelines are a set of documents that describe the core elements of your brand identity, such as your logo, colors, fonts, tone of voice, imagery, etc. They also provide instructions on how to use these elements consistently and correctly in different situations and contexts.
Brand guidelines are essential for creating a strong and recognizable brand that stands out from the competition and connects with your target audience. They help you communicate your brand values, personality, and message in a clear and coherent way. They also help you maintain a consistent brand image across all channels of engagement, from your website and social media to your packaging and advertising.
Having a brand guideline is not enough, though. You also need to follow them and enforce them within your organization and with external partners. Otherwise, you risk creating confusion, inconsistency, and mistrust among your customers and stakeholders.
Here are some statistics that show the importance of brand guidelines and the consequences of not having them or not sticking to them:
• 95% of companies have some form of brand guidelines, but only 25% of them actively enforce them.
• Less than 10% of brands maintain a high level of brand consistency across all products and marketing channels.
• 29% of companies say they have no formalized brand guidelines.
• 21% of brands say their brand guidelines are not written anywhere and are instead communicated verbally.
• 27% of companies that have brand guidelines say they don’t enforce them regularly.
• 39% of companies say they struggle with employees creating off-brand content.
• 60% of B2B brands say that their visuals or content don’t conform to brand guidelines.
• 71% of companies list customer confusion as the biggest negative impact of an inconsistent brand.
As you can see, not having or following a brand guideline can lead to a lot of problems for your business. Some of the potential effects are:
• Reduced brand recognition: If your brand looks different every time your customers see it, they won’t be able to remember it or associate it with your products or services. According to Pam Moore, it takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand. If you don’t use a consistent logo, color scheme, font, etc., you’re making it harder for people to recognize you.
• Lowered customer trust: If your brand sounds different every time your customers hear from you, they won’t be able to trust you or relate to you. According to Label Insight, 94% of customers are likely to show loyalty to a brand that offers complete transparency. If you don’t use a consistent tone of voice, message, etc., you’re making it harder for people to trust you.
• Decreased customer loyalty: If your brand behaves differently every time your customers interact with you, they won’t be able to feel loyal to you or support you. According to Oberlo, 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values. If you don’t use a consistent brand personality, philosophy, etc., you’re making it harder for people to love you.
So, what can you do to avoid these pitfalls and create a strong and consistent brand? Here are four tips:
• Create formal brand guidelines that cover all the aspects of your brand identity and strategy. Include examples and best practices for each element.
• Communicate your brand guidelines clearly and regularly to everyone involved in your business, from employees and managers to freelancers and agencies.
• Enforce your brand guidelines strictly and monitor how they are applied across all platforms and channels. Provide feedback and corrections when needed.
• Review and update your brand guidelines periodically to ensure they reflect your current goals, vision, and market situation.
If you need help creating or improving your own brand guidelines, feel free to contact us, and let’s start a conversation.